Two Russian modernised supersonic MiG-31BM fighters clashed in airspace a few days ago. But it was not a real fight. Instead, it was drill conducted by Russia's Pacific Fleet over the Kamchatka Peninsula in the eastern region of the country, the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday. The drill, involving the two twin-seater MiG-31BMs, was conducted to improve the combat skills of the pilots.
According to reports, it was the first of its kind drill involving MiG-31BMs, one of the fastest fighters ever built, in the stratosphere.
“One of the MiG-31BMs acted as an intruder, attempting to penetrate into the Russian airspace at a maximum speed in the lower layers of the stratosphere. Another MiG-31BM took off to intercept the intruder while flying at a speed of 2,500 km/h and reaching an altitude of more than 20 km,” a report of the ministry's Zvezda broadcasting service said.
"In accordance with the combat training plan, the crews of MiG-31BM high-altitude fighters of the Pacific Fleet’s naval aviation based in Kamchatka held a training exercise to intercept a notional intruder of Russia’s airspace in the stratosphere. For the first time ever, new upgraded MiG-31BM high-altitude interceptor-fighters took part in a dogfight at their service ceiling. The fighters flew at a speed of 2,500 km/h and an altitude of more than 20 km. The training exercise became one of the stages for fighter pilots to learn to operate new and upgraded aircraft and to sharpen their piloting skills required for air defense combat patrols," the statement read as reported by Russia's TASS news agency.