TechPink jets at Russian base spark intrigue amidst war preparations

Pink jets at Russian base spark intrigue amidst war preparations

Pink MiG-31 in Russia
Pink MiG-31 in Russia
Images source: © X

11:19 AM EDT, June 8, 2024

Satellite images from the Russian airbase in Belbek have surfaced online, revealing two pink MiG-31 fighter jets. These aircraft were likely damaged during the May attack, and the military is preparing to paint them.

Since the start of the war, the Russians have been using various camouflage patterns. Photos often appear on social media depicting paintings resembling airplanes on airport tarmacs, which are intended to confuse the enemy and direct fire to areas without valuable equipment.

At first glance, it may seem that the pink MiG-31s in the satellite images from Belbek are paintings on concrete. However, these are real planes being prepared for painting, not decoys intended to mislead Ukrainians. These planes may be used in combat or as decoys, depending on their condition.

The pink airplanes were most likely damaged by Ukrainians on May 15. Just under a month ago, the Ukrainian army attacked Belbek, near Sevastopol. During the shelling, the S-300/400 anti-aircraft systems and the MiG-31s mentioned were reportedly destroyed. The two visible units may have been damaged to the point that repainting was necessary, or they have already been used for spare parts and will be used as decoys in the future.

Pink MiG-31s in Belbek

The planes covered in pink primer at Belbek are MiG-31s. In the appropriate variant (marked with the letter "K"), these are among the more formidable weapons the Russians can use against Ukraine because the MiG-31K can carry the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missiles.

The history of these planes dates back to the mid-1970s. The first flight of the MiG-31 took place then, leading to the start of serial production in 1977, which continued until the mid-1990s. The MiG-31 is a relatively large interceptor fighter with a wingspan of almost 44 feet (compared to the F-16 with a wingspan of 32 feet), and its overall length exceeds 67 feet.

This post-Soviet airplane is powered by two Soloviev D-30F6 units, each generating 21,000 lbs of thrust (over 33,700 lbs with afterburner). As a result, the MiG-31 can achieve speeds exceeding 2.8 Mach, or over 2,100 mph. Additionally, it can operate at altitudes of almost 13 miles and has a range of 3,100 miles with a full fuel tank.

The MiG-31's primary armament includes the standard six-barrel GS-6-23 air cannon with 260 rounds. Under the aircraft is space for six missile launchers with a total mass of 20,000 lbs and two fuel tanks. Among the weapons the MiG-31 can carry, the Kinzhal is the most noteworthy, with the 31K variant being adopted explicitly. The arsenal also includes R-73 and Kh-58 missiles and bombs from the KAB family.

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