MiG-31 and Kinzhal: From defence to offense.The Foxhound was designed as a defensive platform, an interceptor that could counter high flying spy planes as well as low flying bombers, intruders and cruise missiles. Its powerful passive electronically scanned array radars and ability to automatically and simultaneously share information with 3 other MiG-31 made this platform ideal for the protection of remote areas within the Soviet Union/Russia where ground-based radars and SAM batteries are non-existent.
However, the Foxhound might just have swapped the shield for the sword: 6 to 10 modified MiG-31 called the “K” variant can now embark the new Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile. This makes it an offensive weapon capable of engaging surface targets at a given range of 2,000km (1,200 miles). The speed of the MiG-31 (Mach 2.83) makes it perfect for hit and run tactics as well as making it the ideal platform to launch hypersonic missiles. While some Western experts doubt the range and speed claimed for the Kinzhal are realistic, they do recognise the Foxhound-Kinzhal combination is potentially very potent. Both the platform and the missiles are currently being operationally tested.