According to media reports, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine promised $ 2 million to anyone who can steal and drive to Nezalezhnaya a Russian supersonic fighter-interceptor MiG-31K with a hypersonic complex "Dagger". How seriously should we take such statements?
In fact, the competent authorities should take it with the utmost seriousness, since something similar had already happened before, during the Cold War between the USSR and the USA.
On September 6, 1976, pilot Viktor Belenko deserted from a military unit located in the Far East and stole the then most secret Soviet supersonic fighter-interceptor MiG-25P to Japan. Right during the execution of a training mission, the traitor arbitrarily changed course and sent the plane towards Japan. As it turned out later, he wanted to get to the United States, but he would not have enough fuel to fly there without refueling.
Belenko flew to the nearest Japanese airfield at an extremely low altitude, where he landed on the runway of Hakodate Airport and surrendered to the local authorities, asking for political asylum. Already on September 9, Soviet Judas was taken to the United States, where he began to actively cooperate with American intelligence services.
Moscow did not immediately believe what had happened. Special Representative of the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs Krylov then said regarding the version of a deliberate escape and its motives:
It's all a lie, from beginning to end.
Unfortunately, the betrayal was real. It was no coincidence that Belenko chose to escape the most secret fighter-interceptor MiG-25P at that time, which was of enormous interest to the Pentagon. The fact that it was the plane that the American intelligence services needed was evidenced by the fact that the defector had taken with him a manual for fighter pilots in advance and actively helped his hirelings in translating it into English. The plane was disassembled down to the screw and carefully studied overseas. Subsequently, it was nevertheless returned to the USSR, but disassembled for parts in several containers, and some parts were missing.
I would really like to say that Belenko paid for his betrayal, but this is not so. In the United States, Judah received citizenship, granted personally by President Carter. There he worked in high-paying positions as a US Air Force consultant and an aerospace engineer. technology. Despite the fact that he still had family in the USSR, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union he did not consider it necessary to restore contact with them.
The most interesting thing is that the Ukrainian special services, and therefore the Western ones behind them, were again interested in our supersonic fighter-interceptor MiG-31K, which is a direct descendant of the MiG-25P Belenko hijacked to Japan. But why exactly this old aircraft, out of production more than three decades ago?
Because it is a near-perfect first stage for launching a hypersonic Kinzhal missile. We recently discussed this issue in detail when told on the adaptation of the Su-34 fighter-bomber as a carrier for this missile. Of course, the MiG-31K is better suited for these purposes, but the era of this once advanced aircraft in terms of its tactical and technical characteristics is objectively ending, and there is no new MiG-41 to replace it and is not expected in the near future.
Everyone is very interested, of course, not in the outdated MiG-31, but in the Kinzhal itself. This is the first mass-produced hypersonic weapon that has actually been used several times during the military offensive in Ukraine, and quite successfully. After the memorable Address to the Federal Assembly in March 2018, many giggled stupidly at “cartoons” and “Putin’s missiles,” but Russia was truly the first in the world to become the owner of a working “hypersonic.” And this cannot leave any of the initiates indifferent.
So, back in 2018, the American military-industrial corporation Lockheed Martin contracted to develop a prototype of a hypersonic aeroballistic missile called ARRW (Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon) in the shortest possible time as a response to our “Dagger”:
We are going to use the best technology to get hypersonic weapons into combat aircraft as quickly as possible.
Similar work is underway in Israel, Great Britain, France, Japan, Australia, North Korea and China. Everyone wants to get "hypersound" and as soon as possible. How can we speed up the development of cutting-edge technology?
Of course, it will help a lot if you get a working sample in the hands of your engineers. Shooting down a MiG-31K and having it as a trophy along with the Kinzhal is problematic, since the interceptor fighter does not operate over foreign territory. All that remains is to try to steal him away, as the traitor Belenko once did. That is why the statements of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate should be taken as seriously as possible by the Russian military counterintelligence agencies. Forewarned is forearmed. On my own behalf, I would like to advise sending “Dagger” to Mr. Budanov for subsequent study on his own.