Japanese and United States military experts have dismantled the top-secret MIG-25, the world's fastest warplane, which was flown to Japan in early September by a defecting Soviet ;pilot.
Japanese and United States military experts have dismantled the top-secret MIG-25, the world's fastest warplane, which was flown to Japan in early September by a defecting Soviet ;pilot. The aircraft was moved from the Hakodate civilian airport on Friday (24 September) for detailed examination at the Japanese Hyakuri military airbase near Tokyo.
SYNOPSIS: The aircraft, known as the Foxbat, had been under close guard for 19 days while technicians examined it as thoroughly as possible. The Foxbat was flown to Japan by Soviet First Lieutenant Viktor Belenko, who has been granted political asylum in the United States. He flew the aircraft into Japan undetected until shortly before it landed at Hakodate.
Despite Soviet demands for its return, the aircraft remained at the civilian airport as Japanese officials gave a variety of reasons why the aircraft was being held. A few days before the plane was shifted, workmen cleared a temporary steel shield, allowing technicians to remove self-destructing devices from the electronic equipment. The wings and tail-plane were also dismantled before the aircraft was removed under cover of darkness, allowing more detailed inspection at the military base.
The aircraft is believed capable of speeds almost three times the speed of sound. Since its capture, Western military experts have said the Foxbat is not as advanced as previously thought.
Reuters quote informed sources as saying the Foxbat could be compared to a "manned rocket" with little manoeuvrability. It had little pilot-safety equipment and the electronics were relatively unsophisticated.