14:30 GMT25 September 2020
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    A Russian MiG-31 interceptor has successfully intercepted and destroyed a simulated supersonic cruise missile flying in the stratosphere during a drill in the Russian Far East.

    The press service of Russian Pacific Fleet reported that a pair of MiG-31s, stationed in Kamchatka, successfully locked onto and destroyed a simulated cruise missile target launched from a ship in the Sea of Okhotsk at an altitude of over 12,000 meters at over three times the speed of sound. The target was destroyed using an air-to-air missile, which targeted the enemy missile on a collision course.

    The drill was carried out in anticipation of Naval Aviation Day, celebrated July 17. The Pacific Fleet's press service said that in addition to improving combat efficiency, such training is designed to help crews to work out pilot co-pilot interaction.

    The Defense Ministry has released a video from the drill, although it does not show the moment of impact.

    Entering into service with the Soviet Air Force in 1981, the MiG-31 is designed to intercept and destroy air targets in a wide range of altitudes. The plane's radar systems allow it to find even low-visibility cruise missile targets. In the broad, relatively lightly defended areas of Russia's air borders, the MiG-31 serves as the main means of defense against air attack.

    Earlier this year, military officials told Russia's Zvezda television channel that the MiG-31's complement of long-range R-33 missiles was capable of striking air targets in near space, including satellites.

    cruise missile, intercept, MiG-31, Kamchatka, Russia
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