Giulio wrote:in general ordnance laden tactical fighters are escorted. The escort or their ecm-aircrafts could be the Mig-25's target. But the Mig-25 is for high altitude, high speed interceptions, quick jumps at high speed for fast targets, like F-111s, or F-14s, B-58 ... .. The Mig-25 was for high speed stratospheric bombers or cruise missiles.
Not sure if mig 25 can intercept cruise missiles
Can the mig 25 target escorts ? They are likely to be more maneuvers than heavily laden strike planes
Given that I'm not a Mig-25 pilot, AFAIK the Mig-25 could theoretically get any target. High performances interceptors demonstrated they could intercept with good chances of success subsonic and supersonic cruise missiles, from the front and from behind. From behind with some limitations due to the target speed, altitude and intercept angle (if the target is running away, times are critical and gradually the "fire-window" is dramatically reduced also untill few seconds). This is why high speed bombers like B-58 or XB-70 have been abandoned. The B-58 was retired when the Foxbat entered service. In favour of high performances ECM/eccm and stand-off weapons with handle capacity and, today, stealth. The Mig-25 could get targets alone, but with a good air defense system and ground guidance chanches increase. This applies to any fighter, the more reason for high performances aircrafts.
At low altitude, due to air density, the Mig-25 has speed limitations and more fuel consumption. This for any Mach-2/3 aircraft. The Mig-25 is a stratospheric interceptor designed for very high performance targets (like a B-58 or a XB-70 or U-2 or SR-71). The Foxbat is not designed for dogfighting, for the simple reason that at very high speed, if you want to return back home, you can't do high turn maneuvers (G overage). The drag increase with the square of the speed, this generate heating (at about 280 - 300° Celsius). The heating reduces the fuselage strength. Engines, canopy and fuselage are designed for withstand it, but there are limitations, under computer control, because at Mach-3 everything happens in an instant and it is very easy exceed limits. The aircraft requires cooling design and system. Afaik, in the Mig-25 there is a cooling system with about 290 liters of water + pure ethanol (95% water) and after each supersonic flight this system requires resupply (they tell also you could drink pure ethanol, if the situation is good.....).
So, at very high speed, tight turning maneuvers not only are useless (at that speed you do 60-80 Km in a minute), but impossible, so high altitude fight is different from lower altitude fight, because the stratosphere is a different environment (no oxygen for engines, no pressure, T=- 60° C). So, the stratospheric fighting is a very high speed, but a 1,5 - 2G fighting. Although, at 3 Mach, the MiG-25 is considered to have greater maneuverability than its targets, but this is few pertinent, because aircrafts like the SR-71 were 1,5G aircrafts and, in some conditions, they have to slow down for maneuvering or dive. The entire process of interception is under computer control via datalink.
The Mig-25PD-PDS could carry also IR missiles like R-60/aa-8, in number of four, but this primarily wasn't for dogfighting, but for increase shotdown chances of incoming targets, if the R-40 are already gone, gift that the Mig-25 had not a cannon (although those R-60 could work like defense system in some conditions). According with pilots, afaik, the R-60 missiles and their pylons, gave a little drag and a little speed limitation because not in the Mig25 original design (and I don't know why, maybe that the Mig-25 maximum speed could overcome the R-60 speed and could overheating their fuzes ..... but I'm not sure of this).
So, the Mig-25 not only is wasted in a low altitude dogfight, but the Foxbat is underdog in this because it is not designed for. For this there were Mig-21/23 and 29. Those tactical aircrafts can reach the Mig-25 altitude only in a zoom climb and, then, they have to go down. The Mig-25 was born for high performance bombers like B-58 and XB-70. When those bombers have been abandoned, the Mig-25 remained almost a bit "orphan".