HA5601 Gurevich MiG-25 513th Fighter Rgt, Red 31 Hakodate AB, Japan, Defection, September 6th 1976
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Lieutenant Viktor Belenko was a pilot with the 513th Fighter Regiment, 11th Air Army, Soviet Air Defence Forces based in Chuguyevka, Primorsky Krai. His name became known worldwide on September 6, 1976, when he successfully defected to the West, flying his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 "Foxbat" jet fighter to Hakodate, Japan. This was the first time that Western experts were able to get a close look at the aircraft, and it revealed many secrets and surprises. His defection caused a lot of damage to the Soviet Union Air Force. Belenko was sentenced to death in the Soviet Union for state treason but was granted asylum by then U.S. President Gerald Ford, and a trust fund was set up for him, granting him a very comfortable living in later years. The U.S. Government interrogated and debriefed him for five months after his defection, and employed him as a consultant for several years thereafter. The MiG was disassembled, examined, and returned to the USSR in thirty crates. Belenko had brought with him the pilot's manual for the MiG-25 "Foxbat", expecting to assist American pilots in evaluating and testing the aircraft. However, the Japanese government only allowed the U.S. to examine the plane and do ground tests of the radar and engines.Designed as a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor to counter the threat posed by the US XB-70 Valkyrie bomber, the MiG-25 was first flown on September 9th, 1964. The airframe was designed around a pair of massive Tumansky R-15(B) turbojet engines, capable of propelling it to a top speed of around Mach 3. The Foxbat is one of the fastest production aircraft to enter service. In addition to the interceptor variants, numerous reconnaisance variants were also produced. The MiG-25 has seen service with several air forces besides Russia including those of Iraq, Egypt, Libya and Syria.