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Foxbat Tales

Foxbat Tales Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2020 Title Foxbat Tales
Author Mike Guardia Publisher Magnum Books
Published 2020 ISBN 978-0999644355
Format 124 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $14.95

Review

If you're interested in the MiG-25 Foxbat, there's a new title recently released by author Mike Guardia who provides a wealth of information in a concise format. While there are some excellent technical references like those published by Yefim Gordon, there are other references that look at the subject from an operational point of view, complete with inputs from the pilots themselves. This title looks at the history of the Foxbat from the operational and historical perspective while providing an entertaining narrative of that history.

The author picks up the story with the threat situation that was driving the requirements for what would become the MiG-25. The Soviet's Air Defense Command (PVO) was equipped with a variety of aircraft, but none could deal with the combination of spyplanes and incursions into Soviet airspace. With RAF Canberras periodically buzzing Red Square, the Soviets wanted a solution yesterday! When the first MiG-25 was seen over Moscow during the annual May Day parade, allied experts were stunned by the sight of this new aircraft. The MiG OKB would develop two variants of the MiG-25, the interceptor (MiG-25P) and the reconnaissance (MiG-25R), plus two seat trainers for both missions (MiG-25PU and MiG-25RU). You'll find a nice description of these developments and their entries into service here.

As analysts in the west were trying to figure out how do deal with this new super fighter, they got a lucky break when Viktor Belenko defected to a Japanese airbase with his MiG-25P. Analysts quickly realized that their imagined super fighter was really proof that anything can fly given enough thrust. The revelations from inspecting the airframe as well as interviewing its pilot are quite interesting. All of this is nicely covered here.

As time went on, the MiG-25 would finally see action in various parts of the world, not only in Soviet hands, but also as flown by Soviet client nations. Operations in Egypt, Libya, Syria, India, Algeria and Iraq are covered including nice insights from the pilots who flew them in combat operations. If you're read about the F-14's air combat history in Iran, here's the counterpoint from Iraqi pilots who engaged Iranian 'targets'. There is also the 'flipside' perspective as there are great inputs from U.S. pilots who engaged the MiG-25s over Iraq as well as some great coverage of Israeli operations against the MiG-25s in Syria. I was pleased to see one such operation discussed where Israel used a combination of I-HAWK missiles and F-15 to bring down a MiG-25R over Beirut. I was interested in this event as the Israelis were so confident in getting this shoot-down that they invited the U.S. media to film the event from Beirut rooftops. I saw one of these reports and you could see what was likely the AIM-7F hit the aircraft and the aircraft descending in a flat spin with its upper surfaces on fire. That coverage ended with a look at the wreckage, surprisingly intact, smoldering in an alley downtown.

While there is a good use for detailed technical references, you really can't size up the aircraft without hearing from the pilots that flew the aircraft or from those who flew against it. This title provides an excellent perspective as well as a good read for those who really want to know more about Mikoyan's Mach 2.8+ beast. Grab a copy and enjoy!

My sincere thanks to Mike Guardia for this review copy!