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It has been exactly 45 years since Belenko defected to Japan with his MiG-25P on 6th September 1976. Anyone remember where he was when the news was released? 

 

Me, in London watching the news on TV and shortly later buying the Hasegawa kit of course!  : )  : )

 

Best regards

Gabor

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Sad to say but I don't.   One thing I'm curious about - have they ever released any good quality pictures of the jet after it landed?   I have to think that they photographed the crap out of that plane.   As you mentioned, it's been close to half a century, there should be no reason why those pictures aren't out there.  

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I remember well, watching from my crib with a bottle of milk in hand 😉

 

Obviously I was too young to remember. I did read his book though, my dad had the hardcover in the early 80s. Read it multiple times when I was 10-12 years old. Rode my bike to Longs Drugs and bought the 1/72 Hasegawa kit. Mixed a bluish Grey from Testors square jars and painted it in one sitting with one of their little white handles black brushes. It hung from my bedroom ceiling until I moved out!

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27 minutes ago, 11bee said:

Sad to say but I don't.   One thing I'm curious about - have they ever released any good quality pictures of the jet after it landed?   I have to think that they photographed the crap out of that plane.   As you mentioned, it's been close to half a century, there should be no reason why those pictures aren't out there.  

 

This is an interesting question. From the Japanese side it was always a very difficult question. What should we do? How to proceed? On one side big Russian bear next door with which it is not “recommended” to be on bad terms. On the other side the big brother USA from who the country depends in many ways including military.

 

They (Japan) gave to both sides, US got Belenko with all his knowledge as well as few weeks of close look at the aircraft in every possible way, but no flight testing. To Russia they gave back the aircraft in 30 crates. It ended up in a training unit before it was scraped.

 

So for both Japan and US it is still a secret that they rather not publicise.

 

Yes, both sides investigated it, every millimetre of the most secretive aircraft in seventies. Took thousands of photos, samples of metal parts and tested all black boxes on the ground. But I believe all this will be under lock and key for still some time.

 

Years ago there was somewhere an official response to this/similar question from the US side where they stated that under no circumstances will they make the data public till the same type of aircraft is still operational somewhere in the world.

 

In principle Algeria still has the MiG-25 on flight lines although there were news reports to the declaring them retired. Even then US could say that till the MiG-31 is in operation they will not show anything. It all depends on how one interprets the rule and what he wants to reveal or not.

 

I am 100% sure that Japan will never release any of the data they officially obtained in those day in September - October 1976.  All the changes in the structure and equipment of JSDAF they made after 1976 in Japan clearly shows that they learned all the lessons from the Foxbat defection and investigation afterwards.   

 

 

Best regards

Gabor

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Thanks for the info Gabor!  I’ve had surprisingly good luck filing Freedom of Information Act requests.    I think I’ll submit one. I’d really love to see some pics of the jet post-landing before it was removed for dissection.  

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18 hours ago, 11bee said:

Thanks for the info Gabor!  I’ve had surprisingly good luck filing Freedom of Information Act requests.    I think I’ll submit one. I’d really love to see some pics of the jet post-landing before it was removed for dissection.  

 

Good luck with your research and request. Hope something nice will come up from it!

 

Public (or Freedom) of Information Act

That is an interesting concept. For some parts of the world.

 

Around here it is highly discouraged although in principle legally it does exist but in reality they don’t like journalist going around and asking questions, requesting documents, looking into files. . .  It is possible but one will have to pay the workhours (and everything associated with it) of the person doing the research, all the overheads, pay for all the copy costs . . . In the end it is usually a bill which most people, journalists or companies cannot afford. So the state archives its goal of keeping information that they don’t want the public to see.

If there are extra snoopy journalist (who have the money to go ahead) then they simply say that the given info was classified as secret for 10, 20 or 30 years.  Problem solved. : )   : )

 

Best regards

Gabor

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I read about it a few years after when the book came out in condensed form in an issue of Reader's Digest.   I remember being fascinated by how they described that the Mig-25's electronics still used vacuum tubes and about how Lt. Belenko was so amazed at the amount of produce in the groceries in the US.

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 I remember being fascinated by how they described that the Mig-25's electronics still used vacuum tubes

 

Unfortunately I can't remember when I was Belenko landed in Japan - I was still in training (potty training, that is).

 

The "vacuum tubes" used in the Mig-25 radar and other avionics were actually nuvistors, a fairly recent (at the time) innovation to miniaturize vacuum tubes to compete better against semiconductors which were getting a bigger share of the market during the mid-to-late 1960s. Using nuvistors in a radar designed at the time was not really as anachronistic as it sounds; and nuvistors were pretty much still in use in a lot of US/NATO radars and missiles from the late 50s to late 1960s (I sure saw a lot of them in my unauthorized "dissection" of an AIM-4 Falcon during college 🙂 )   

 

So, the claim that "Mig-25 still used vacuum tubes" made good publicity but I doubt the USAF/CIA technical exploitation experts thought this to be a real weakness. The fact that nuvistors were more resistant from a EMP/TEMPEST standpoint was widely known at the time, but it is widely thought that the Soviets used nuvistors because that was all they had at the time -they were yet to build a competitive semiconductor industry. 

Edited by KursadA
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actually Russian military grade tubes are very much sought after these days. Plus there are some advantages to tubes verses transistors. They don't go belly up during a nuclear explosion, and of course in an amp they clearly sound better

gary

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On 9/6/2021 at 11:05 AM, 11bee said:

… I have to think that they photographed the crap out of that plane….


Knowing who “they” were, not likely we will ever see pics. 
 

I used to work with a guy who was one of the engineers that inspected and evaluated the radar system. And ChessireCat is correct, our engineers were actually impressed at how the Russians had used “tubes” to make the system less vulnerable to EMP. 

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14 hours ago, habu2 said:


Knowing who “they” were, not likely we will ever see pics. 
 

Doesn’t that seem a bit overkill-ish?   Close to half a century old and a 3-letter government agency needs to spend the time and money to hide these pictures from the American public?   I shouldn’t be surprised, I did a FOIA requesting pics of the cockpit of an AH-6C Littlebird.    After a large amount of back and forth, I was sent a couple of photocopied black and white pictures that showed absolutely nothing classified.  Just 40-year off the shelf instruments and avionics.  

Edited by 11bee
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I did aks a friend in Japan about this question. With all the time passed since the event if there is a chance to finding more info.

NONE

It was worth asking.

 

The whole investigation of the aircraft was conducted by that 3 letter American agency and basically the Japanese were the ones for whom the whole affair was just a pain in the  . . .  without any benefit.

Don’t think that the US side will ever release (in our life time or beyond) anything on this.

 

 

But good luck 11bee on this one and look forward to any result!

 

 

Best regards

Gabor

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On 9/6/2021 at 7:40 PM, 11bee said:

Thanks for the info Gabor!  I’ve had surprisingly good luck filing Freedom of Information Act requests.    I think I’ll submit one. I’d really love to see some pics of the jet post-landing before it was removed for dissection.  

Beat me to it with this. Absolutely worth a try!

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I have the Japanese publication Koku-Fan dated August 77, Vol.26 No.9. It has a picture montage from when it landed at Hakodate Airport on the 6th Sept, being surrounded and inspected by people. It was covered in a very large orange sheet and the insignia and number was covered over with paper. It was then moved to a corner of Hakodate Airport then an hanger was constructed around it. The wing and tail fins were removed, awaiting collection by a C-5 to take it to Hyakuri AB. There are also black and white pictures of the MiG-25 flying over Hakodate probably going to the airport. Also in the magazine there is a cutaway drawing and plans to 1/100. Interesting is that on the back page Hasegawa shows a MiG-25.

 

Regards

Robert

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On 9/7/2021 at 7:40 PM, 11bee said:

Doesn’t that seem a bit overkill-ish?   Close to half a century old and a 3-letter government agency needs to spend the time and money to hide these pictures from the American public?  

 

 Seriously?  You think money is being spent to hide them?   Compare that to the time and money that would be spent to reproduce and release them, and all that just to satisfy the curiosity of a scale hobbyist?  Methinks thou dost protest too much….

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2 hours ago, habu2 said:

 

 Seriously?  You think money is being spent to hide them?   Compare that to the time and money that would be spent to reproduce and release them, and all that just to satisfy the curiosity of a scale hobbyist?  Methinks thou dost protest too much….

That’s how the FOIA process works Habu.  It’s the law, they are required to review each request and if deemed valid, provide requested information to the submitter.   I’ve submitted 4 FOIA’s and received comprehensive data dumps on 3 of them. In one case, when I asked the Navy for additional pictures, they dug deeper into their archives and sent me a CD with a bunch of new pictures.  
 

And yes, it was to satisfy the curiosity of a scale hobbyist Habu.  I made it clear in each request that I was building a model to honor the crews that flew the aircraft that I was building (2 crews were deceased, the other very much alive) and I was publishing my builds in an online blog.   If you feel this is a frivolous waste of taxpayer money, feel free to take it up with the USN, Army Safety Center and Special Operations Command.  

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8 hours ago, Tomcat Trebor said:

I have the Japanese publication Koku-Fan dated August 77, Vol.26 No.9. It has a picture montage from when it landed at Hakodate Airport on the 6th Sept, being surrounded and inspected by people. It was covered in a very large orange sheet and the insignia and number was covered over with paper. It was then moved to a corner of Hakodate Airport then an hanger was constructed around it. The wing and tail fins were removed, awaiting collection by a C-5 to take it to Hyakuri AB. There are also black and white pictures of the MiG-25 flying over Hakodate probably going to the airport. Also in the magazine there is a cutaway drawing and plans to 1/100. Interesting is that on the back page Hasegawa shows a MiG-25.

 

Robert, I researched the kit many years ago, and learned it came out in Japan within 90 days of the Belenko defection! It was available in the USA after 5 months. So In August 1977 it was already old news 🙂

 

You mention a cutaway drawing and plans in the Koku-Fan Vol.26 No.9 issue. Both are absent in my copy. Are they separate? If not, what are the page numbers in your issue?

Rob

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Hi Rob, the cutaway drawing had been stapled inside so is at the beginning and is folded up. The scale (?) drawings which are also folded up are at the end of the colour section and beginning of the black and white section. I wonder is someone had removed them ?

 

Regards

Robert

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3 hours ago, Tomcat Trebor said:

Hi Rob, the cutaway drawing had been stapled inside so is at the beginning and is folded up. The scale (?) drawings which are also folded up are at the end of the colour section and beginning of the black and white section. I wonder is someone had removed them ?

Thanks for checking! I now see that my copy starts at page 7, so the cutaway drawing was removed, plus possibly some more. And between the colour and b&w sections I see a small paper strip, the remains of the drawings. Grrr....

 

On the other hand, both are completely outdated, so I won't miss them while building one or two MiG-25 models.

 

Rob

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As to what happened later with the aircraft is a good question. There are several versions.

It is known that one № 31 was for years at the Daugavpilsk aviation academy before it was taken apart and eventually completely scraped. As shown by the photos it had a lot of Japanese writing on it. Photos are from a Russian modelling site.

 

I dont think these photos have been on Western sites before. Here it is in early 1980's

 

g2QUnNh.jpg

 

And also when the cockpit was still in place

 

vrwjf1f.jpg

 

 

 

Best regards

Gabor

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At the time I was based at Little Rock A.F.B. with the 314th Security Police Squadron.

I remember talking about it to the owner of the local hobby shop outside the base.  He used to be in M.A.C.V. and still kept up on certain things he was interested in.

When the Hasegawa kit came out he was suprised that it was so quick, and looking at the picture on the box with the aircraft covered and people all over it he speculated that a Hasegawa rep. or two might have gotten in to take measurments and pictures.

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On 9/17/2021 at 5:03 PM, ya-gabor said:

As to what happened later with the aircraft is a good question. There are several versions.

It is known that one № 31 was for years at the Daugavpilsk aviation academy before it was taken apart and eventually completely scraped. As shown by the photos it had a lot of Japanese writing on it. Photos are from a Russian modelling site.

I dont think these photos have been on Western sites before. Here it is in early 1980's

And also when the cockpit was still in place

 

Thanks for posting these photos! I never thought about the fate of the airframe. I probably would have reassembled it and returned it to service 🙂

 

Rob

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8 hours ago, Rob de Bie said:

 I never thought about the fate of the airframe. I probably would have reassembled it and returned it to service 🙂

 

Rob

 

 

One can say that this particular airframe was “compromised”.

 

1. From operational stand point of view one can say that it was disassembled by not qualified personnel, that is US “specialists” both for dismantling for transportation and later ground testing. Who would trust the integrity of such an aircraft?

 

2. In many places of the airframe samples were taken to determine what is it exactly made of, holes were drilled into metal parts to get the samples. Is this something worth “repairing” or replacing just to get the aircraft back in air?

 

3. Back in those days in the overall Soviet system plus or minus one Foxbat airframe was not a deal breaker, no one was willing to take the responsibility for returning the given aircraft №31 to active service. Also it was not certain that the American side did not add to it some hidden "gems".

 

4. Let’s also not forget that the Belenko defection also triggered a system wide overhaul of the Soviet Air Force with the introduction of a brand new IFF system and redesign of the MiG-25P into the MiG-25PDS (upgraded original P versions) and the newly built MiG-25PD’s. They all had brand new systems on board and basically everything in the MiG-25P went into the trash bin since the enemy has already seen it and evaluated it, knowing all the strong and weak points of them.  

 

Actually almost no original MiG-25P remained after this time and not even museums have them. Come to think of it, I believe there was just one “original” P version on display at Hodinka airfield (now relocated to Medinye) and there could be one (or two) as monuments somewhere in Russia (if at all).  

 

Best regards

Gabor

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I agree with you Gabor, but in such short period of time, what can you change to be better, and different, compared to version which Americans inspected?? That is for sure big PR from soviet side. Everyone knows that soviet equpment was inferior to the western equpment. 

 

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