The MiG-25R Foxbat was one of the most secretive and rarely seen aircraft in the Indian Air Force service till its retirement in April 2006. At the time of retirement, six examples existed, four single-seaters and two twin-seat conversion trainers.
Aircraft DS362 is one of the only two trainer variants of the Foxbat that was operated by the Indian Air Force. The aircraft served with No.102 Squadron and then No.35 Squadron. It was flown to Air Force Academy Dundigal in May 2006 and was subsequently displayed for the public in June 2006.
Subsequently, the aircraft was showcased at the passing out parade in Dunidgal. Noted aviation photographer Sanjay Simha was at the event in June 2006 and captured the most detailed walkaround photographs of the MiG-25U . Sanjay’s detailed photographs are probably the only known imagery showing the detailed stencilling around the airframe for this example. Note that at the time of the ferry, the MiG-25 had its massive centerline fuel drop tank attached underneath.
DS362 was subsequently towed to an empty spot next to the NJS Sekhon block, where the ATC was situated. In 2009, Air Marshal S Bhojwani forwarded us the below photographs of the aircraft. The aircraft appeared to have its centerline drop tank removed at that time.
Ten years later, in June 2019, right before the pandemic, I had the opportunity to visit Dundigal during the Combined passing-out parade and captured the following photographs of the aircraft. Still very well maintained. The canopy perspex was painted over in blue protective paint. The details of the stencils etc were lost over the years under the fresh coat of silver paint.
If you are wondering what happened to the centerline drop tank. The Academy decided to display it separately from the aircraft at the sports complex area.
Photos Courtesy: Sanjay Simha, Air Marshal S Bhojwani and the Author. This page’s original publishing date was October 2006.