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MiG-23 Mikoyan Gurevich
MiG-23
ASCC codename: Flogger
Multi-Role Fighter

DESCRIPTION:
First demonstrated to the public during the Domodedovo airshow in 1967, the MiG-23 was a major advance in fighter design over the preceeding MiG-21. The aircraft uses variable-sweep wings that can be set at 16, 45, or 72 degrees of sweep to improve performance at both subsonic and supersonic speeds. The MiG-23 also employs variable inlets to improve engine efficiency and increase range.

Production of the MiG-23 was completed in 1985 after 4,278 single-seat and 769 trainers had been built. The MiG-23 is said to be easy to fly, popular with pilots, and very reliable. A simplified model was widely exported, especially to Middle Eastern nations, though success has been limited. Numerous MiG-23 fighters were shot down by Israeli F-15 aircraft during the 1982 Lebanon conflict, and Libyan examples were successfully engaged by US F-14 fighters during skirmishes in the mid-1980s. Though still in service with a number of nations, the MiG-23 and related MiG-27 were phased out of Russian service in 1994.

Data below for MiG-23ML 'Flogger-G'
Last modified 03 April 2011

HISTORY:
First Flight (MiG-23) 10 June 1967
(MiG-23ML) 1976
Service Entry 1973
Retirement (Russia) 1994
(Hungary) 1997
(Czech Republic) 1998
(Poland) 1999
(Romania) 2003
(Bulgaria) 2004
(India) 2007 [MiG-23MF], 6 March 2009 [MiG-23BN]

CREW:

one: pilot

ESTIMATED COST:

$3 million to $7 million [1985$]

AIRFOIL SECTIONS:
Wing Root TsAGI SR-12S (6.5%)
Wing Tip TsAGI SR-12S (5.5%)

DIMENSIONS:
Length 54.83 ft (16.71 m)
Wingspan unswept: 45.83 ft (13.965 m)
swept: 25.54 ft (7.779 m)
Height 15.79 ft (4.82 m)
Wing Area 293 ft² (27.3 m²)
Canard Area

not applicable

WEIGHTS:
Empty 22,485 lb (10,200 kg)
Normal Takeoff 32,000 lb (14,515 kg) [fighter mission]
Max Takeoff 39,250 lb (17,800 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 10,300 lb (4,672 kg)
external: unknown
Max Payload

6,614 lb (3,000 kg)

PROPULSION:
Powerplant one Khachaturov R-35-300 afterburning turbojet
Thrust

28,660 lb (127.5 kN) with afterburner

PERFORMANCE:
Max Level Speed at altitude: 1,555 mph (2,500 km/h) at 36,000 ft (10,975 m), Mach 2.35
at sea level: 840 mph (1,350 km/h), Mach 1.1
Initial Climb Rate 50,000 ft (15,250 m) / min
Service Ceiling 60,700 ft (18,500 m)
Range typical: 970 nm (1,800 km)
ferry: 1,515 nm (2,800 km)
g-Limits +7.5

ARMAMENT:
Gun one 23-mm GSh-23L two-barrel cannon (260 rds)
Stations six external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile (MiG-23S/SM) R-3/AA-2 Atoll, R-60/AA-8 Aphid
(MiG-23M) R-3/AA-2 Atoll, R-23/R-24/AA-7 Apex, R-60/AA-8 Aphid
(MiG-23MLD) R-3/AA-2 Atoll, R-23/R-24/AA-7 Apex, R-60/AA-8 Aphid, R-73/AA-11 Archer
(MiG-23-98) R-3/AA-2 Atoll, R-23/R-24/AA-7 Apex, R-60/AA-8 Aphid, R-27/AA-10 Alamo, R-73/AA-11 Archer, R-77/AA-12 Adder
Air-to-Surface Missile Kh-66/Kh-23/AS-7 Kerry
Bomb 250/500 kg conventional, nuclear, and napalm bombs, cluster bombs
Other rocket pods, ECM pods

KNOWN VARIANTS:
Ye-231 Prototype lacking the dogtooth on the wing leading edge that became standard on all later models
MiG-23 'Flogger-A' Pre-production evaluation model introducing the wing dogtooth but lacking hardpoints for weapons
MiG-23S 'Flogger-A' First serial-production model built in small numbers and used for operational testing, equipped with an improved engine but retained the older radar and fire control system if the MiG-21MF since the intended Sapfir-23 radar was delayed; 60 built but did not enter operational service
MiG-23SM 'Flogger-A' Second pre-production model equipped with a full weapon suite comprising the Sapfir-23 radar with R-23 missiles, also featured an uprated engine and enlarged wing of increased sweep and lacking leading edge slats, wing sweep positions were changed to 18.5, 47.5 and 74.5 degrees, tail fin moved further aft and an extra fuel tank added to the rear fuselage; about 80 built but the radar was considered too immature for service entry
MiG-23M 'Flogger-B' First production fighter variant to enter service that featured an improved engine, leading-edge slats, upgraded radar, infrared search and track (IRST) system, and a gunsight, typical armament included two RF- or IR-guided R-23 and two R-60 missiles (later increased to four by adding double carriage pylons) for air-defense or rocket pods, free-fall bombs, tactical nuclear bombs, or the Kh-23 missile for ground attack; about 1,300 built from 1972 to 1978
MiG-23MF 'Flogger-B' Export model based on the MiG-23M that was built in two versions, the first for Warsaw Pact allies was nearly identical to the MiG-23M while the second had a downgraded radar lacking electronic countermeasures features and was widely sold throughout the Middle East
MiG-23U 'Flogger-C' Two-seat combat-capable trainer based on the MiG-23S with a second crew station replacing a fuel tank in the forward fuselage and a replacement fuel tank added to the rear fuselage as on the MiG-23SM, later production models featured the wing and engine of the MiG-23M
MiG-23UB/UM 'Flogger-C' Two-seat combat-capable trainers largely identical to the MiG-23U except fitted with a Tumanskii engine; 769 built including MiG-23U conversions until 1985
MiG-23MP/MS 'Flogger-E' Export versions of the MiG-23M, the MiG-23MP was built in small models and never successfully exported while the MiG-23MS was based on the MiG-23M with downgraded avionics including an older radar in a smaller nose and lacking the IRST such that it could only carry R-3 or R-60 missiles; built from 1973-1978 and sold mainly to Middle East and North African nations
MiG-23B 'Flogger-F' Attack fighter based on the MiG-23S featuring a redesigned forward fuselage with a raised seat to improve pilot visibility, armor protection, a revised nose for a ground attack sight system with a laser rangefinder and bomb sight but lacking a radar, modified navigation system and autopilot to improve bombing accuracy, a Lyul'ka engine, strengthened pylons to increase payload, fuel tank inerting system, and electronic warfare suite; 3 prototypes and 24 production models built from 1971 to 1972
MiG-23ML 'Flogger-G' Lightweight fighter redesigned from the MiG-23M with a new lighter airframe, removal of the rear fuselage fuel tank, modified dorsal fin, aerodynamic refinements to reduce drag, and more powerful engine to increase the g-limit and enhance maneuverability, improved electronics included a more powerful radar and IRST, new radio and datalink, and a better navigation system with an improved autopilot; about 1,000 built (including MiG-23MLA) starting in 1978
MiG-23MLA 'Flogger-G' Late-production MiG-23ML model featuring a better radar with improved resistance to electronic countermeasures, a new gunsight, and compatibility with R-24 missiles, also sold for export including one standard for the Warsaw Pact and another with downgraded radar for other allies
MiG-23P 'Flogger-G' Air-defense interceptor model for the Soviet Air Defence Forces based on the MiG-23ML with a digital autopilot that can be controlled from the ground via a datalink, also incorporated an improved radar with better look-down/shoot-down capabilities for use against low-altitude cruise missiles but lacked the IRST; about 500 built from 1978 to 1981
MiG-23bis 'Flogger-G' Air-defense interceptor similar to the MiG-23P except equipped with an IRST system and replacing the radar scope with a head-up display (HUD)
MiG-23BK 'Flogger-H' Ground attack fighter based on the MiG-23B sold for export to Warsaw Pact nations
MiG-23BN 'Flogger-H' Similar to the MiG-23B but fitted with the same R-29 engine as fighter models, different wings, and new avionics, mainly sold to export customers; 624 built ending in 1985
MiG-23BM 'Flogger-D' Upgrade to the MiG-23BK to replace the ground attack sight system and introduce a digital attack computer, became the basis of the MiG-27 family and several MiG-23BM test aircraft introduced increasingly radical changes from the original fighter series
MiG-23MLD 'Flogger-K' Upgraded MiG-23ML multi-role tactical fighter with refined aerodynamics and improved flight controls to enhance performance at high angles of attack, an improved weapons control system providing compatibility with the R-73 missile, upgraded radar, a new radar warning receiver, and dispensers for chaff and flares; about 560 converted from MiG-23ML/MLA airframes from 1982 to 1985 plus additional new-build airframes sold to export customers ending production in 1984
MiG-23R Proposed reconnaissance model; did not enter service
MiG-23MLDG Prototype for a fighter based on the MiG-23MLD but equipped with electronic warfare equipment
MiG-23K Proposed fighter model derived from the MiG-23ML for use aboard aircraft carriers; cancelled
MiG-23A Proposed multi-role fighter based on the MiG-23K, subvariants included the MiG-23AI fighter, MiG-23AB attack variant, and MiG-23AR reconnaissance model; cancelled
MiG-23MD Proposed MiG-23M equipped with an improved radar
MiG-23ML-1 Proposed derivative of the MiG-23ML with improved engines including a single R-100 or R-69 or a twin engine layout consisting of two R-33, also would carry a new R-146 air-to-air missile
MiG-23MLK Proposed MiG-23ML model equipped with two R-33 engines or one R-100
MiG-23I Proposal to upgrade MiG-23 export models with a new radar and the ability to carry R-27 as well as R-77 air-to-air missiles
MiG-23-98 Proposal to upgrade MiG-23MF/MS/ML export fighter models with a choice of new radars, an upgraded cockpit, new mission computer, improved databus, and the ability to carry new weapons
MiG-23-98-2 Upgrade program to the Angolan MiG-23ML improving the radar to be compatible with more modern air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons
MiG-23B-98 Proposal to upgrade MiG-23BN export attack models with a helmet-mounted sight for use with R-73 missiles, a new radar, and compatibility with TV-guided air-to-surface weapons
MiG-23UB-99 Proposal to upgrade MiG-23UB export trainers
MiG-23LL Flying laboratory test aircraft used to explore cockpit warning systems
MiG-24 Export version
J-8 Much improved Chinese variant loosely based on the MiG-21 and MiG-23, license-built by Shenyang

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD: Israel-Syria skirmish (Syria, 1974)
Libyan-Egyptian War (Libya, 1977)
Afghansitan War (Soviet Union, 1979-1989)
Iran-Iraq War (Iraq, 1980-1988)
Israel-Syria skirmish (Syria, 1981)
Lebanon (Syria, 1982)
Israel-Syria skirmish (Syria, 1985) Angolan Civil War (Cuba, 1987)
Gulf of Sidra - shot down by US F-14s (Libya, 1989)
Iraq - Operation Desert Storm (Iraq, 1991)
Iraq - Operation Southern Watch (Iraq, 1993)
Iraq - Operation Desert Fox (Iraq, 1998)
Ethipoia-Eritrea conflict (Ethipoia, 1999)
Libya Civil War (Libya, Free Libya rebels, 2011)

KNOWN OPERATORS: Afghanistan (Afghan Air Force) - MiG-23BN/UB
Algeria, Al Quwwat al Jawwawiya al Jaza'eriya (Algerian Air Force)
Angola, Força Aérea Popular de Angola (Angolan People's Air Force) - MiG-23M/UB
Armenia (Armenian Air Force)
Belarus, Voyenno Vozdushnyye Sily (Belarus Air Force)
Bulgaria, Bulgarski Voenno Vozdushni Sili (Bulgarian Air Defense Force Military Aviation) - MiG-23BN/MF/ML/MLA/MLD/UB
Cuba, Defensa Antiaerea y Fuerza Aérea Revolucionaria (Anti-Aircraft Defense and Revolutionary Air Force) - MiG-23MF/ML/UB
Czechoslovakia, Ceskoslovenske Letectvo (Czechoslovak Air Force) - MiG-23MF/ML/BN/UB
Czech Republic, Cesk Letectvo a Protivzbusna Obrana (Czech Air Force and Air Defense)
East Germany, Luftstreitkräfte/Luftverteidigung (Air Force/Air Defense Force) - MiG-23MF/ML/BN/UB)
Egypt, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya (Egyptian Air Force) - MiG-23MS/BN/UB
Ethiopia, Ye Ityopya Ayer Hayl (Ethiopian Air Force) - MiG-23ML/BN/UB
Georgia (Georgian Air Force)
Germany, Deutsche Luftwaffe (German Air Force)
Hungary, Magyar Légierö (Hungarian Red Air Arm) - MF/UB
Hungary, Magyar Honvedseg Repülö Csapatai (Hungarian Air Defense Group)
India, Bharatiya Vayu Sena (Indian Air Force) - MiG-23MF/BN/UB
Iraq, Al Quwwat Al Jawwiya al Iraqiya (Iraqi Air Force)
Côte d'Ivoire, Force Aérienne de la Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast Air Force) - MiG-23MLD
Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan Air Force) - MiG-23M/UB
Libya, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Jamahiriya al Arabia al Libyya (Libyan Air Force) - MiG-23MS/ML/BN/UB
Libya (Free Libyan Air Force)
Namibia (Namibia Defense Force)
North Korea (Korean People's Army Air Force) - MiG-23ML/UB
Poland, Sily Powietrzne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (Polish Air Force) - MiG-23MF/UB
Poland, Polska Wojska Lotnicze i Obrony Powietrznej (Polish Air Defense and Aviation Force)
Romania, Fortele Aeriene Române (Romanian Air Force) - MiG-23MF/UB
Russia, Voyenno Vozdushniye Sili (Russian Air Force)
Russia, Aviatsiya Voyenno-Morskoyo Flota Sily Rossii (Russian Naval Aviation)
Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan National Air Force) - MiG-23UB
Sudan, Silakh al Jawwiya As'Sudaniya (Sudanese Air Force)
Syria, Al Quwwat al-Jawwiya al Arabiya as-Souriya (Syrian Air Force) - MiG-23MS/MF/ML/MLD/BN/UB
Turkmenistan, Voyenno-Vozdushneyye Sily (Turkmenistan Air Force)
Ukraine, Viys'kovo-Povitriani Syly Ukrayiny (Ukraine Military Air Forces)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Voyenno Vozdushniye Sili (Soviet Air Force)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Voyska ProtivoVozdushnoy Oborony (Soviet Air Defence Forces)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Aviatsiya Voyenno-Morskoyo Flota (Soviet Naval Aviation)
Uzbekistan (Uzbek Air Force)
Vietnam, Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam (Vietnam People's Army Air Force) - Mig-23ML/UB
Yemen, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Yemeniya (Unified Yemen Air Force) - MiG-23BN/UB
Zambia (Zambian Air Force and Air Defense Command)
Zimbabwe (Air Force of Zimbabwe) - MiG-23M/UB

3-VIEW SCHEMATIC:

MiG-23


SOURCES:
  • Bishop, Chris, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Weapons: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Weapon Systems from 1945 to the Present Day. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1999, p. 249, 274.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 633, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 and MiG-27.
  • Donald, David and Lake, Jon, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 2000, p. 296-300, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23S/M/MF/MS 'Flogger-A/B/E', Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23ML/P/MLD 'Flogger-G/K', Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23UB 'Flogger-C', Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23B/BK/BM/BN 'Flogger-F/H'.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 188-190, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 'Flogger-B', 'Flogger-E', 'Flogger-G' and 'Flogger-J'; Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23M 'Flogger-E' and MiG-23UB 'Flogger-C'; Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23B/BK/BM/BN 'Flogger-F/-H'.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft. Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 1995, p. 213-216, MiG-23S, MiG-23UB, MiG-23M/MF/MS, MiG-23ML, MiG-23P, MiG-23MLD, MiG-23B, MiG-23BN.
  • Gunston, Bill and Spick, Mike. Modern Air Combat: The Aircraft, Tactics and Weapons Employed in Aerial Combat Today. NY: Crescent Books, 1983, p. 130-131.
  • Isby, David C. Jane's Fighter Combat in the Jet Age. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1997, p. 178.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 164-165.
  • Paul Nann's Military Aviation Photo Gallery
  • Taylor, Michael. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/1997. London: Brassey's, 1996, p. 73-75, Mikoyan MiG-23 (NATO name Flogger).
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000. London: Brassey's, 1999, p. 55, Mikoyan MiG-23 (NATO name Flogger).





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