Chuguev Aviation Repair Plant Mig 23

The MiG-23 (product 23-11, according to NATO codification: Flogger) is a Soviet multi-purpose fighter with a variable sweep wing. An experimental aircraft with a variable swept wing “23-11” made the first flight on June 10, 1967 under the control of test-pilot A. Fedotov.

History of creation

The history of the creation of the MiG-23 began in the first half of the 1960s, when the Design Bureau A. I. Mikoyan (Design Bureau-155) began to develop a fighter to replace the MiG-21. To improve the takeoff and landing characteristics of the aircraft on the new fighter, it was decided to install a wing with variable geometry (consoles change the angle within 16-72 degrees).

Production

Serial production of the new fighter was conducted at the Moscow factory “Banner of Labor." The need to further improve onboard avionics and weapons, as well as the improvement of maneuverability, required a radical improvement in the aircraft. The upgraded MiG-23M was equipped with a new engine, equipment, an under-vent fuel tank and a wing with an increased area and improved aerodynamics. The requirements for further increase in maneuverability, caused by the appearance of fourth-generation fighter aircraft in the United States, led to the creation of a lightweight MiG-23ML fighter in 1974. The aircraft received advanced equipment, a more powerful engine. Changes were made to the design of the airframe – shortened forkil and fuselage. The aircraft was mass-produced for the Soviet Air Force from 1976 to 1981, and for export until 1985. The MiG-23P interceptor with a different set of equipment was created on the basis of the MiG-23ML. At the end of the 1970s, the production of the latest and most advanced modification, the MiG-23MLD, began. The modifications concerned primarily the fuselage design and were intended to improve the stability characteristics of the aircraft at high angles of attack. The fighter was equipped with an advanced radar that can accompany up to 6 targets simultaneously. To protect against man-portable air defense systems on the fixed parts of the wing installed block-containers with infrared traps.

Twelve MiG-23MLD and two combat-training MiG-23UB from the end of 1984 to the beginning of the 1990s were based on the Soviet naval and airbase Cam Ranh, where they performed the tasks of air defense base. Since the range of the flight even with outboard tanks for redeployment from the Khvalynka airfield (Spassk-Dalniy town of Primorsky Krai) was not enough for the aircraft, in the shortest possible time the aircraft were disassembled into process compartments and mothballed in special containers. In these containers, first by rail to Vladivostok, and then by ship, the aircraft were delivered to Vietnam. After the containers arrived in Cam Ranh, the fighters were assembled, checked and flown over for several weeks, after which the squadron began to perform the assigned tasks.

At the moment, all of the Russian Air Force MiG-23s have been withdrawn to the reserve and are located in storage bases.

Exploitation

The Indian Air Force received the first of 70 Mig-23s in 1981, aircraft for 28 years flew 154,000 hours and were written off in 2009. In some years, the MiG-23 had the highest accident rate among all aircraft of the Indian Air Force. For all the time in the flight accidents about half of the total number of vehicles received was lost.

Combat use

The first combat use of the MiG-23 was noted in 1974: as part of the Iraqi Air Force, aircraft were engaged to launch bombings against the positions of Kurdish militants. In the same year, according to the Syrian military command, the Syrian Air Force MiG-23 shot down two Israeli aircraft during a Syrian-Israeli border conflict.

MiG-23 fighters participated in many armed conflicts of the 1980s. Syrian Air Force aircraft played a minor role in the air battles over Lebanon in June 1982. According to Soviet and Russian data, in the course of the Lebanon war, in the air battles, 7 Israeli aircraft (five F-16 and two F-4) were shot down by MiG-23MS and MiG-23MF fighters, with a loss of 10 of their own.

However, some circumstances do not allow convincing confirmation of the destruction of Israeli aircraft. As follows from V. Babich’s article MiG-23MF in the Lebanese War, the MiG-23MF pilots all five of their victories were counted based on their own reports (“According to the pilots, 5 enemy aircraft were shot down …”). Probably, the Syrian side did not have any other confirmations of the victories won (wreckage of the aircraft, captured pilots, recording of photo-guns). The number of downed MiG-23 according to Israeli data is difficult to establish. See also: Aviation losses in the Lebanese War (1982).

In October 1989, a Syrian pilot hijacked the MiG-23MLD piloted by him to Israel, landing him at the Megiddo airbase (This was an export MiG-23MLD, maneuverable qualities of this modification were almost similar to the MiG-23ML / MLA, the main difference from the latter was the availability of more advanced avionics). Comparative tests conducted by the Israelis showed that the export MiG-23MLD had a slight superiority over the early F-16 model in acceleration and “energy maneuverability” at speeds above 900 km / h (However, according to the documents “Practical aerodynamics of the MiG-23ML” and “ TO 1F-16CJ-1-1 “, the aircraft F-16CJ (F-16C block 50/52 with the engine F100-PW-229) has an advantage over the MiG-23ML in acceleration at low altitude, from a speed of 600 km / h to speed 900 km / h – 8 vs. 12 seconds. Comparison of horizontal maneuverability of MiG-23ML and F-16CJ aircraft shows Noah superiority of the latter).

The Iraqi MiG-23s were actively used in the course of the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, both to fight enemy aircraft and to attack ground targets. During the 1991 war, American Iraqi F-15s shot down 6 Iraqi MiG-23s; several planes were sent to Iran, where they are still.

Since 1984, the Soviet MiG-23s participated in the Afghan war, replacing the MiG-21 in Afghanistan. According to pilots, the new aircraft were less suitable for Afghan conditions. High airspeed did not allow sufficiently accurate strikes at enemy positions, as opposed to less speedy and more maneuverable Su-25s. Nevertheless, the loss of the MiG-23 for four years of participation in hostilities was very small. Soviet fighters met several times with the Pakistani F-16 in the Afghan-Pakistan border area. There were no casualties in the air battles that took place, although one Pakistani F-16 crashed in April 1987 for unknown reasons and was allegedly shot down by its slave. Subsequently, the story of this F-16 turned into a myth, claiming that the plane was shot down by the MiG-23. In addition, in September 1988, a Pakistani pilot announced the destruction of two Soviet MiG-23s, which is also not confirmed by the researchers who worked on this episode in detail.

Ethiopia used its MiG-23 during a protracted war with the rebels in Eritrea. Later, after the independence of Eritrea, the aircraft again participated in the battles during the border war between the two countries of 1998-2000. In Angola, the MiG-23MF, piloted by Cuban pilots, took part in several clashes with the South African Mirage F-1 fighter in 1987-1988. According to Cuban sources, in these clashes MiG-23 won several air victories, forcing the South African air force to abandon support for the South African ground forces, which ultimately led to the defeat of South Africa in the 1987-1988 military campaign. As proof of this, journalists were shown clear inscriptions on Afrikaans destroyed by MiG-23 “MIK23 sak van die kart” planes left by South African troops on the wall of the Ruakana-Kaluke dam. After the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola in 1991, MiGs, which were in service with the Angolan air force, participated in the ongoing civil war.

Libya used its MiG-23 during the war in neighboring Chad. On January 4, 1989, an air battle broke out over Sidra Bay between two Libyan MiG-23s and two American F-14 interceptors from the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, as a result of which both MiGs were shot down.

MiG-23, inherited after the collapse of the USSR Azerbaijan, occasionally used during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

On March 17, 2011, during the civil war in Libya, the rebels used two MiG-23 aircraft to attack government forces, sinking two boats.

On August 13, 2012, during the civil war in Syria, the government-owned MiG-23 was shot down by insurgents, the pilot ejected and was not injured, was captured by the rebels.

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