Type Interceptor/Fighter (M series)
Fighter-bomber (B series)
Country of origin Soviet Union
First flight 10 June 1967
Numbers built 5,047
Unit costs US$3.6 million/$6.6 million depending on the customer
Max speed Mach 2.32, 2,445 km/h at altitude
Mach 1.14, 1,350 km/h at sea level (1,553 mph / 840 mph)
Max range Range: 1,150 km with six AAMs combat, 2,820 km ferry (570 mi / 1,750 mi)
Service ceiling: 18,500 m (60,695 ft)
Dimensions Length: 16.70 m (56 ft 9.5)
Wingspan: Spread, 13.97 m (45 ft 10 in)
Height: 4.82 m (15 ft 9.75 in)
Wing area: 37.35 m² spread, 34.16 m² swept (402.05 ft² / 367.71 ft²)
Weight Empty weight: 9,595 kg (21,153 lb)
Loaded weight: 15,700 kg (34,612 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 18,030 kg (39,749 lb)
Powerplant 1 × Khatchaturov R-35-300 afterburning turbojet, 83.6 kN dry, 127 kN afterburning (18,850 lbf / 28,700 lbf)
Armament 1x Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23L 23 mm cannon with 200 rounds
Two fuselage, two wing glove, and two wing pylons for up to 3,000 kg (6,610 lb) of stores, including:
R-23/24 (AA-7 "Apex")
R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid")
also, upgraded aircraft may carry:
R-27 (AA-10 "Alamo")
R-73 (AA-11 "Archer")
R-77 (AA-12 "Adder")
Operators Current operators:
Angola, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Somalia, Libya, Namibia, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Zimbabwe
Armenia, Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkmenistan, Soviet Union, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Zambia
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Flogger is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed and developed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau. MiG-23 is the Soviet Union’s third generation jet fighter. It was the first endeavor by the Soviet Union to develop look-down/shoot-down radar and one of the initial fighter aircraft for being equipped with beyond visual range (BVR) missiles, and it was the first MiG production fighter aircraft for getting intakes at the sides of the fuselage.
Production up and running in 1970 and achieved good sized quantities with over 5,000 aircraft constructed. Today the MiG-23 continues to be in limited service with a variety of export customers.
The Development and Design of MiG-23
To improve the performance of its predecessor, the MiG-21, which was fast and agile, but operated with limited capabilities such as old fashioned radar, short range, and low weapons load, the MiG-23 features more powerful machine and matches Western aircraft such as the F-4 Phantom and equipped with S-23 sensor and weapon system capable of firing beyond-visual-range (BVR) missiles.
A major design concern was take-off and landing operation. The Soviet Air Force called for the new aircraft have a much shorter take-off run. Low-level speed and handling was also to be enhanced over the MiG-21. This brought Mikoyan to think about two options: lift jets, to produce an extra lift component, and variable-geometry wings.
The first prototype, known as “23-01” but also identified as the MiG-23PD, was a tailed delta similar to the MiG-21 but with two lift jets in the fuselage. Nevertheless, it was clear that this settings was ineffective, as the lift jets turned out to be ineffective dead weight as soon as airborne. The second prototype, called “23-11”, offered variable-geometry wings which could be set to angles of 16, 45 and 72 degrees, and it was evidently more ensuring. The first flight of 23-11 occurred on 10 June 1967, and three more prototypes were set for more flight and system testing. All presented the Tumansky R-27-300 turbojet engine with a thrust of 7850 kp. The order to start out series production of the MiG-23 was granted in December 1967.
Generally, the General Dynamics F-111 and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II were the major Western influences on the MiG-23. The Russians, on the other hand, desired a significantly lighter, single-engined fighter to optimize agility. Either the F-111 or the MiG-23 were intended as fighters, but the heavy weight and natural stability of the F-111 directed it into a long-range interdictor and never play the fighter role. At the same time the MiG-23 is light and agile enough to dogfight with enemy fighters.
The MiG-23MLD, an upgraded version, is armed with the R-73 (AA-11 “Archer”), but this missile was not exported right up until the MiG-29 was introduced for export. The pilot wears helmet-mounted sight which connected with the R-73 missile was fitted on the MiG-23MLDG and some other experimental MiG-23MLD subvariants that never went into production as had been initially intended. The rationale was that these MiG-23MLD subvariants had less consideration than the then continuing MiG-29 program, and the Mikoyan bureau consequently made a decision to completely focus all their endeavors on the MiG-29 program and ceased more work on the MiG-23. Even so, a helmet-mounted sight is now available as part of the MiG-23-98 upgrade.
There were reports of the MiG-23MLD getting perfect for firing the R-27 (AA-10 “Alamo”) beyond experimental tests; yet, it seems only Angola’s MiG-23-98s are able to do so. A MiG-23 was used to test and fire the R-27, R-73, and R-77 (AA-12 “Alamo”) air-to-air missiles at the time of their early flight and firing trials. Ground-attack armament consists of 57 mm rocket pods, general purpose bombs up to 500 kg in size, gun pods, and Kh-23 (AS-7 “Kerry”) radio-guided missiles. As many as four external fuel tanks could be brought.
There were several variants of the MiG-23 Flogger such as MiG-23MF Flogger-B (export variant for Warsaw Pact countries), MiG-23U Flogger-C (a twin-seat training variant), MiG-23P Flogger-G (A specialized air-defense interceptor variant), MiG-23MLD Flogger-K (the ultimate fighter variant of the MiG-23), MiG-23B Flogger-F (ground-attack), and MiG-23BN Flogger-H (ground-attack).
MiG-23 Flogger at 2006 New Castle Airshow