NATO Designation "Flogger"
|Entered service in||1967|
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wing span||7.8 - 14 m|
|Weight (empty)||10.2 t|
|Weight (normal)||14.8 t|
|Maximum take off weight||17.8 t|
|Engine||1 x "Soyuz" R-35F-300 turbojet engine|
|Traction (dry)||83.84 kN|
|Traction (with afterburning)||127.49 kN|
|Maximum speed||2 500 km/h|
|Service ceiling||18 500 m|
|Flying range||1 800 km|
|Combat radius||1 150 km|
|Aviation gun||23-mm GSh-23L twin-barrel aviation gun|
|Missiles||K-13, K-60, R-23R, R-23T, R-60M, R-60T, Kh-23, Kh-25, Kh-29|
|Bombs||up to 3 t (dumb, guided, nuclear)|
MiG-23 "Flogger" tactical fighter's development began in 1964 to replace the
23-11 prototype first flew in 1967 and after one month it was presented
during Aviation Day in Moscow. First pre-production aircraft were
delivered to Soviet air
forces in 1970 and initial production fighters were operational in 1973.
Production of the Mig-23 in Soviet Union ended in the mid-1980s.
Aircraft combined great payload, range and firepower with beyond visual range intercept capability and more powerful onboard sensors. The production MiG-23M "Flogger-B" was completed with "Sapfir-23" ("High Lark") pulse-Doppler radar and R-23 (AA-7 "Apex") semi-active Air-to-Air missiles.
The MiG-23ML "Flogger-G" was intended to have improved handling especially at high angles of attack, enhanced maneuverability and higher "g" limits. It featured a lightened airframe, more powerful R-35-300 engine, improved, lightweight "Saphir-23L" radar adding new dogfight mode, more capable defensive avionics and new infra-red search and track system. It formed the basis for the MiG-23MLD "Flogger-K" that had a number of aerodynamic modifications to increase high angle-of-attack capability and controlability.
Aircraft is armed with 23-mm GSh-23L twin-barrel gun with 200 rounds ammunition load. Missiles, unoperating rockets and bombs are attached to 6 pylons. Furthermore aircraft can carry various sensor and equipment pods. Pilot's protection is enhanced with a bulletproof widescreen.
The MiG-23UB "Flogger-C" is the two-seat trainer and operational conversion variant and remains active with all MiG-23 operators. "Phazatron" offers a MiG-23 upgrade based around its N019M "Topaz" multimode radar compatible with R-77 beyond visual range active radar Air-to-Air missiles.
On the base of MiG-27BN there was developed MiG-27 "Flogger-J" tactical attack aircraft.
Two downgraded export versions of the MiG-23M were produced. The MiG-23MS "Flogger-E" had the Mig-21's "Jay Bird" radar in a short radome and therefore no beyond visual range missile capability. The MiG-23MF retained the "High Lark" radar, R-23 missile capability and "Flogger-B" reporting designation.
By 1999 the Mig-23 had been phased out of front-line service from Russian Anti-aircraft defense interceptor and Air force units and now equips reserve and training units only. Recently Russia replaced them with MiG-29 "Fulcrum" tactical fighters and Su-27 "Flanker" air superiority fighters.
However, MiG-23 fighters remain in widespread service with export customers. Till 1975 some hundreds of such aircraft were passed to Warsaw Pact members and other countries. The basic MiG-23M serves with the Turkmenistan Anti-aircraft defense while Algeria operates the MiG-23MS. MiG-23MFs serve with Cuba, North Korea and Romania. India's surviving MiG-23MFs have been relegated to an air defense training unit. MiG-23MF/ML/MS/MLDs constitute the backbone of the air defense forces of Libya and Syria. Bulgaria operates a mix of MF/ML/MLDs. Mig-23MLDs also equip fighter regiments in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.