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Mikoyan MiG-23 Flogger

Tactical fighter

Mikoyan MiG-23 Flogger

The Mikoyan MiG-23 fighters still remain in widespread service with export customers

Mikoyan MiG-23ML (Flogger-G)
Entered service 1976
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 16.7 m
Wing span 13.97 m spread, 7.78 m swept
Height 4.82 m
Weight (empty) 10.2 t
Weight (maximum take off) 17.8 t
Engines and performance
Engines 1 x MNPK Soyuz R-35-300 turbojet
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 1 x 83.84 / 127.49 kN
Maximum speed 2 500 km/h
Service ceiling 18.5 km
Combat radius 1 150 km
Cannon 1 x twin-barrel GSh-23L 23-mm cannon
Missiles R-23R, R-23T, K-13, R-60T, and R-73E air-to-air missiles


   The 'swing-wing' MiG-23 (NATO designation Flogger) was developed in the 1960s in response to the US F-14 Tomcat. It succeeded the previous MiG-21. It combined greater payload, range and firepower with beyond visual range intercept capability from more powerful onboard sensors. The Model 23-11 prototype first flew in 1967. Production commenced in 1969.

   Initial production aircraft had a number of flaws. Short after the MiG-23M (Flogger-B) was developed. It had improved electronics, more powerful engines, and other improvements. It introduced beyond visual range capability with Sapfir-23 (High Lark) pulse-Doppler radar and R-23 (AA-7 Apex) semi-active air-to-air missiles.

   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, AA-7 missile capability and Flogger-B reporting designation.

   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 Sapfir-23L radar adding a new dogfight mode, more capable defensive avionics and a new infra-red search and track. 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 controllability.

   By 1999 the MiG-23 had been phased out of front-line service from Russian air defense interceptor and air force units and now equips reserve and training units only. However, MiG-23 fighters remain in widespread service with export customers. The basic MiG-23M serves with Turkmenistan while Algeria operates the MiG-23MS. MiG-23MFs serve with Cuba, North Korea, Iraq and Romania. India's surviving MiG-23MFs have been relegated to an air defense training unit. MiG-23MLs serve with Angola and Yemen while a combination of 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.

   The MiG-23UB (Flogger-C) is the two-seat trainer and operational conversion variant and remains active with all MiG-23 operators. Phazotron offers a MiG-23 upgrade based around its N019M Topaz multimode radar compatible with R-77 BVR active radar air-to-air missiles.

   There is also a MiG-27 tactical ground attack aircraft.

   Over 5 000 MiG-23 aircraft and its variants were built. Overall this was not a very successful design. This fighter was difficult to fly, expensive to maintain. Engines had short service life. This was the reason why Warsaw Pact countries also operated the older MiG-21 alongside the new aircraft.


Video of the Mikoyan MiG-23 Flogger tactical fighter

Mikoyan MiG-23 Flogger

Mikoyan MiG-23 Flogger

Mikoyan MiG-23 Flogger

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