Jump to content
Please support this forum by joining the SH Patreon ×
Sturgeon's House

The MiG-23 Thread

Domus Acipenseris

Recommended Posts



The MiG-23 is not as well known as some of the other MiG models.  It is not as fast as the 25 or as cost-effective as the 21.  The video linked above says that the 23's reputation was built by the early models and that the late models were much better.


Little is ever reported about the PVO interceptor MiG-23P.  It was the Spitfire to the Su-15's Hurricane although the Su-15 got all the "action" if shooting at airliners can be considered action.


The MiG-23BN was an interim model before the MiG-27 ground attack model appeared.  The MiG-27 was the Typhoon to the Su-17's Hurribomber.


The MiG-23 was the top of the line model during its heyday although it was much reviled in the Western aviation press.


It would have been very interesting to see what the USSR would have produced if they had not insisted upon better field performance than the MiG-21.  A MiG-21 upsized to use the MiG-23 engine with a solid nose and MiG-23 style intakes would have been really cool.


Some interesting facts:


The cannon's muzzle velocity was only 670m/s.

The nose probe was used to generate vortices to improve AoA performance in some models.

The later models could set the wing sweep at any angle at least according to some sources.

The R-23 missile design was chosen over cloning a Sparrow captured in Vietnam.

The R-60 missile is the smallest air-to-air missile aside from some planes mounting Stingers.











Link to comment
Share on other sites

It makes no sense to compare MiG-23 with MiG-25. Those are planes of different category used for different tasks. MiG-23 replaced MiG-21 and it was much better than MiG-21 in everything with the exception of the initial MiG-23S batch with RP-22 radar and armamament from MiG-21 (and the cost) and the Arabic "monkey" export model MiG-23MS which had the RP-21 radar and armament from MiG-21. Also the other comparisons are strange... 


GSh-23L has muzzle velocity 715 m/s and it's much more interesting feature is its operating principle since it is one of the only two operationally used Gast-principle guns (where recoil of one barrel operates the other and gives the gun rather extreme rate of fire with a low gun weight). AFAIK only Soviet GSh-23L and GSh-30-2 work on this principle of all serially produced guns ever (although the idea comes back to WW1 Germany). When you write about cannon the MiG-27K (used by USSR and India only) with 6-barrel 30 mm is the most interesting variant IMHO because while its GSh-6-30 gun has somewhat lesser muzzle energy than GAU-8/a it weights half, has higher rate of fire and since it is gas-operated it is more efficient in short bursts. On the other hand the MiG-27 clearly wasn't the right airframe for the gun...  

R-35-300 diagrams





We had MiG-23 too (MF, ML, BN) and they were good although rather difficult to fly and maintain. They were also quite prone to bird strikes compared to other planes we had. We had a lot of accidents with them in early 90' but those were caused mainly by general lack of discipline and spares in the rather chaotic times after the fall of the iron courtain. 


Some points about ML from our ex-pilots

- they mostly liked it

- they said it was very difficult to fly straight and to land if automatic flight support systems failed but manageable

- automatic landing approach up to several meters upon the runway

- they trained to use in-flight parashute release to shorten the already short landing run

- two seater had shifted center of gravity and the old, weak and problematic R-27 engine and was a bitch to fly in dogfight (most of our two-seaters were destroyed in dogfight training)

- the radar was well liked, it had also look-down/shoot down capability 

- if I unerstood right they usually trained to attack the NATO planes from bellow and from the side using ground control for ideal approach (take it with a lot of salt from my side)


Fun fact one. They trained to approach SR-71 flying routinely like a clock at some 15 km from Czechoslovak border. The Blackbird was tracked by common DDR-Czechoslovak air control and MiG-23 started from České Budějovice, climbed to 10000 meters, accelerated to M1,8 and climbed on a parabolic curve to have the approaching Blackbird close to 12 o'lock at some 5-6000 meters higher with the approach speed of around M4,8. At this point there was a a few seconds window where it was possible to lock the radar and fire R-23, it was always only an excercise and there was never any intention to actually shoot it down but allegedly at least once the Blackbird was shortly locked by a trigger-happy pilot. The probabiliy of successful interception like that was very low and it was all about perfect timing from the ground control (allegedly the probability of successful interception was around 30% when trained with Soviet MiG-25, i.e. lower with SR-71). They say they used both automatic guidance via LASUR datalink and human ground controler command. In this scenario the armament was one R-23R and one R-23T. 


Fun fact two, the first Czechoslovak pilot to fly solo MiG-23 (BN ground attack variant in 1977) was pplk. Šrámek (lieutenant colonel), a pilot who in 1953 piloting a MiG-15 shot down US F-84E of Korean-veteran G. A. Brown in a two-on-two encounter which started near Pilsen, Czechoslovakia but ended over Western Germany. 




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...