MiG-23 FLOGGER - Variants
The MiG-23 family has many modifications. The MiG-23BN and MiG-27 were fighter-bomber variations. The Flogger B is a standard interceptor. Other versions of this aircraft are: C--two seater; G--improved interceptor; and E--export. The MiG-23MLD FLOGGER K version was a modification of the MiG-23ML FLOGGER G and incorporated improved avionics, armament, and aerodynamic features. The MiG-23MLD is the most advanced version of the Flogger. It features a different identification-friend-or-foe system, a more advanced missile capability and a distinctive notch in the leading edge of the wing to improve flight characteristics.
- In 1969, the OKB developed a design for a light strike aircraft based on the MIG-23S fighter aircraft. It received the designation MIG-23B. The MIG-23 is not simply a fighter for intercept and destruction of air targets. It can carry up to two tons of bombs, unguided air-to-surface rockets and guided missiles with radar guidance against ground-based targets along a jam-resistant radio line. It has a fuselage nose section with an improved view of the space "ahead and below". It is tasked to conduct strikes against fixed targets in the enemy rear during the day and for ground attack operations using cannons, unguided air-to-surface rockets and bombs. The MIG-23B is equipped with the Sokol-23S sighting-navigation system and with the Fon laser range-finderand is capable of "remembering" the coordinates of three route turning points and four airfields for landing. The MIG-23B aircraft was the progenitor for the creation of the MIG-27 fighter-bomber family.
- The MIG-23UB - the combat training version of the aircraft that was developed at the OKB - facilitates successful mastery of the fighter at military schools and at line units. The MiG-23UB armament included the R-3S IR homing air-to-air missile and the Kh-23 missile to hit the surface targets. The Delta NG station was used for the Kh-23 missile guidance.
The MiG-23UB is a two-seat combat trainer version of the MiG-23 third generation interceptor-fighter. It was fitted with a variable sweep wing and this feature helped solve the problems of the multi-role combat aircraft capable of performing front-line fighter, interceptor-fighter and low altitude fighter-bomber missions. The decision on the development of the combat trainer was taken two years after the first MiG-23 prototype was manufactured at the end of 1967. The MiG-27UB is a day and night all-weather combat trainer that can carry various armaments, including the GSh-23L gun, rockets, bombs, the R-3S air-to-air and Kh-23 air-to-surface missiles.
The development of the two-seater, dubbed "23-51", was made in March 1969, and in May, it made the first flight (Design Bureau's test pilot M.M. Komarov). The MiG-23UB state tests were completed in 1970 and the aircraft entered the service, so the IAIA launched the production run. The first MiG-23UB was produced on the basis of the MiG-23C one-seater. The changes were made in the nose fuselage up to frame No.18. The fuel tank No.1 was decreased to place co-pilot seat and the 470- litre fuel tank was located in the tail fuselage. The first production aircraft was tested by Moscow test pilot A.V. Fedotov together with the factory test pilot E.N. Tcheltsov. Later on, the aircraft were tested by V.S. Prantskyavitchus, N.N. Ivanov, G.E. Bulanov, G.M. Kurkai , E.M. Shastun, V.B. Maksimenkov, V.F. Novikov, O.G. Smirnov, A.F. Sidorenko, A,I. Kapustin, N.I. Petukhov and others.
The production two-seaters were fitted with extended chord, leading edge extensions and capable of loading with drop tanks. The MiG-23UB nose fuselage lines were made like those of the MiG-23M. >The aircraft was powered by R-27F2M-300 engine (1x 6900/10000 kgf) and the earlier two-seaters were equipped with the RP-21 radar sight similar to that of the MiG-23S, but the radar was not reliable and was replaced by a mass balance. The aircraft, engine and other systems control was performed from both cockpits, but the second one had the priority where, normally, the instructor's seat was located. The periscope was placed on the second cockpit to ensure the view while taxiing, taking off, approaching and landing. The KM-1 ejection seats with centralised ejection sequence control system. The two-seater was designed for training, but the MiG-23UBs and MiG-23UMs had to perform combat missions as a sort of command post in Afghanistan. The MiG-23UB production run lasted till 1978. Totally, 769 aircraft of this type were manufactured in Irkutsk. The MiG-23UBs were delivered to many countries.
- The MiG-23UE combat trainer were in service with the AF and Air Defence of the USSR, Algeria, Angola, Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Libya, Northern Korea, Syria, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Hungary, East Germany, Iraq, the Congo, Cuba, Laos, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Somali, Sudan, Czechoslovakia and South Yemen.
- In 1984, the MiG-23UM two-seater was developed, that corresponded the MiG-23ML and MiG-23P fighters, in terms of structure. The earlier MiG-23UB were upgraded to the MiG-23UM.The aircraft were fitted with the SOUA active stall barrier system and the UUA-1 angle of attack indicator.
- The MIG-23MLD was the most widespread model in the Russian Armed Forces. It has heightened maneuverability and handling at high angles of attack. The MIG-23MLD has a second "klyk" [dogtooth] that has been made near the wing root and a vortex generator in the shape of a small plate with sharp edges has been installed on the PVD [pitot tube]. The onboard computer inclines the wing leading edge sub-assembly, placing it in theoptimal position depending on the fiight mode. The MIG-23MLD is equipped with an improved radar with an increased operating radius and a dog fight mode, and an automated device prevents an engine surge during missile launch or when firing from the cannon. A jam-resistant transmission line is used in the fighter aircraft automated ground control system.
RAC "MiG" offers the most rational approach to MiG-23 upgrade. The project ensures the optimal upgrading method and several basic upgrade versions that could be chosen by customers themselves. These versions were tried out during upgrading other MiG aircraft types. They consist in: integration of new avionics and weapons (including those of Western make), and continuous upgrade with a stage-by-stage growth of capabilities. It should be noted that this approach is common for all versions of the MIG-23 family.
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