MiG-27 FLOGGER / Q-6
The MiG-27 Flogger D/J production was completed in the mid 1980s. They were flown by the former soviet tactical air force and naval aviation. The air force of the ex-Warsaw Pact nations and Russia kept a high porportion of MiG-23s/27s. It can carry a tactical nuclear weapon. At the present time it is the main fighter-bomber of the Indian Air Force. Due to the severe economic situation in 1993 in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, almost all MiG-27 and its modifications were decommissioned, transferred to the database storage and virtually all disposed of. In continuous production for nearly 20 years, there are numerous sub-variants with different engines and equipment. The MiG-27 'Flogger-J' has an armoured cockpit and can carry gun or rocket pods, bombs, or guided missiles. Export versions of the MiG-23 and MiG-27, fitted with inferior electronic equipment, have been supplied to numerous Russian allies. The MiG-27 Flogger M, named Bahadur (Valiant) was built in India.
In late 1960s, the A.I. Mikoyan Design Bureau studied several projects of the special aircraft designed for hitting the fixed ground targets and daytime strike missions using guns and rockets under fire countermeasures conditions. The aircraft should be capable of a manoeuvre air combat.
In 1969, the MiG-23-based strike aircraft was chosen, dubbed the MiG-23B, made its maiden flight on August 20, 1970 (test pilot P.M. Ostapenko). The aircraft was similar to the MiG-23S fighter, but the nose structure was different: there were no on-borne radar to ensure better pilot view and on the very "nose tip" there was optical window for a "FON" laser rangefinder. The aircraft was powered by the A.M. Lulka Design Bureau AL-21F-300 engine (1x8000/11200 kgf). The increased takeoff weight compared with the MiG-23S and the operation of the aircraft from the unprepared runways made the designers to increase the wheel size and use the lower-pressure tyres.
The bomb armament was suspended on the mast multi-lock racks (for the first time in the USSR-made production aircraft) and on the underwing and underfuselage stations.
In 1973, the MiG-27BM fighter-bomber was developed with more advanced avionics and armament (in particular, the Kh-23 air-to-surface radio-guided missiles). The decision was made to serially produce these aircraft at the Irkutsk Aircraft Factory. The MiG-23BM designed for low-altitude missions enabled not to use the sophisticated regulated air intakes. The GSh-6-300 anti-tank 6-barrel gun was added to the armament and increased the aircraft capabilities against the ground targets.
The first MiG-23BM manufactured in Irkutsk made the first flight piloted by test pilot V.E. Menitsky. Later on, this aircraft was designated MiG-27 and was in production at the Irkutsk Aircraft Factory till 1977.
In 1974, the flight tests of the MiG-23BK strike fighter equipped with the "KAIRA" TV/laser sighting system started. In 1975, the MiG-27K fighter-bomber was developed and its production started in Irkutsk in 1977. The MiG-27K had the most advanced on-board avionics including the "KAIRA" TV/laser sighting system and the "Orbita-20-23K" on-board computer. The air-borne armament increased. The MiG-27K became one of the first to be armed with the Kh-29 TV-guided missile and laser (Kh-29L, Kh-25ML) sighting systems, and the KAB-500L and KAB-500KP guided bombs. To fight against the enemy's radar the pod with the PRL "Viuga" control system and the Kh-27PS passive homing missiles (later on, Kh-25MP), the short-range R-60s were externally mounted, as well as S-24 and S-24B (240 mm), UB-32A or UB-16s, the B-8M1 units with S-8 (80mm), up to twenty two 50 kg or 100 kg bombs, up to nine 250 kg or eight 500 kg bombs. The aircraft could carry the RBK-250 cluster bombs, hard structure munition with jet boosters, armour-piercing bombs and the napalm tanks. The MiG-27K was in series-production till 1982.
The simple and cheaper MiG-27M that was in production in Irkutsk from 1978 through 1983 the "Klyon" laser rangefinder/target-designator was mounted. The guided armament was similar to that of the MiG-27K. The MiG-27M was developed and combat capabilities of the earlier MiG-27s were upgraded to the MiG-27D aircraft. The re-equipment started in 1982 at the Ulan-Ude and the Irkutsk Aircraft Factories and was completed in 1985. The Irkutsk factory modernised about 500 MiG-27s - almost all the aircraft of this type that were in service and 243 MiG-27Ds - in Irkutsk.
In Irkutsk, the MiG-27s production run was completed by 1986. In addition to the aircraft number mentioned, 360 MiG-27s and MiG-27Ms, as well as 214 MiG-27BKs and MiG-27Ks were produced.
The MiG-27 was efficiently operated in the final combat missions in Afghanistan. By now, they are phased out but are still in the reserve of the Russian AF and are still in service with Air Forces in some CIS countries. The experience in the MiG-27 operation revealed the problem of the avionics efficient use. Due to the sophisticated on-board avionics the pilots' workload was extreme even for high skilled pilots. The IAIA's test-pilots considered that in terms of power, equipment capabilities and the armament, the MiG-27K had the potential comparable with that of the Su-24. The appropriate radar sight and the second pilot or a navigator-operator was required to enable the efficient use of the aircraft capabilities.
In China, the Nanchang Aircraft Company reportedly made an attempt to design a Mig-27 clone. Reportedly called the Q-6, the project does not appear to have proceeded, and there are no details available in the open sources.
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