MiG-23: a THIRD-GENERATION FIGHTERIn July 1967 a new Moscow Domodedovo airport held a Grand air show dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of the Oct. He is Pro-plagued an unforgettable impression on thousands of spectators: the parade was attended by the aircraft for various purposes, the existence of many of them in the West only became known after their show in Domodedovo.

Among these cars was a prototype supersonic tactical fighter with variable geometry wings. It was piloted by chief pilot of Mikoyan company
A. B. Fedotov. Red-winged aircraft carried out aerobatics and simple passes to the wing in the position of the maximum and minimum sweep.
At that time only the U.S. air force conducted tests of tactical fighter F-111 with variable geometry wings, undertaking its first flight at the end of 1964, Soviet aircraft aroused the interest of specialists who are familiar with this promising direction.
Work on the formation of multi-purpose tactical fighter OKB Mikoyan began shortly after adopting a MiG-21. A promising fighter, created to intercept air targets with missiles “air — air” medium and short range at all altitudes. The air battle was supposed to conduct with an overload up to five times. In addition to performing the main task, the plane was supposed to hit ground targets. The operation was to be conducted from airfields of limited size.
Preliminary design of the first embodiment, received in the Bureau designation of the object 23-01, or MiG-23ПД, developed in 1964 , under the leadership of A. A. Andreev. Leading designer of the machine was B. A. Mikoyan, brother of the famous test pilot S. A. Mikoyan and nephew of General designer. The aircraft was further development of the MiG-21. For use missiles “air — air” medium-range missiles in the forward fuselage mounted on-Board radar (radar) antenna of large diameter, providing the necessary range of detection of air targets. Two adjustable semi-circular air intake mounted on the sides of the fuselage behind the cockpit. The wing of the plane and the chassis of the repeated basic solutions, used on the MiG-21. To reduce takeoff distance the car equipped with combined power plant, consisting of a main and two lift TRD. The lifting jet engines RD-36-35 thrust of 2.35 cu, developed in OKB of P. O. Kolesova, put together near the center of gravity of the fighter at a slight angle to the vertical. Air supply for RD-36-35 was carried out through the air intake formed by a movable cover with shutoff louvers and side walls. To improve the efficiency of the nozzle hoisting engines equipped with a rotary grating for deflection of the jet in the plane of symmetry of the aircraft. The direction of the thrust vector of RD-36-35, consistent with the trajectory of the climb, and the summation of the thrust of the three engines have significantly reduced takeoff distance. The deviation of the thrust vector of the forward lift engines, creating additional braking force to reduce mileage. The combined power-plant has reduced takeoff to 300 m. the Main turbojet engine, P27-300 with a maximum thrust and afterburner TC of 5.2 and 7.8 of TS developed by the construction Bureau of factory “Red October” under the leadership of chief designer K. R. Khachaturov, provided the aircraft’s maximum speed at high altitude, 2.3 times the speed of sound. The engine was based on serial two-shaft turbojet P-11Ф2С-300.
The armament of the aircraft consisted of two missiles “air — air” medium-range R-23 and the double-barreled 23 mm guns GSH-23, officially adopted in 1965 (it was developed in OKB-575 constructors
V. P. Gryazev and A. G. Shipunov).
R-23P radar and R-23K with thermal homing heads is designed OKB-134 under the leadership of chief designer A. L. Lyapina. The new missile was designed, applying their frontline fighter: after the pilot detected the target missile in minimum time translated from the original in working condition.
Russian missiles used by fighter-interceptors at the time, was in working condition after takeoff: the interceptor onto the target, detected ground-based radar. Flying with missiles, which are permanently enabled on-Board equipment, it is impractical due to the expenditure of a limited resource.
For developing a combined power plant and evaluating its benefits, the OKB was created on the basis of the serial MiG-21 PFM experimental aircraft object 23-31, or the MiG-21ПД improvement of the fuselage between the frames 13 and 28. At the same time increased its length and midsection. In the modified fuselage placed two lifting engine RD-36-35 with swivel bars on the nozzles.
16 June 1966, the aircraft first took to the air test pilot P. M. Ostapenko. In August to test joined test pilot, Boris Orlov, who performed part of the program of factory tests. Modified aircraft with reduced fuel system and fixed landing gear could fly for 15 — 17 minutes, while lifting to a height of fifteen kilometers.
Piloting this machine was not a simple matter. Jet lift engines, spreading out to the sides, creating podsushiwauschee effect which had a negative impact on the stability and controllability of the aircraft; he disappeared shortly after departing from the runway. When planting the same with RD-36-35 “leak” led in addition to rebalancing the energetic loss of the aircraft prior to touch and to sharp braking. Therefore, in some cases, to counteract this the main engine just before landing was translated into afterburner mode. During the tests, the significant advantages of a combined power plant has not identified, and weaknesses are revealed very clearly. Similar challenges are faced and OKB P. O. Sukhoi on the su-15ВД, and the Yakovlev design Bureau on the Yak-36.
Despite identified shortcomings, the construction of the prototype 23-01, started in 1965 , continued. Even before the first flight of the prototype 23-31, in late 1965 was an order of Minaviaprom for crossing works and the construction of the second prototype of the MiG-23 with a single engine R-27F-300 and the variable wing geometry. Available by this time, technological advance has allowed in March, 1966, to prepare a preliminary design of the fighter, which received the factory designation 23-11.
In the spring of 1967 by the construction of the 23-01 prototype was completed, and on 3 April, test pilot P. M. Ostapenko performed on its first flight under the program of factory tests. These trials were led by leading engineer V. M. Timofeev. The car made several dozen flights, including two of them — A. V. Fedotov. The disadvantages of this machine was the same as the MiG-21 PD.
In may 1967 he completed Assembly of the second prototype of the MiG-23 and 26 may he was transferred to LII, where he began preparations for the first flight. After checking systems and weighing 10 Jun A. B. Fedotov flew on a plane with a wing, who was in the position of minimum sweep. During the second flight, held two days later, he tested the behavior of the machine at different positions of the wing: the balancing of the fighter was changed much less than expected. The aircraft was controlled throughout the range of wing positions, which allowed for the third flight to exceed 20% of the speed of sound. The behavior of the machine did not cause serious remarks, and in preparation for the air parade in Domodedovo. Until July 9 on the prototype 23-11 Alexander Fedotov has completed 12 flights. Flying in the air parade was thirteen, but he was successful. This parade was attended by both the prototype and experimental aircraft 23-31. The 23-01 prototype was flown by P. M. Ostapenko, and the experimental machine — test pilot OKB of M. M. Komarov.
Tests of the first instance 23-11 continued on the program of defining the characteristics of the intake and permissible flight modes at different position of the wing. After the implementation of the 45 flights of the prototype TRD R-27F-30 has developed a designated 25-hour resource, and the plane was sent back for revision. The car replaced the engine and installed a three-channel autopilot AP-155. In early April 1968 23-11 surpassed in NII VVS, where testing continued. At this stage were to assess the stability of the power plant of the fighter at start-up missiles R-3S and R-23.
Shortly before this, during the tests of the missile R-23 the Deputy chief of the air force Institute S. A. Mikoyan for the MiG-21 at high altitude after the first missile launch stalled engine aircraft. The pilot continued the job and launched a second missile, after which the decrease of the height of 9 km, started the engine and successfully completed the flight.
Front-line fighter MiG-23ML
Front-line fighter MiG-23ML
A front-line fighter MiG-23ML:
1 — 600-litre ventral external fuel tank; 2 — the rocket “air — air” close-combat R-60; 3 — rod LDPE; 4 — radiotransparent Radome radar “Sapfir-23ML”; 5 — emergency PVD; 6 — movable part of the lamp; 7 — radio-bar automatic radio compass, ark-19; 8 — blinds plum boundary layer; 9— manhole cover outside compartment of radio equipment; 10 — radio “Fang”; 11 — say no to the toe console; 12 — corners of the turbulators; 13 —static electricity discharger; 14 —three-section flap; 15 — differential all-moving stabilizer; 16 — antenna APS “Pion-N”; 17 — fold adjustable nozzle turbojet P35-300; 18 — pressure plate; 19 — hinge console turn; 20 — radio-panel antenna system of national recognition ; 21 — the box sensor angle of attack; 22 — sight ASP-17МЛ; 23 — launcher APU-60-1M; 24 — rocket “air — air” medium-range R-23K; 25 — rocket “air — air” medium-range R-23P; 26 — antenna IFF systems; 27 — the lever of opening of the lantern; 28 — periscope TS-27AMSH; 29— antenna of the automatic radio compass, ark-19; 30 — radiotransparent Radome antenna MCI-56; 31 — fold intake air turbine starter; 32 — fold exhaust ports of the turbine starter; 33 —technological cover of the motor compartment; a 34 — fold niches main landing gear; 35 — brake wheel CT 150Д (840×290 mm); 36 — strut suspension; 37 — hydraulic cylinder cleaning the main bearing; 38 — the Central ventral pylon; 39—ventral beam holder BDZ-60-23Ф1; 40—aerogun GSH-23L; 41—fold niche of the front landing gear; 42 — wheel KT-152 (520×125 mm); 43 — strut suspension; 44 — the instrument is designed TP-23M; 45 — cooling air intake compartment onboard radar; 46 — 800-litre underwing external fuel tank; 47 antenna system radiocapacity the Respondent; 48 — landing light GRP-4-C; 49 — valve air vent of the motor edema; 50 — antenna radio altimeter “Anchor-M”; 51 — cover fitting joining the front and tail parts of the fuselage; 52 — starting device APU-23; 53 — landing light DENR-1A, 54— antenna APS “Pion-N”; 55 — the upper speed brake; 56 — flap niches main landing gear; 57, the lower brake plate; 58 — the wedge drain; 59 — check sensor slip angle; 60 — fold drag parachute container; 61 —rudder; 62 — the tail-Board air navigation light; 63 — Radome system warning receiver SPO-10 “Sirena ZM”; 64 — radio-the ending of the keel — fairing antenna of the radio station R-862; 65 — antenna system WITH-69; 66, the air intake cooling engine compartment; 67 — perforation of the front sash of the inlet; 68 — technological hatch compartment onboard radar; 69 — drainage tube; 70 — fold ventral ridge

From 8 to 24 April 1968 test pilot P. M. Ostapenko and M. M. Komarov completed 16 launches of missiles R-23 prototype 23-11 in the altitude range 5 — 17 km and speeds of 0.7 — 1.8 M. Fully factory phase of flight tests of the aircraft 23-11 ended in mid-summer 1968, this took place on about a hundred flights. Most of them spent the P. M. Ostapenko. Act on the results of the first phase of testing General designer A. I. Mikoyan approved on November 6, 1968
Soon, the test had the second and third instances of 23-11. On the third machine I installed a prototype of the radar “Sapphire-23”, developed under the leadership of G. M. she complained. During the Hil simulation of this radar in the State research Institute of automatic systems (GosNII as) revealed that the station provides steady detection of air targets on the background of the earth only in a small sector.
Lapping the aircraft as a result of testing took several years. On the prototype MiG-23 flew test pilots OKB of P. M. Ostapenko, M. M. Komarov, B. A. Orlov, A. Fastovets and test pilots LII and NII VVS. A leading test pilot from the air force Institute appointed G. F. Butenko, the first military pilots taking off on a new machine still in factory tests. Second at the air force Institute mastered the MiG-23 by S. A. Mikoyan. Soon G. F. Butenko received a new assignment, and the state tests of the MiG-23, which began in 1969, conducted a test pilot B. A. Bersenev, A. B. Kuznetsov, S. S. Medvedev, and V. Zhukov, N. In.Kazaryan, Yu.N.Maslov, V. V. Solov’ev, S. A. Toptygin, V. V. Migunov, E. S. Kovalenko, G. G. Skibin, Y. V. Arsenev. On test pilots, having mastered the first and easiest variant of the MiG-23 (weight of the empty aircraft slightly exceeded 9 t), were impressed by the visibility from the cockpit, the volatility of the machine and the speed of separation at takeoff (about 220 km/h) after a short run. At the same time, the controllability of the aircraft wanted to keep the best. The flight to the car when every time deflecting the control stick of the aircraft, it was necessary to consider the position of the wings, did not cause enthusiasm among the pilots, not lacking in adrenaline.
During the tests revealed another flaw of the system of control of the aircraft. The effort required to reject an all-moving stabilizer modern fighter, great, so his movement is booster is a special hydraulic cylinder to the spool. The pilot by deflecting the control stick of the airplane, moves the valve regulating the admission and discharge of hydraulic oil in the working cavity of the cylinder. To create forces on the pen control circuit includes a loading mechanism. When ultimate the stick, these efforts reach a maximum at the same time on different altitudes and speeds the stabilizer is deflected at different angles. The MiG-23 in the loading mechanism mounted two-stage spring, with a substantial difference of gradient of increase of effort with small and large deviations of the handle from the neutral position. When the knob a certain position it will move per unit overload (value that is equal to 3-5 mm) decreases, a gradual increase followed by an abrupt increase in overload that could lead to the destruction of the aircraft. To prevent casting the congestion control system introduced the damper and manual pilot introduced a requirement that prohibits flying and sharp maneuvering off the automatic control system.
Because of the increased takeoff weight on the fifth prototype of the MiG-23S a more powerful modification of the engine R-27Ф2-300, with maximum thrust and afterburner 6,9 cu -10 cu. The fighter arrived in the LII in late may 1969 after a week it flew the chief pilot A. B. Fedotov, and July 10, moved the aircraft at NII VVS, where until the end of August was performed by three dozen flight test weapons systems, including mounted gun GSH-23. Automatic control system SAU-23 was tested only in stabilization mode.
While tests were conducted prototypes of the MiG-23 went into serial production of the Moscow plant “Banner of labor”. In 1969 -1970, the plant built 50 serial MiG-23S.
During state testing, a third prototype 32-11 test pilots were convinced of the correctness of the results of the Hil simulation in the research Institute and the AU. Work on the creation of the MiG-23 was controlled at the highest level: every Saturday in the office of the Minister of aviation industry gathered operational team of leading experts involved in the creation of the MiG-23, and summarized weekly. Specialists of the NII VVS controlled the air force commander PS Kutakhov; at the joint meetings discussed ways of solution of problems faced. The failure of the development of “Sapfir-23” led organizational insights, which resulted in the further development of radar was headed by chief designer Yuri P. Kirpichev, who brought radar to the level that satisfied the customer. As discovered during the tests for the deficiencies in the radar “Sapphire-23” promptly remedy was impossible, the first serial MiG-23S arrived in combat units, equipped with radar sight RP-22, used on the MiG-21 p RP-22 allows you to apply only short-range missiles R-3S and R-3R. For air-combat manoeuvring, the aircraft was equipped with a rifle sight ASP-PFD indication on the windshield, which displays information about air targets with RP-22.
The next production version was the MiG-23M, the first large-scale version of the “twenty-third”, who succeeded in the production of the MiG-23S. Because of the unavailability of the radar “Sapphire-23” the first flight of a modified jet fighter took place in the summer of 1972 On a modified fighter installed the engine R-29-300 with a maximum takeoff thrust of 8.3 TS and afterburner is 12.5 cu. For increasing angles of attack start shaking, identified during the testing of experimental aircraft at an angle of sweep of 45° and the angle of attack of 26°, modified wing, setting a new console with a larger chord. So there was a wing of the second edition with a characteristic “fangs” on the front edge of the console, but without sectional slats, which led to the emergence of a more insidious defect: takeoff and landing on a plane with this wing became dangerous due to the reduction of the margin angle of attack before stalling at the moment of landing to 1 — 2°. Since the work was under the constant control of the Minister of aviation industry P. V. Dementev ordered in parallel with the tests of the aircraft with “fanged” wing to make 80 sets of this wing, to not idle serial plant. The test results puzzled Minaviaprom. After a heated debate between industry and the military, do not agree with the permit for operation of aircraft with such a wing has come to a compromise decision on the gradual replacement of his wing, third edition with a deflected toe and performing a take-off on the unchanged aircraft in afterburner, and landing at a higher speed.
In this modification appeared under the tactical and technical requirements on the aircraft radar “Sapphire-23Д-W”, the instrument is designed TP-23 and sight ASP-23Д. On the machine I installed advanced SAU-23A of the second series. Full review-sighting system has significantly expanded armament. To increase range in the rear fuselage equipped with the fourth fuel tank, the aircraft could also be fitted with three suspension tank: 600 liter underfuselage and two underwing 800 liters. This modification of the aircraft has become the largest in the family of the MiG-23. Its operation revealed the shortcomings that led to the emergence in 1976 of more advanced MiG-23ML.
The engine R-29-300 was replaced by a more economical R-35-300 with a maximum thrust of 8.55 afterburner and TS — 13 TS that made it possible to abandon the fourth fuel tank. The mass of the modified fighter was reduced to 1250 kg. the Plane completed communicated radar “Sapfir-23ML” with a range of detection of air targets such as “tactical fighter” up to 80 km and capture 50 km respectively; upgraded instrument is designed TP-23SH1, gunsight ASP-17ДЦМ and upgraded ACS-22АМ. The number of missiles “air — air” due to the two-position launchers APU-60-2M was increased to six. The armament of the aircraft with new missiles “air — air” R-60 allowed to attack the enemy when maneuvering media overload up to 7 units. Virtually eliminated the for-keel. The shortened nose landing gear installed wheels of larger diameter. The plane was equipped with a system for restricting angles of attack, automatically press the control knob machine forward if the pilot exceeded the limit for the angle of attack, it greatly increased the safety.
After the termination in 1981 serial production of the MiG-23ML Soviet air force, he continued to produce in the export version of the MiG-23МЛА. Previously released fighters underwent revision repair works of the air force and received the designation MiG-23MLD. The revision took into account the emergence in the early 1980-ies in the air force a potential enemy fighters fourth generation. Significantly changed views on the combat use of aviation. Studies conducted by national experts, identified a set of measures to improve characteristics of the MiG-23ML to the level of the fourth generation aircraft. The aircraft was fitted with radar “Amethyst” digital signal processing, devoid of the shortcomings inherent in “sapphire”. The use of new missiles “air — air” melee P-73 required the replacement of weapons control system. For aggressive maneuvers with modern fighters have made changes to the airframe: established generators of vortexes at the base LDPE (two triangular plates) and the root of the wing (instead of the old fairing — new A-shaped “Fang”), which allowed to improve the flow of aircraft at high angles of attack and resistance from stalling. Every tenth finalizing the car was manned by units of the emission of noise, installed in the rear fuselage and pylon suspension ventral fuel tank. The system limits the angle of attack replaced by a limit system of SOS-3-4, which is automatically prevented exit the aircraft at large angles of attack and stall
Once again replaced the ACS. Has established new system near navigation and the prevention of irradiation, the mechanism of turn of the front wheel. Improved the system of state identification.
After this updating, the MiG-23MLD became easier to manage, and drill the pilots appreciated the aircraft, formed the basis of fighter aircraft of the Soviet Union and its allies in the eighties of the last century: he had a decent resistance to a more modern opponents.
In 1982, the Soviet Union has supplied Syria with 36 MiG-23ML and 14 MiG-23MLD. In October 1983 Syrian fighters joined the battle and in a short time shot down three Israeli F-15s and one F-4 Phantom, without any loss on their part. This result clearly confirmed that long-term work to improve the MiG-23 has lived up to expectations. It was built 4278 MiG-23 of various modifications, of which 1090 were shipped abroad.
Resource the latest versions of the MiG-23 allowed them to meet in the ranks of the third Millennium, but life decided otherwise. After the collapse of the USSR the reduction of the army is reflected in the fate of regiments, armed single-engine machines: part disbanded, in the best case, to rearm, and the equipment handed over on the base shelf. The last regiment that have deposited their MiG-23П were 472 IAP PVO (Kursk), disbanded in may 1998.
The main performance data of the MiG-23ML
Wing span,m:
when the angle of sweep of the wing 18°40’………………………………………………………..14
when the angle of sweep of the wing 74°40’………………………………………………………..7,78
The length of the plane with LDPE, m…………………………………………………………………………..16,7
The height of the parked aircraft with neonatal axle chassis, m………………..5
Track chassis, m………………………………………………………………………………………….2,668
The base chassis, m……………………………………………………………………………………………5,772
Takeoff weight of the aircraft with two R-23 and normal
the fuel, t……………………………………………………………………………….14,7
The mass of the fuel t……………………………………………………………………………………….3,7
Maximum flight speed at high altitude, km/h:
when the angle of sweep of the wing 18°40’……………………………………………………….940
when the angle of sweep of the wing 74°40’……………………………………………………….2500
Service ceiling, km………………………………………………………………………….18,5
Maximum flight range at the altitude of 12 km and a velocity of 0.75 M km:
without PTB……………………………………………………………………………………………………1950
with three PTB-800 l………………………………………………………………………………..2820
The length of the run mode
full the fast and the furious, m…………………………………………………………………………………..450
The length of the path with a brake parachute, m…………………………………………………650


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