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    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft

    Mir
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    Post  Mir Sun Mar 24, 2024 12:43 pm

    @The-thing-next-door

    Late variants of the Mig-23 like the ML and the MLD were quite capable and it's "look-down-shoot-down" radars made it possible to intercept low flying air targets - including cruise missiles.

    The air-to-air missiles developed for the Mig-23 was equal to the Sidewinder- and the Sparrow missiles. In fact the R-23 also offered a long range IR version - and when used in conjunction with the Mig's IRST gave the fighter a distinct advantage in aerial combat.

    The small R-60's was very short ranged but was super agile compared to other missiles of it's time.

    The Mig-25PD with it's large R-40 missiles would have been a real threat to the US strategic bombers and cruise missiles (not to mention the Mig-31). The missile also had an IR variant. Early variants of the Mig-31 also used the R-40 together with the R-33. Both types used the R-60.

    During the Vietnam conflict the Soviets reversed engineered the Sidewinder into the K-13 and was probably equal in performance. The US found from captured samples that the some parts of the K-13 was interchangeable with the Sidewinder and tests revealed that the Sidewinder with USSR parts functioned perfectly!

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    lancelot
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    Post  lancelot Sun Mar 24, 2024 2:04 pm

    The-thing-next-door wrote:Where there any redeeming qualities of Soviet fighters prior to the Mig-29 and SU-27? They seem to me to have been underarmed and somehow equipped with poor missiles despite the Soviet's significant advantage in the development of every other type of missile than air to air.
    The MiG-15 was up to par to any aircraft the US had. When it entered use in the Korean War the US had to quickly move the F-86, their latest fighter, there. The straight wing jets like the P-80 were totally helpless against the MiG-15.

    The MiG-17 was still competitive enough in Vietnam despite being many decades old at that point. And the MiG-21 was enough of a threat in Vietnam, despite being quite an old design as well by then, that the US basically copied the concept to come up with the F-16. Which was originally to be a cheap single engine numbers fighter with only IR guided missiles and no radar.

    The MiG-23 has a worse reputation thanks in part to losses by the Syrians against Israel. The airframe itself was kind of clunky, but I think the worst thing was it only got proper radar guided missiles in the early 1970s. But then again if you look at the performance of such missiles in Vietnam in the 1960s, the US only had like an 8% hit chance, because you had to keep radar lock and the missiles had crap kinematic performance.
    Initial users of the MiG-23 had lots of expectations but it clearly wasn't up to scratch. Because of the lack of viable radar guided missiles initially it was considered to be a waste of money and no upgrade over the MiG-21 by its users.

    The MiG-25 was awesome when it came out. Still managed to shoot down US aircraft in 1991 Gulf War.

    MiG-29 and Su-27 were also better than the US aircraft they were supposed to counter at their time of introduction.

    The Soviets reverse engineered the Sidewinder much earlier than that. They got a whole missile in 1958 from the Chinese. They were producing the K-13 in 1961.

    I have seen some people claim that the fact the F-4 Phantom was operating with radar guided missiles over the MiG-21 with only IR guided missiles in Vietnam meant that the US had some sort of advantage. Which is a lie. The Soviets had the Su-15 with K-8 radar guided missile. It is just that it was kept for defense of the Soviet Union and not exported.

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    Mir
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    Post  Mir Sun Mar 24, 2024 2:39 pm

    lancelot wrote:
    The Soviets reverse engineered the Sidewinder much earlier than that. They got a whole missile in 1958 from the Chinese. They were producing the K-13 in 1961.

    Yes quite right I had my wires crossed there for a minute thumbsup

    lancelot wrote:Initial users of the MiG-23 had lots of expectations but it clearly wasn't up to scratch. Because of the lack of viable radar guided missiles initially it was considered to be a waste of money and no upgrade over the MiG-21 by its users.

    "Initial users" got the early export variant of the Mig-23 - the Mig-23MS. It had the same basic radar as older Mig-21 variants and fitted with a crappy engine. Performance wise it was far worse than the much lighter Mig-21. It was poorly armed with only four R-3S and R-3R air-to-air missiles. Nobody wanted it.

    The Mig-23MF was initially exported to Warsaw Pact countries - offering some improvements to the above, but both were vastly inferior to subsequent Mig-23 variants like the ML and especially he MLD.

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    Eugenio Argentina
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    Post  Eugenio Argentina Sun Mar 24, 2024 9:17 pm

    The MiG-17 was more agile for combat in dogfights than the MiG-21. Somewhere I read that he had a very good performance in Vietnam.
    Let us remember that in most of the combats, American pilots with better training and experience faced Vietnamese pilots.
    I think the MiG-23/27 were really good aircraft. In similar combat conditions and with expert pilots, they could give problems even to the F-16.

    Cool

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    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Mon Mar 25, 2024 3:13 am

    The Su-7 was very popular but its core problem was short range.

    The Su-17 and related upgrades were rather popular, but were not actual fighters, more like simple cheap strike aircraft like the Jaguar.

    The MiG-27K and MiG-27M had rather sophisticated systems for attacking ground targets, though were more like F-16s on a strike mission rather than an Su-25 on CAS missions, for which they were too fast.

    The Sidewinder was a shock to the Soviets because it was so simple and modular, which also made it much easier to make and indeed to upgrade.

    Their other missile the AA-1 Alkali was horribly complex for what it was... but became the basis for the Kh-23 air to surface missile for the MiG-23/27 family.

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 K5_11

    Wires going from front to back and parts all over the place... very complex to design and redesign and very complex to upgrade and improve.

    With the sidewinder you can remove a seeker and replace it with a new model.

    They copied it because they had to change their entire way of making Air to Air missiles and that was going to take time to revise how they were designed but also all the components to make them suitable to fit into modular sections.

    In the mean time they made copies of the Sidewinder.

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    Mir
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    Post  Mir Mon Mar 25, 2024 9:52 am

    The Su-7 wasn't the only one  - many Soviet combat aircraft suffered from short range including classics like the Mig-21 and even the much later Mig-29's.
    The Su-7 wasn't suitable as a fighter and was quickly developed into a major strike aircraft with over 1800 samples produced.

    The biggest issue with the Su-7 was it's high landing speed and it also required a long take-off and landing run. This was partially cured with the Su-7BKL variant that was fitted with JATO rockets and twin brake parachutes. Variable swept wings finally cured this problem though when the Su17 was developed from the Su-7.

    The Mig-27's had a much reduced top speed when compared to the Mig-23's Mach 2.3. It was limited to about Mach 1.7 at altitude and about Mach 1 at low level. It was a pretty good strike fighter but less rugged than the Su-17 and Su-25's. Brezhnev liked it - so it was produced in large numbers in tandem with the Su-17.

    None of these strike aircraft had any serious air-to-air capabilities.

    The good old days before washing machines and fridges  Wink  Laughing

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    GarryB
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    Post  GarryB Mon Mar 25, 2024 11:01 am

    The Su-7 wasn't the only one - many Soviet combat aircraft suffered from short range including classics like the Mig-21 and even the much later Mig-29's.
    The Su-7 wasn't suitable as a fighter and was quickly developed into a major strike aircraft with over 1800 samples produced.

    A core factor that most overlook was its role over a battlefield... it was not a HATO aircraft intended to fly 1,000km to enemy airspace to bomb the damn natives and then fly home and tuck into bed safe and sound till the war started again the next day when you get back into the cockpit.

    The MiG-29 had improved range with practically every upgrade increasing internal fuel stowage, yet most were rejected because the Russian AF didn't need a multirole fighter with decent range like an F-16 equivalent.

    Most ignore the fact that most of the time Su-27s during normal operations got airborne with their fuel tanks 1/3rd full because they didn't need full fuel tanks for most missions and full fuel tanks actually limited their ability to manouver.

    The boost in performance from the complication of swing wingtips seemed to be well worth the effort and the Su-17s seem to be rather popular... the Su-17M4 was rather well armed and a capable strike aircraft... but of course not a CAS like the Su-25.

    The Mig-27's had a much reduced top speed when compared to the Mig-23's Mach 2.3. It was limited to about Mach 1.7 at altitude and about Mach 1 at low level. It was a pretty good strike fighter but less rugged than the Su-17 and Su-25's. Brezhnev liked it - so it was produced in large numbers in tandem with the Su-17.

    A sensible compromise considering very few aircraft can fly much more than mach 1.3 at low altitudes anyway so removing top speed at altitudes they will never operate at is an easy choice to make really.

    The MiG-27K and MiG-27M were rather well equipped with nose mounted optics, and the gun was cool even if it was problematic.

    None of these strike aircraft had any serious air-to-air capabilities.

    They were better at what they did than some aircraft designed to try to do everything.

    The Buccaneer was no fighter but flying fast and low it was probably better than an F-16 in the strike role and could operate from aircraft carriers.

    But it was no fighter.

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    Eugenio Argentina
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    Post  Eugenio Argentina Mon Mar 25, 2024 11:19 am

    The Su-7 and MiG-27, excellent ground attack aircraft.
    Su-7 pilots praised its stability in low flight, which made them prefer that aircraft to other more modern ones.


    Cool

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    Mir
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    Post  Mir Mon Mar 25, 2024 12:46 pm

    GarryB wrote:Most ignore the fact that most of the time Su-27s during normal operations got airborne with their fuel tanks 1/3rd full because they didn't need full fuel tanks for most missions and full fuel tanks actually limited their ability to manouver.

    Well it was a luxury the Su-27's could afford as it still had considerable range advantage even when half empty. Even more so when later variants with IFR started to appear!

    GarryB wrote:But it was no fighter.

    Exactly - they were all dedicated designs. These aircraft were designed well before the era of true multi-role combat aircraft like the Su-34.

    The Buccaneer was one hell of a strike aircraft. South Africa had a small number of them in service and they performed admirably during the Angolan conflict.

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    Mir
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    Post  Mir Mon Mar 25, 2024 12:50 pm

    Eugenio Argentina wrote:Su-7 pilots praised its stability in low flight, which made them prefer that aircraft to other more modern ones.

    Yes I've seen some excellent footage of the Su-7 screaming low over the country side at high speed Smile

    However the follow-on Su-17 was far superior to the Su-7 in all aspects.

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    Gomig-21
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    Post  Gomig-21 Mon Mar 25, 2024 10:16 pm

    Mir wrote:@Gomig-21

    Today only the US Navy and Marines still use the F-5N/F Tiger II's as aggressors. F-16's are now gradually taking over.

    You mean the MiG-28?  lol1   Funny a few weeks ago we watched 'Top Gun' prior to 'Maverick' and we were laughing at how they were trying so hard to be politically correct without insinuating anything Russian, making the enemy flying those black F-5s with similar to North Korean stars as insignia lol.  They really spread it around.

    Mir wrote:
    Reagan effectively killed the Tigershark when he cleared the F-16 for export, but some of it found it's way into designs like the Taiwanese Ching-kuo, the Chinese JF-17 and the Korean T/F-50.

    Really, the FC-1/JF-17?  I can see the other ones you listed just the Thunder I always saw it as a Chinese off-shoot to the F-16.  Even the number 17 was the chosen designation by the PAF because it viewed it as the successor to the F-16.  Interesting.  I guess now that I look at it in that perspective, I see some similarities.  

    Mir wrote:South Africa was a major Mirage operator during the Cold War era. As a youngster I was fortunate to live nearby two large airbases. The area was also a major MIC hub. My hobby was to jot down aircraft serial numbers to get an "accurate" assessment of operational aircraft as everything was shrouded in secrecy back then Laughing

    Despite the conflict in Angola very little aerial combat took place - but there were a couple of losses on both sides. The Mig-23 came as a bit of a wake-up call though as it was able to easily outrun the Mirage F1.

    Classic pic of a SAF Mirage IIIEZ

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mirage11

    Really outstanding stuff.  I can relate to everything you mentioned, particularly the region and how fraught with conflict it's been for so long but hardly ever on a level where these African air forces resorted to all-out aerial warfare with one-another.

    Most of them have very low aircraft numbers with maybe the exception of Ethiopia and of course South Africa.  I think even Nigeria has a low number of fighter jets despite being the largest economy in the continent (I think tied with or slightly ahead of Egypt).  

    But South Africa always had an impressive number of A/C & squadrons especially during their Mirage heyday.  Now they seem to be Gripen-happy but their whole venture with Dassault -- and particularly the Mirage IIIEZ you mentioned -- was a full-out & total investment in the Mirage III series.  I think they had every single model of the III and then the 5 they turned into the Atlas Cheetah, IIRC which was pretty cool, especially the grey tone color but once they went berserk with the mega radar AND radome modification, they lost me lol!  This was probably one of the craziest combat aircraft mods I've seen to date, not to mention ugly beyond belief.  Hard to imagine that didn't have a substantial effect on the aircraft's aerodynamics.  Still interesting to say the least.

    That extra long radome retrofit cracks me up every time I see it.  lol1

    Compounded by the ugly fit of the new, extended nose cone and how it's too big to fit snug at the bottom. But I guess it worked.  cheers

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 1173123

    Mir wrote:Rare picture of Angolan Mig-23's

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Angola10

    Wow, rare indeed and very cool too because it reminded me of a fascinating part of the MiG-23's history summed up in the below paragraph I read a while back and it took a few minutes to find it since it's part of a rather large writeup on the MiG-23M.  I did manage to find it and the cool part is that it's related to the F-5 with all its interesting, inter-related history that we've been discussing here including the large number of F-5s wrecks you mentioned from the Vietnam war which were generously donated by the Vietcong to the Soviet Union.  Who would've thought there was a brief -- yet substantial and neat -- developmental history to the MiG-23/F-5 through the Vietnam war?  But here it is:


    The early MiG-23M series was also used to test the American Northrop F-5s captured by the North Vietnamese and sent to the former USSR for evaluation. The Soviets acknowledged the F-5 was a very agile aircraft, and at some speeds and altitudes better than the MiG-23M, one of the main reasons the MiG-23MLD and MiG-29 developments were started. These tests allowed the Russians to make modifications to several of their fourth-generation aircraft. The MiG-23, however, was not designed to combat F-5s, a weakness reflected by early MiG-23 variants.

    The rest of this great & informative article here.

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    Mir
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    Post  Mir Tue Mar 26, 2024 6:45 pm

    Gomig-21 wrote:
    Really, the FC-1/JF-17?  I can see the other ones you listed just the Thunder I always saw it as a Chinese off-shoot to the F-16.  Even the number 17 was the chosen designation by the PAF because it viewed it as the successor to the F-16.  Interesting.  I guess now that I look at it in that perspective, I see some similarities.
     
    Yes - externally the FC-1 does look like a marriage between the F-16 and the FA-18. Even the JF-17 does have some features of the F-16, but the avionic suite under the skin of these planes, including the Korean F-50, stems from the F-20 Tigershark.

    Gomig-21 wrote:Really outstanding stuff.  I can relate to everything you mentioned, particularly the region and how fraught with conflict it's been for so long but hardly ever on a level where these African air forces resorted to all-out aerial warfare with one-another.

    The main reason why the Angolan conflict did not see a lot of air-to-air combat was mostly due to the limited range of the aircraft. All major air bases were quite far from the "operational area". South Africa did acquire 4 ELINT/tanker aircraft but by that time the conflict was basically over.

    The Angolan SAMs was also considered as a major threat for the SAF and some aircraft were downed or damaged due to these missiles.

    Gomig-21 wrote:I think they had every single model of the III and then the 5 they turned into the Atlas Cheetah, IIRC which was pretty cool, especially the grey tone color but once they went berserk with the mega radar AND radome modification, they lost me lol!  This was probably one of the craziest combat aircraft mods I've seen to date, not to mention ugly beyond belief.  Hard to imagine that didn't have a substantial effect on the aircraft's aerodynamics.  Still interesting to say the least.

    That extra long radome retrofit cracks me up every time I see it.  

    South Africa never operated the Mirage 5. They wanted it but never got it. It would have been well suited for our sunny skies but eventually they got a license for the even better equipped Mirage F1AZ.

    I think you are perhaps confusing it with the recce and two seater versions of the Mirage III. The SAF acquired 4 Mirage III RZ's and later another 4 R2Z's. All of them was heavily used during the conflict. Only one was eventually converted into a prototype recce Cheetah.

    The Mirage III numbers were quite small with only 16 Mirage IIC, 17 Mirage IIIE's. The two seater included 3 Mirage IIBZ's, 3 Mirage III DZ's and apparently 12 D2Z's, but I suspect there were more of the D2Z's in service judging by the 16 Cheetah D conversions. The DZ/D2Z's had a Mirage 5  style nose and those were the ones converted into Cheetah D's with the fugly looking "glued on" Kfir radomes. It really was a bit of a hashed nose job!  Laughing

    The 16 surviving Mirage IIIE strike variants was converted into the interim Cheetah E. The follow on Cheetah C was not a Mirage conversion but actual Kfirs that was covertly/secretly imported into South Africa in shipping crates and re-assembled at the then Atlas Aircraft Corporation. 38 were built.

    Another fighter aircraft based on both the Israeli Lavi and the Mirage 4000 (my favourite Mirage together with the G) was also planned, but was cancelled in 1991 just when they started on the prototype. This was known as the Carver.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Carver

    This Angolan Mig-21bis was "captured" when the pilot got lost - ran out of fuel and made a near perfect landing in an open field on the Namibian side. It was on display at the SAF Museum for many years but sadly it was later returned to Angola.

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig21b10

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    Gomig-21
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    Post  Gomig-21 Wed Mar 27, 2024 4:54 pm

    @Mir,

    very cool stuff, especially that Angolan MiG-21 Bis. Too bad they repatriated it. Would've made a great museum piece. That Angolan pilot must've been one hell of a pilot if he landed that thing on grass. It's landing speed was pretty high and not having any leading edge slats/flaps forced the landing speed to be higher than ideally. A MiG-21 landing on grass and not getting caught in a ground divot & flipping over is unheard of.

    Speaking of unique landings and someone mentioned the Su-7; this incredible shot is that of an Egyptian Su-7 during the October War of 1973.  This particular aircraft -- being an attack AC -- was attacked by enemy jets (either F-4E or Mirage V) and suffered gunshot wounds.  Pilot panicked and ejected only to see his Su-7 keep flying straight with hardly any smoke coming out of it.  Apparently it flew for a few kilometers until it ran out of fuel and glided itself on the ground.  Good thing that area was mostly hard, flat desert sand so it didn't suffer the damage it would've otherwise suffered had it hit nose-first into the ground or a mountain.

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 NAJN8JTZ6p23x0ufhyQ3Avibo1_500

    Major air battle during that war, especially on October 14th.  Great pic of the two classics of that time going head to head.  Well, the enemy 'Nesher' was the standard Mirage V that the French were forced to send in kits and assembled in zion after being paid for them but feeling the political pressure not to sell any weapons to the perpetrators of the 1967 war.  But they didn't want to lose the money so they concocted this story that the zionist had stolen the Mirage V blueprints and built their own version called the Nesher lol.  

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    The only complaints of the MiG-21 in the Arab forces was its short range (forget about using the afterburner) and its drastic energy bleeding in tight turns and the 3rd was the moving & sloshing of fuel once 1/4 - 1/2 of it was used up, causing the center of gravity to shift back & forth.  Other than those, it was revered by every pilot who flew it.

    The MiG-17 was also cherished among its Arab users, especially in Egypt.  Harassing the enemy during the ceasefire. lol1

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    They even flew it into the early 80's.

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    It had one of the coolest camo schemes, too.  The Nile Delta.

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    Post  TMA1 Wed Mar 27, 2024 11:19 pm

    Egypt always had the best camo schemes.

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    Mir
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    Post  Mir Thu Mar 28, 2024 1:43 pm

    Funny thing is that the Egyptians had those huge "red alert" chevrons on their western aircraft so that the Israelis could spot them first Laughing
    Talking about Egyptians they also gave the Mig-23 a real bad reputation by donating several down-rated Mig-23MS samples to the US and China!

    This one found it's way to the US and repainted in "Soviet" colours.

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig23m10

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    Post  Mir Thu Mar 28, 2024 2:41 pm

    Years ago someone here asked for production numbers of the various Mig-23 variants in Soviet service.

    Well here it is:

    The first production variant was the Mig-23S and only 60 was ever produced as it was unable to utilize the R-23 missile that was specifically developed for the Mig-23 as the Saphir-23 radar was not quite ready and the "S" was never able to use the BVR missile.

    The 2nd Mig-23 prototype was a good representation of the "S" (without the R-23 missiles).
    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig23p11

    The second production sample was only known as the Mig-23 without any suffix, but it was referred to as "Edition 1". Between 80-120 was produced.
    It was followed by a major production variant - the Mig-23M with about 1000 samples. Two heavily down-rated variants was developed from the "M" for export. The Mig-23MF and the Mig-23MS and were only equipped with the short range K-13 missile.

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig23m11

    A dedicated ground attack variant - the Mig-23B - was also developed from the Mig-23M, but only 24 samples were built. This aircraft was further developed into the successful Mig-23BN that was aimed mainly at the export market. The Soviets had a few samples in service as trainers for foreign customers.

    A rare colour picture of the equally rare Mig-23B variant - the father of the Mig-27 series.
    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig23b10

    The Mig-23M was superseded by the Mig-23ML/A and the Mig-23P variants. They were almost identical in appearance. The "P" was obviously a dedicated interceptor and was equipped with an automatic guidance system towards the target. "ML/MLA" production amounted to 1000 units and the "P" with 500 units that equipped 26 PVO regiments.

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig23m12

    The last production sample was the Mig-23MLD. They were all rebuild from "ML/MLA" and "P" samples - with 500 produced. Another 66 were new builds but they were produced for Syria (50) and Bulgaria (16). A number of "MLD" and "P" samples were used in Soviet/Russian "aggressor" squadrons and in the hands of experienced pilots they proved to be tough opponents for the Su-27s.

    Here is an "aggressor" Mig-23MLD in Russian service. They all had shark mouths.
    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig23m13

    According to the OKB 900 two seater Mig-23UB's were produced although the aircraft factory claims 769!

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Mig23u10

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    Post  Mir Fri Mar 29, 2024 2:46 pm

    @lancelot

    Looks like we were both wrong about the history of the K-13 missile! Smile
    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Screen11

    The Soviets obtained a copy of the Sidewinder through the Chinese during the so-called Second Taiwan Straight Crisis that happened late in 1958. This crisis also marked the first use of guided air-to-air missiles in combat.

    Sidewinders only entered service in 1956 - whilst the Korean War ended in 1953 already.

    Many subsequent and improved versions of the Sidewinder were obtained by the Soviets during the Vietnam War.
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    Post  lancelot Fri Mar 29, 2024 3:17 pm

    Mir wrote:The Soviets obtained a copy of the Sidewinder through the Chinese during the so-called Second Taiwan Straight Crisis that happened late in 1958. This crisis also marked the first use of guided air-to-air missiles in combat.

    Sidewinders only entered service in 1956 - whilst the Korean War ended in 1953 already.

    Many subsequent and improved versions of the Sidewinder were obtained by the Soviets during the Vietnam War.
    That is what I was talking about. The Soviets got a Sidewinder missile from the PRC in 1958, cloned it, and it was in mass production as the K-13 in 1961.
    ROC Air Force F-86 Sabres with Sidewinders shot at a PRC fighter in the Second Taiwan Straight Crisis. And it turned out a Sidewinder that they fired got stuck into a PRC fighter without detonating. The PRC then provided this missile to the Soviets. This gave the Soviets a complete Sidewinder missile they could reverse engineer.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if the air intakes of the MiG-23 used data gathered from analysis of crashed F-4 Phantom airframes in Vietnam. There were also F-111 crashes in Vietnam so components from that could have been gathered as well. The Chinese reverse engineered the F-111 ground attack technology. I wouldn't be surprised if the Soviets also get something out of that.

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    Post  ALAMO Fri Mar 29, 2024 5:26 pm

    A directly cloned version of Sidewinder entered earlier, in 1960 already.
    And started tests a YEAR after a decision of cloning was signed , 13/10/1958.
    Implementation speed was record-breaking.
    An interest ng fact is that the Soviets knew from the beginning that original warhead size is too small.
    Muricans realized that and were working on a heavier, 9 kg one.
    Soviets didn't played pussies there and uses 11+ kg from the beginning Laughing

    In 1962, it was upgraded R-3S variant introduced, with a new engine and a new homing head that worked for double the time - 21s, which doubled the missile range to 7000m.

    Another interesting but sometimes forgotten fact was that this missile was the first in the SU that was designed in both IR and radar variants from the beginning. This tradition followed every next product until R-33.

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    Post  Mir Sat Mar 30, 2024 6:51 pm

    The Sukhoi OKB produced three interceptor samples during the late 50's through to the 70's. None of them was ever exported in order to prevent sensitive equipment from falling into the wrong hands.

    The first one was the Su-9 and was developed in tandem with the Su-7 and they both shared the same engine. Despite this the Su-9 proved to be quite troublesome when it first entered service in 1959. Many were lost due to engine failure but other factors like poor maintenance was also a major cause. However by 1963 the high attrition rate was mostly solved.

    For many years the Su-9 remained the only Soviet interceptor able to exceed the service ceiling of 20 000 meters - needless to say it broke several speed and altitude records. These records stood for a good few years and was only broken when the superb Mig-25 entered service.

    The Su-9 was the only interceptor able to hunt down the famous U-2 spy plane but was never successful. One such an attempt was made on a U-2 piloted by Gary Powers. The pilot of the unarmed Su-9 overshot the U-2 when it tried to ram it. However the race was won by the missile lobby when a S-75 brought the aircraft down. Why was it unarmed? The Su-9 was on a ferry flight to another airbase!

    Su-9's were also used to bring down spy balloons and light commercial aircraft intruding into Soviet airspace - both proved to be a tough task for a such a fast jet. About a thousand Su-9's were produced, which included 50 two seaters, and they served in the PVO for many years.

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Su9-ca10

    A major drawback of the Su-9 was it's poor avionics and the obsolete K-5 air-to-air missile. This resulted in the much improved Su-11, and unlike it's predecessor the Su-11 proved very reliable in service (not so according to Wikipedia  Laughing ). The aircraft was known in PVO regiments as "The Flying Pipe".

    History of Soviet Cold War Military Aircraft - Page 5 Su11-c10

    However there was one fatal accident that claimed the life of a test pilot. The accident played into the hands of the Yak OKB and as a result only 108 Su-11's were produced alongside the Yak-28P's 435 samples. Both were produced in the same production plant in Novosibirsk!

    In terms of performance the Su-11 was a far superior interceptor compared to the Yak-28P, but the Yak had one thing going for it - range, but the latter had a poor service ceiling. Both aircraft was equipped with similar and much improved avionics as well as the K-8 missile. The Yak was also able to use the K-13 missile. These two aircraft and the earlier Su-9 served in the PVO until the early 80's and were replaced in service by the vastly superior Su-15.  

    None of these aircraft had any internal cannons, which was quite a drawback, but both the Yak and the Su-15's were able to use the externally mounted UPK-23 gun pods.

    The Su-15 was developed from a "covert" internal program by the Sukhoi OKB, an was known as the T-58 in a single engine and twin engine configuration. The resulting Su-15 was the twin engine option powered by the R11F2-300. The aircraft was armed with the improved K-8M1P missiles - one IR version and the other a radar homing variant. The missiles were later re-designated as the K-98.

    State acceptance trails proved the aircraft and its systems as highly reliable but demanded an increase in range closer to the required 2000 km.

    The Yakolev OKB got wind of this new development and immediately started on improving the Yak-28P. The air intakes was literally copied from the Su-15 design but proved to be a total lemon as flight tests revealed that the design was in fact inferior to the Yak-28P!  Laughing

    As with most pure delta wings the Su-15 suffered from poor landing-and takeoff performance. A lift engine STOL variant was tested but the idea was quickly discarded in favour of a wing re-design.

    This eventually resulted in the much improved Su-15T/M with its distinctive kink in the delta. The final production variant - the Su-15TM - was constantly updated throughout its service. This variant was also compatible with the R-60 short range missile. The Su-15's main target was aimed US/NATO strategic bombers and spy aircraft like the RC-135's. The Typhoon-M radar was quite powerful but it never had true look-down-shoot down capability. The task of hunting low level targets was mostly left to the Mig-23P.

    With Victor Balenko's defection it was not only the Mig-25 that was hastily upgraded to PD/S standard, the Typhoon-M radar on the Su-15 also went through an upgrade program to offset the damage that was done.

    Due to the downing of two Boeing airliners in 1978 and 1982 respectively, the aircraft was dubbed in the West as The Boeing Killer. Despite this negative image the aircraft served with distinction in most of the PVO regiments. Production stopped in 1979 with nearly 1300 produced and the type was finally  withdrawn from Russian service in 1994 - mostly in order to comply with CFE limits.

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    Post  GarryB Sun Mar 31, 2024 10:29 am

    A good period of Soviet aircraft design where the tubes with tailed delta wings shifted to aircraft with shape.... in the MiG range the MiG-19 started to deviate but the 15,17,21... and then the 23/27 and then the 25, while the Sukhoi went from 7,9,11, and then the beautiful 15 and then 24/25/27. Tupolev had Tu-28 and Tu-22 and then went for the more boxy Tu-22M and the 160.

    I remember getting bored of the tubes and then the later models started appearing... now I appreciate the tubes a bit more than I used to because we get to hear more detail about them.
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    Post  Mir Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:09 am

    It was an interesting era in that it was a step up into the supersonic flight. TsAGI came to the conclusion in the 50's that both the delta and swept shaped wings would be suitable for supersonic flight and designers were free to decide which route to take. Sukhoi used both - deciding to use the swept design for the Su-7 and the delta for the Su-9. Mikoyan tested several swept and delta designs before finally choosing the delta shape for the Mig-21.

    The Americans on the other hand chose unswept low aspect ratio wings for the F-104 Starfighter with disastrous consequences. The F-104 suffered an extremely high accident rate - especially in West German service.

    The earlier Mig-19 with it's swept wing was the first supersonic fighter for the Soviets. It wasn't a great design but still it outclassed it's American counterpart - the F-100 - by a country mile. It was far superior in every aspect.

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    Post  ALAMO Mon Apr 01, 2024 9:32 am

    Mir wrote:IThe F-104 suffered an extremely high accident rate - especially in West German service.

    Yup, and the most absurd part of this story is that it was politically motivated.
    Any claims and worries about issues with the planes were dismissed at the political level, because of "not offending the almighty Murican Wunderwaffe with such insane claims".
    Finally, a Widowmaker scored one more life, but this time it was Oberleutnant Joachim von Hassel, who was the son of an ex-minister of defense and the in-time president of the Bundestag. The case started to be way too personal at a political level to be kept quiet anymore.
    He was 55th German pilot killed by this Wunderwaffe, to give you a scale.

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    Post  Mir Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:09 am

    It is now also well known that Lockheed liked to bribe government officials to pick their aircraft for service. The Germans also made the mistake to use the F-104 as an all-weather low level strike aircraft. In total they lost 116 pilots!

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    Post  GarryB Mon Apr 01, 2024 11:36 am

    And they remain a colony of the US.

    HATO is all about keeping the Russians and the Germans down... well now it is only working keeping the Germans down... so the purpose of HATO moving forward is to weaken Germany by destroying its industry and keeping it weak... way to go America.... the race to the bottom continues.

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