israelis saw a mig25 burst up to Mach 3.2 to evade f-4 interceptors. the mig bureau brought it to Mach 3 early after introduction I believe for records. I know it ate up the engines, essentially, but it was definitely possible.
It would be possible to fly faster than the redlined Mach 2.83, but you better have a very good reason for doing so because the engines will likely be stuffed after they cooled down again.
Flying faster than Mach 2.83 was not allowed.
So according to wikipedia Russia has 500 mig-23 in reserve.
They already proposed an upgrade called mig-23-98 similar to Mig-21 bison with new radar, avionic and r-77. Cost is 1 million dollar each.
Do you think it's a good idea to put some back in service or modernize them and sell them to poor states ?
SAA would be much stronger with such plane and they already have pilots for them.
The MiG-23 was a rather good aircraft that was not very well respected in the west.
There was a MiG-23-93 upgrade proposed (along with a MiG-21-93 upgrade) and a MiG-23-98 upgrade, but as mike mentions... there was no interest from other countries.
It is a bit like tanks... who is going to buy new optics and new engines and new computer systems and put them in a T-54. It makes more sense to start from a T-90 as a basis because it is a newer and better tank to start with and the improvements make it better.
There was no interest AFAIK... I would expect a few of them have been used up as M-23s... which has all the ejection seat and cockpit instruments removed and essentially it is a drone target for testing air defences.
Even 50 mig-23 with zuhk-M radar and RVV-SD would increase their power against israeli f-15/16. They also have some still inflying condition on their own that they could upgrade.
Parts are not longer made, crew who worked on them have retired.... it makes more sense to get a customer to upgrade to a much newer aircraft like a MiG-29.
I think even Russia should have upgraded its mig-25 to mig-31 level and also upgrade its formidable r-40 (which are 6+m long so with modern engines/fuel could reach 250km easily) which comes in IR and radar version contrary to r-33/37M.
When they introduced the MiG-31 there was consideration to fit the 15 ton thrust jet engines from the MiG-31 to the MiG-25 which uses 11 ton thrust engines. An extra 8 tons of thrust from engines that were probably physically lighter and newer would have been rather interesting.
The R-40s were upgraded to the D level with the R-40TD being used on MiG-31s... they would have been ideal for use against the SR-71 because its mach 4.5 flight speed meant it should be able hit an SR-71 head on or in chase mode if launched as the SR-71 blew past the MiG...
They are finalising a new missile to replace the R-37M.
Advantage of upgrading them is that it is easy. Their avionics/electronics were so big that you can easily put digital stuff inside. And they were available in big number. Also their primitive construction allows to restart production of spare parts pretty easily too. As long as they have a good airframe they should have no problem using them again.
They were big and excessively heavy and could do things other aircraft of the time could not do, but now the MiG-31 is better than the MiG-25 and the MiG-29 is better than the MiG-23.
Mig-23-98 proposed upgrade.
Nice big nose so easier to put a big useful radar in, and with those wings swept back it was very low drag and had excellent acceleration... but weapons options were limiting to say the least.
The wingroot pylons could take larger weapons... but weapon options were not amazing.