MiG-23ML Analysis

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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mixelflick

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Unread post15 Apr 2020, 15:07

hornetfinn wrote:What I was really interesting was the fact that they manufactured and operated two almost identical fighter-bombers in MiG-27 and Su-17 at the same time. But IMO, the MiG-27 was the best MiG-23 variant and one where the basic design and layout worked better than in fighter version.


THIS..

As woeful a design as I think the Mig-23 was, its ultimate expression was the Mig-27. This, given the Mig-23 was never going to have the qualities necessary to be a successful fighter. Instead, Mig's design team astutely went about optimizing it for air to ground work, and on that score it excelled IMO. It was really fast, especially down low. It could operate out of short/damaged airfields. It could carry a wide variety of air to ground weapons, had a very powerful cannon and acceptable range.

More importantly, as long as you respected its limits - its pilots thought a lot about it. This is the true test IMO, what do the pilots who must fly and fight in it think? Witness here, Indian Mig-27 pilot interview....

https://hushkit.net/2018/08/15/flying-a ... mig-pilot/
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nastle

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Unread post16 Apr 2020, 14:08

THIS..

As woeful a design as I think the Mig-23 was, its ultimate expression was the Mig-27. This, given the Mig-23 was never going to have the qualities necessary to be a successful fighter. Instead, Mig's design team astutely went about optimizing it for air to ground work, and on that score it excelled IMO
.

mig-27 was being produced in large quantities by mid 70s , same time the Mig23M was peaking its production and ML production was starting
So if they had realized that it was such a failure by mid 70s they would not have produced almost 1800 more of them.
Mig-23M was neccessary to give the VVS speed/range/weapons capbility of 3rd gen badly needed in that era and esp to counter the huge proliferation of mirages/F-4s in NATO and its allies surrounding USSR.

It could operate out of short/damaged airfields.
didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?
It could carry a wide variety of air to ground weapons, had a very powerful cannon
cannon on mig27 was unneccesary IMHO, too large and messy and only 300 rounds
better to use those downward firing gunpods like those carried by SU17s
More importantly, as long as you respected its limits - its pilots thought a lot about it. This is the true test IMO, what do the pilots who must fly and fight in it think? Witness here, Indian Mig-27 pilot interview....

https://hushkit.net/2018/08/15/flying-a ... mig-pilot/[/quote]

im sure mig-27 was a decent plane for its time and budget but I would be skeptical of pilot interviews as the most objective unbiased source of information.Suffice to say india bought the Jaguar with the mig-27 to complement it in the deep strike role
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mixelflick

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 16:17

nastle wrote:THIS..

As woeful a design as I think the Mig-23 was, its ultimate expression was the Mig-27. This, given the Mig-23 was never going to have the qualities necessary to be a successful fighter. Instead, Mig's design team astutely went about optimizing it for air to ground work, and on that score it excelled IMO
.

mig-27 was being produced in large quantities by mid 70s , same time the Mig23M was peaking its production and ML production was starting
So if they had realized that it was such a failure by mid 70s they would not have produced almost 1800 more of them.
Mig-23M was neccessary to give the VVS speed/range/weapons capbility of 3rd gen badly needed in that era and esp to counter the huge proliferation of mirages/F-4s in NATO and its allies surrounding USSR.

A. They didn't realize until later (circa 1982) what a miserable failure it was, given its record. For example, here's the Mig-23's air to air combat record below. You can see here the party really got rolling in 1982. 105 losses vs. just 25 or so kills - it's record speaks for itself.

SOURCE: Migflug.com

Syrian border clashes 1974-1981 (Syria) 3-2-0
[b]Lebanon War 1982 (Syria) 1-30-[/b]
Israeli UAV shootdown 2002 (Syria) 1-0-0
Iran-Iraq War (Iraq) 16-56
Gulf War (Iraq) 0-8-0
NFZs (Iraq) 0-1-0
Gulf of Sidra 1989 (Libya) 0-2-0
Egypt-Libya Border War (Libya) 0-2
Soviet-Afghan War (USSR) 0-3
Iran-Afghan border violations (USSR) 4-0-0
Ethiopian-Eritrean War (Ethiopia) 0-1
Angola Bush War (Cuba) 0-0-0

So if you knew you had a fighter that was losing 77% of all air to air fights, you're calling that a winner? Frankly, if I were Mig I would have buried my head in the sand out of pure shame.

It could operate out of short/damaged airfields.
didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?

A. I don't know. Possibly so, given Soviet airframes are all built with a very sturdy undercarriage.

It could carry a wide variety of air to ground weapons, had a very powerful cannon
cannon on mig27 was unneccesary IMHO, too large and messy and only 300 rounds
better to use those downward firing gunpods like those carried by SU17s

A. Somebody didn't agree with this. And likely those somebody's being its designers, pilots or maintainers - I'm betting there's a reason they kept that powerful cannon. FYI Soviet designs never featured as many rounds as their American counterparts. 300 rounds was actually quite generous vs. other aircraft of the time.

More importantly, as long as you respected its limits - its pilots thought a lot about it. This is the true test IMO, what do the pilots who must fly and fight in it think? Witness here, Indian Mig-27 pilot interview....

https://hushkit.net/2018/08/15/flying-a ... mig-pilot/

im sure mig-27 was a decent plane for its time and budget but I would be skeptical of pilot interviews as the most objective unbiased source of information.Suffice to say india bought the Jaguar with the mig-27 to complement it in the deep strike role[/quote]

A. Why skeptical? The Mig-27 pilot had no incentive to lie, especially this late in his career. Manufacturers and governments do though, given they're trying to sell the aircraft. Fanboys too, although that's far more prevelant in current/competing designs vs. aircraft who's day has passed...
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basher54321

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 20:53

nastle wrote:didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?


Early 1960s MiG-23 requirements included a dirt field capability and it looks to have been trialed on unpaved runways at least.

It had a STOL requirement as well which was one reason for VG wings.
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nastle

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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 22:43

A. They didn't realize until later (circa 1982) what a miserable failure it was, given its record. For example, here's the Mig-23's air to air combat record below. You can see here the party really got rolling in 1982. 105 losses vs. just 25 or so kills - it's record speaks for itself.

SOURCE: Migflug.com

Syrian border clashes 1974-1981 (Syria) 3-2-0
[b]Lebanon War 1982 (Syria) 1-30-[/b]
Israeli UAV shootdown 2002 (Syria) 1-0-0
Iran-Iraq War (Iraq) 16-56
Gulf War (Iraq) 0-8-0
NFZs (Iraq) 0-1-0
Gulf of Sidra 1989 (Libya) 0-2-0
Egypt-Libya Border War (Libya) 0-2
Soviet-Afghan War (USSR) 0-3
Iran-Afghan border violations (USSR) 4-0-0
Ethiopian-Eritrean War (Ethiopia) 0-1
Angola Bush War (Cuba) 0-0-0

So if you knew you had a fighter that was losing 77% of all air to air fights, you're calling that a winner? Frankly, if I were Mig I would have buried my head in the sand out of pure shame.


no the issue was you claimed that mig-27 was designed as mikoyan team knew mig23 was going to be so bad as a fighter but it is obvious mig27 production was in full swing BEFORE even the later mig23 variants appeared and much before the disaster of 1982.So its clear Mikoyan was going to make the strike variant regardless how the fighter turned out.
so why did soviets go for two VG strike aircraft [su17 and mig27] with almost same specs , warload, requiremnets ? I'm not sure maybe soviet internal politics had something to do with this OR
soviets needed a lot of strike platforms from mutiple companies URGENTLY in 70s and sukhoi with 17/24 could not fulfill the requiremnet [ seems unlikely though]





A. Somebody didn't agree with this. And likely those somebody's being its designers, pilots or maintainers - I'm betting there's a reason they kept that powerful cannon. FYI Soviet designs never featured as many rounds as their American counterparts. 300 rounds was actually quite generous vs. other aircraft of the time.
https://aviationnewz.com/russia-learned ... -powerful/
see also mig23/27 yefim/kommiserov pg 345-347 for details on problems with this beast of a weapon
for air ro air work yes much lower rounds can suffice but mig27 cannon was probably not intended for it and most importantly flogger J/K main job was to have one go at high speed low level with PGM at NATO airfields , radars , depots. etc.A lot of these strikers would not survive long enough to make a second pass so such a specialized cannon makes little sense.It does not need to go chasing infantry and trucks with cannon a much more secondary role maybe suitable for 3rd world nations like sri lanka and during cold war mig27 was not widely exported

A. Why skeptical? The Mig-27 pilot had no incentive to lie, especially this late in his career. Manufacturers and governments do though, given they're trying to sell the aircraft. Fanboys too, although that's far more prevelant in current/competing designs vs. aircraft who's day has passed...
its not lying but reporting bias
kind of like when a guy marries his high school sweetheart and 30 yrs later still thinks she is the "best girl ever" , as he does not know any better.
That being said mig-27 offered
1-limited all weather capability
2-heavy use of PGM
3-low level attack capability and was a quantum leap for the VVS in 1970s
Last edited by nastle on 18 Apr 2020, 06:06, edited 4 times in total.
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Unread post17 Apr 2020, 22:44

basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?


Early 1960s MiG-23 requirements included a dirt field capability and it looks to have been trialed on unpaved runways at least.

It had a STOL requirement as well which was one reason for VG wings.

indeed just like mig-29
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mixelflick

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Unread post18 Apr 2020, 12:23

nastle wrote:
basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?


Early 1960s MiG-23 requirements included a dirt field capability and it looks to have been trialed on unpaved runways at least.

It had a STOL requirement as well which was one reason for VG wings.

indeed just like mig-29


You have to hand it to them here, their aircraft are rugged. Why Western designs are so different in comparison is beyond me. In the European theater, were we really expecting that our airfields would remain in pristine condition? Or that we'd have the luxury of having a team of conscripts walk the length of a runway multiple times per day, to ensure there's no FOD?

It's been said that Western aircraft are designed like fine Swiss watches, and that Russian aircraft are designed... like tanks. With few exceptions, I'd have to agree with that statement. I just wonder how much it would have mattered in the real world. The conflict in Europe never materialized, but it did in the middle/far east, and NATO aircraft haven't had any issues. Of course, these are yesterday's conflicts.

The Chinese probably won't be affording us the same luxury...
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Unread post18 Apr 2020, 16:01

mixelflick wrote:
You have to hand it to them here, their aircraft are rugged. Why Western designs are so different in comparison is beyond me. In the European theater, were we really expecting that our airfields would remain in pristine condition? Or that we'd have the luxury of having a team of conscripts walk the length of a runway multiple times per day, to ensure there's no FOD?

It's been said that Western aircraft are designed like fine Swiss watches, and that Russian aircraft are designed... like tanks. With few exceptions, I'd have to agree with that statement. I just wonder how much it would have mattered in the real world. The conflict in Europe never materialized, but it did in the middle/far east, and NATO aircraft haven't had any issues. Of course, these are yesterday's conflicts.

The Chinese probably won't be affording us the same luxury...

i cannot comment on contemporary issues [post cold war ] as i have no knowledge of it

but wrt cold war era i think we overestimated the soviets in some regards and underestimated them in others

its impossible to predict what would have happened in a ww3 scenario in europe , safe to say soviets seemed well prepared for a short 7-10 day period of [conventional weapons only ]hostilities not just in air but even in sea look at the configuration of their ships [e.g most rocket cruisers are one shot vessels ] beyond that short period in war they probably had not much hope their more complex weapons could be maintained by a conscript force so they didnt spend much time or money making it uber sophisticated but that was not neccesarily a good or bad thing it all depends on the situation.
Also explains why soviet weapons were designed for the big conventional [or nonconventional if it occurs] war and not really suited in "brushfire wars ", it reminds me of AIMVAL/ACEVAL trials when in a 1 vs 1 fights the blue sophisticated fighters won like 64 to 0 .When multiple fighters on both sides got involved the kill to loss ratio dropped to like 2 to 1

Western weapons were built more to last longer and have more combat endurance and it served them well in smaller conflicts [ i would add arab israeli wars as they involved only a few hundred aircrafts at most at a time].Furthermore western doctine was more to estbalish naval/air supremacy and soviets were more focused on short term goals i.e gain temporary air dominance to strike at intended targets and then retreat, similarly at sea they were all about sea denial and not much sea control.Not because soviets were so clever just that they did not have the sophisticated weapon platforms like west had for power projection.Furthermore soviet logistics might not function after a week or 10 days in face of relentless NATO attacks so a lot of their doctrine is based on practical necessity.
unique geography of ussr, inferiority of their electronics/sensors and military political objectives weigh in as well .Danger always was what was described by some writers as "mirror imaging" when we expected soviets to act similarly in situations as a western commander would or when we expected their weapon systems to be a counter to ours in a 1 on 1 basis.
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mixelflick

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Unread post19 Apr 2020, 15:52

Given the numbers involved, I always thought the Soviets would over-run NATO. I think NATO thought that too, which is why we maintained such a powerful tactical nuclear punch in Europe. The Pershing II's and GLCM's were the ultimate extension of this, although the free fall nuclear gravity bomb mission still survives... as evidenced by the Germans recent decision on buying more Typhoons/SH's and Growlers..

The Soviets too of course, maintained the nuclear backstop. Frighteningly, they also thought that tactical, limited nuclear exchanges were permissable. I'm grateful we never had to find out, as I'm sure one side or the other would have resorted to that in the event their conventional forces failed them.

The Pershing II in particular scared the hell out of them. If memory serves, it put Moscow at risk and even with their formidable ABM shield - they couldn't be certain just one would get through. Scary times, although Reagan's philosophy of negotiating from a position of strength like that was ultimately justified. We agreed to remove the Pershing II/GLCM's, they agreed to remove their SS-20's.

Then they lost the whole damn cold war. A good history lesson, for presidents (who shall remain nameless) that gut the military, then lead from behind by flying all over the world and aplogizing for America...
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Unread post19 Apr 2020, 18:04

The Cold War ended when they reached a deficit greater than the GDP, fracturing allegiances throughout their society. It was an internal breakdown, not an external force, that lost the Cold War. The lesson was as much about military power as it was about holding control within society. China has taken the lesson by co-opting American and Western European societies, creating a counter cultural influence in the same vein. It also has nothing to do with MiG-23ML so we can pretty much stop there.

The MiG-23ML was proofed against EMP effects. In an era where US development got fancy, they went the opposite route. In a nuclear exchange during the 70's to early 80's, the West would have needed to go down a similar route. EMP protection became a major focal point by the mid-80s, once again creating a big edge over the Soviet designs even under limited nuclear exchanges. But the Soviets intended to win in a blitzkrieg, not to play tit for tat. The MiG-23ML was designed around that doctrine and it more than likely would have worked. The Soviet doctrine was about mobility and forward basing of tactical aircraft.
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mixelflick

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Unread post19 Apr 2020, 19:16

madrat wrote:The Cold War ended when they reached a deficit greater than the GDP, fracturing allegiances throughout their society. It was an internal breakdown, not an external force, that lost the Cold War. The lesson was as much about military power as it was about holding control within society. China has taken the lesson by co-opting American and Western European societies, creating a counter cultural influence in the same vein. It also has nothing to do with MiG-23ML so we can pretty much stop there.

The MiG-23ML was proofed against EMP effects. In an era where US development got fancy, they went the opposite route. In a nuclear exchange during the 70's to early 80's, the West would have needed to go down a similar route. EMP protection became a major focal point by the mid-80s, once again creating a big edge over the Soviet designs even under limited nuclear exchanges. But the Soviets intended to win in a blitzkrieg, not to play tit for tat. The MiG-23ML was designed around that doctrine and it more than likely would have worked. The Soviet doctrine was about mobility and forward basing of tactical aircraft.


And what drove that deficit?

Military spending, trying to keep up with Reagan's arms buildup. In particular, SDI...
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Unread post19 Apr 2020, 22:42

Actually we crippled their gas economy by feeding their double agents bad gas pipeline software. That was what turned out to be the proverbial prick that broke the camels back which directly led to the bleeding out of the Soviet machine's economic cohesiveness. Their budget deficits were not much worse than our own. But when their alliance disintegrated so did their world-wide appeal for exports of material like MiG-23ML. There was a time where you could literally buy hundreds of them for scrap value. It wasn't that they were impossibly bad, it was the sheer volume of overhead that would have been necessary to get them back into shape for sustainment. The ex-Soviet maintainers wanted hard currency, which was always in short supply in countries that aligned with the Soviets. And so the former Soviet bloc literally shopped everything on the world market looking for that hard currency, which meant scrapping everything they could get their hands on. The only countries able to keep MiG-23ML alive already had stockpiles of parts, quickly secured parts being sold as scrap, or they literally had no source to get them.
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Unread post27 Apr 2020, 14:28

madrat wrote:
The MiG-23ML was proofed against EMP effects.


have you got a source for that?
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Unread post27 Apr 2020, 14:30

madrat wrote:Actually we crippled their gas economy by feeding their double agents bad gas pipeline software.


Recently debunked.
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Unread post27 Apr 2020, 20:56

mixelflick wrote:Why Western designs are so different in comparison is beyond me. In the European theater, were we really expecting that our airfields would remain in pristine condition? Or that we'd have the luxury of having a team of conscripts walk the length of a runway multiple times per day, to ensure there's no FOD?


Soviets learn to win battles without air power. Germans and also Allies rely on air power lot more in WW2. Germans influence NATO tactic against Soviets too much, feeding US and UK with BSing, because German generals were advisors for NATO and wouldn't want to accept they were outsmarted so they blamed Hitler and Soviet never ending reserves as reason they lost.

Hitler saved German army at end of 1941 ordering not to reateat even though generals want to retreat, if they start retreat when Soviet counter offensive begin they would be overrun.

Soviets only in late 1943 had more troops and more importantly more medium tanks (if we look whole east front), so they won most important battles without overwhelming numerical advantage, and sky was controlled by Luftwaffe. So Soviets developed tactics in which control of sky is just plus to their offensive not imperative.

mixelflick wrote:
And what drove that deficit?

Military spending, trying to keep up with Reagan's arms buildup. In particular, SDI...


This is common myth, USSR debt was quite small for example Russian part of debt (most of USSR debt) was 70 billions dollars. USSR GDP was lot higher then that even in stagnant 1980s.

What lead to collapse was totally ineffective civilian industry. You couldn't buy car even if you could pay it at once. You need to wait years!?!
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