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Aeroplane Monthly 1976-09
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B.Sweetman - Mikoyan's multifaceted middleweight
An export-model MiG-23 in service with the Libyan Air Force
First MiG-23 prototype
The MiG-23 makes its debut over Domodedovo, in July 1967. The wings sweep through their full travel in 11 seconds.
Two SovAF MiG-23S fighters. The fighter has a shorter nozzle than the prototype, radar, a laser installation and four missile pylons. The inner pair sometimes carry small electronic countermeasures pods instead of weapons. The MiG-23S is in service with the SovAF Air Defence Forces, replacing earlier MiG-21 interceptors. Note the ventral 23mm cannon, with prominent ejector chutes.
MiG-23 export model of the Libyan Air Force. The nose radar is smaller than that of the MiG-23S. Note aerials recessed into glove leading edges and "claws.” Dark panels under the nose are radio altimeter aerials.
MiG-23S Flogger B
MiG-23B carrying four 250kg bombs. Note terrain-avoidance radar under nose, just behind window for laser ranger.
The MiG-23B is fitted with Doppler ahead of the nose wheel bay. Note optical (port) and electronic (starboard) sensors above glove pylons, probably with missile-guidance role.
MiG-23B with its 23mm ventral cannon and weapon pylons under gloves and intake ducts. The sharply pointed ECM head above starboard outer pylon is prominent.
A two-seater MiG-23U in service with the Libyan Air Force
The tandem two-seat MiG-23U (on photo) combines the strike fighter role with that of transitioning pilots. Possessing the same combat capability as the single-seat MiG-32B (Flogger-B), the MiG-23U apparently has the same overall dimensions, provision of a second seat resulting in some rearrangement of the internal fuel tankage. Noteworthy features of the MiG-23U include the raised decking aft of the tandem cockpits and the very substantial dorsal fin.
The MiG-23U Flogger C has a limited combat role, although it has been reported in use for electronic countermeasures duties. It also serves in the training role.
The tandem two-seat MiG-23U (Flogger-C) features a retractable periscope for the rear seat occupant who is incorporated at some expense to internal fuel capacity.