Air International 1978-12
R.Braybrook - Soviet swing-wings
Latest MiG-23 variant is the MiG-23B Flogger D strike fighter. Note full-span plain flaps, leading-edge droops and ventral fin folded for landing.
Whereas the MiG-23 is optimised for the air defence role, its derivative, the MiG-27 ( Flogger-D) illustrated above is a dedicated ground attack aeroplane with only limited air-air capability.
The prototype MiG-23, alias Flogger-A, which commenced its flight test programme late 1966 or early 1967, now reposes in the Monino Museum where these photographs were taken.
An initial production V-VS MiG-23S (Flogger-B) fighter is illustrated, with wings at minimum (17 deg) sweep.
A number of countries in the Middle East have received an export version of the MiG-23S (Flogger-E) distinguished by a smaller AI radome (presumably housing the older and less efficaceous Jay Bird) and lack of laser ranger. The example depicted was photographed at Kubinka last year when it was presumably in process of ferrying to a Middle Eastern customer or was serving for the conversion of foreign pilots.
Prototype (Flogger-A); MiG-23S (Flogger-B); MiG-23U (Flogger-C); MiG-27 (Flogger-D); MiG-23 (Flogger-E)
Prototype (Flogger-A); MiG-23S (Flogger-B); MiG-23U (Flogger-C); MiG-27 (Flogger-D); MiG-23 (Flogger-E)
Prototype (Flogger-A); MiG-23S (Flogger-B); MiG-23U (Flogger-C); MiG-27 (Flogger-D); MiG-23 (Flogger-E)
The six MiG-23S fighters flying over Kuopio-Rissala during the V-VS's August courtesy visit to Finland.
A MiG-23S deploying its braking chute during a landing at Kuopio-Rissala. The Soviet fighter landed within a distance of some 875 yards (800 m), the ventral fin being folded to starboard during the approach which is normally made at 174 mph (280 km/h).
A close-up of the nose of one of the six MiG-23s equipping a formation of the Soviet Air Force that earlier this year made a courtesy visit to Finland and to France
These examples of the MiG-23S were photographed by Peter Steinemann while making a courtesy visit to the Kuopio-Rissala air base of the Finnish Karjalan Lennosto in August 1978. The aircraft, from a squadron based at Kubinka, 50 miles (80 km) west of Moscow, and commanded by Lt-Col E Bihakov, had apparently had virtually all operational equipment removed prior to their debut outside the WarPac boundaries.
Two MiG-23S fighters taking-off from Kuopio-Rissala during their visit to Finland. It was noted that these aircraft displayed a tail fin of revised contour but, in other respects, did not differ significantly from models that have served with the V-VS for several years.
In September 1978, after visiting Finland, the same six MiG-23S fighters visited Reims, France, and two of them are seen landing at the Armee de l‘Air base in these photographs by A.Klomp. It will be noted that these aircraft lacked missile pylons, laser ranger and other items of equipment which had presumably been removed specifically for the visits to Finland and France.