Tactical use of Mig-23

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How did the USSR intent to use the MiG-23 in the VVS , in the IA-PVO it was a pure interceptor.
What were the missions of MiG-23 in VVS and what tactics were adopted by them to counter NATO fighters

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The air defence versions assigned to Frontal Aviation would be used for establishing tactical air superiority over the battlefield to allow ground support aviation to operate unharassed by enemy fighters.

IA-PVO was as far I am aware more concerned with protecting USSR from strategic bombers.

I think most Soviet A2A operations would involve a Ground Controller to guide fighters to a point where they could intercept enemy fighters. The fighters would then launch independent action using long range radar homing missiles and then cannon/short range missiles in close range combat

MiG-23BN/BK and MiG-27 are ground attack/strike fighters.

I could be wrong so feel free to tear my points apart.

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What were the missions of MiG-23 in VVS and what tactics were adopted by them to counter NATO fighters

At these Links you can find some public details from ex-Soviet pilots, exercises at 'Russian Top-Gun'. These are not exactly what you need, in most of the 'fights' the MiG-23 played F-15 vs MiG-21's, but these are interesting.

'AWACS hunting' - MiG-21bis vs AN-12 'AWACS' & MiG-23ML >
http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73501

MiG-21bis vs MiG-23ML(act F-15 with AIM-7F) >
http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73583

http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73611

x4 MiG-21bis vs x2 MiG-23ML >
http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73511

The online-translating does not work perfectly, but it helps:

http://translate.google.com/
" Late May to early June, 1985g. Mary-I. Proverka 927iap.
Free dogfight zvena. Veduschaya pair: regimental commander-zampolit. Vedomaya pair: zam.komandira-st.shturman. "Enemy" is a pair of MiG-23 local air group.
Battle plan was developed in three versions, depending on the construction of the battle formation of the "enemy."
Converged on a collision kursah.Para "enemy" has opened at the front with an interval of 2-3km.Komandir determined: "Option number 2."
At a distance of "the enemy" 30-35km team: "maneuver."
The leading pair of GS-23 guns shoot projectiles dipolyami. After shooting - a 180 *, the leading pair of right-led vlevo.Vysota 1500-1800m. "Enemy" is higher.
Watching sblizheniem.Na range 15-20km - "maneuver." Shooting IR-traps ASO-2I and perevorot. Na exit the horizon leading the pair: "The purpose of the left at 45, range 3" - "observed attacks." Led the pair: "The purpose of the right to 45, range 3" - "observed attack"
Everything went like notam.Pobedili.
At the command post airbase commander asked me, "What is the option number 2 and what maneuvers were performed?" I replied that I can explain gruppy.Esche after landing, he asked: "How many options for a fight?" I said, "Three." To which he nodded approvingly and no more questions asked.
P.S. Mog not quite correctly specify "range" and "high." It is too proshlo.Zdes the forum there are members of the test, they have to correct. "

Some standard 'tactics' for close-combat:

http://forums.airforce.ru/attachments/sovremennost/30511d1301223280-5-150-.jpg/

'Arkan' , 'Uzel' , 'Krab' etc. became standard at VVS fighter units from the early '70s. These came with the unit level ACT program '500s'
Just for example one of the check flights(in two seater trainer) for these ACM's was the exercise no.523 'O'

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I have to smile. The "hostile" pair had to stay in formation limited to turning in most examples, when the own pair was allowed to split formation to allow the shooter to make use or the energy fight to generate a firing solution.

Western fighter pilots are trained to split for better mutual support as well. After the engagement begins the leader/wingman relationship becomes one of engaged fighter-free fighter. Offensively, after the initial attack, which can be made by both fighters simultaneously or in rapid succession, the fighter with the greatest offensive potential becomes the engaged fighter and commences one-versus-one maneuvering while the free assumes a cover position. That role can be reversed as shown in the Russian example as well.

In short the Russians followed the US example from
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_Fighter_Weapons_School
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Navy_Fighter_Weapons_School
forced by a rising number of dissimilar combat situations in the 60s different from assumed slashing attacks or intercepts. Contrary to that the Russians trained more against "cooperative enemies" as the former Russian Top Gun pilot Alexander Zuyev reported.

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That was far from TopGun, it was even far from the daily bounces between NATO aircraft. It was something along the line of BFM tactics, with both parties following a scripted sequence of manoeuvres.

The basic use of the MiG-23 would have been similar to the MiG-23, with a pair of fighters being directed by GCI to intercept enemy planes. The better avionics of the MiG-23 should have been an advantage, especially the use of BVR missiles. In the offensive role MiG-23 fighters would use their speed to make slashing attacks against NATO CAPs to open a gap for strikers. High Speed and the use of BVR would give them a decent chance to fire the first shot, which allows them to gain in initiative in the merge, but the high fuel use would mean that they would bingo quickly, especially if they want to get out at high speeds as well. The experience of forgein MiG-23 users can be called a mixed bag. The plane had some serious problems with the avionics in the early versions and was hard to master. Many pilots preferred the MiG-21, which was more nimble.

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Deathtrap?

Flying any combat jet is a dangerous affair, but that was more true in the case of the MiG-23. In the book "Red Eagles", the author quotes a USAF MiG-23 pilot in saying; "I hope the Russians make thousands of MiG-23's. We'll never have to fight them. They will die flying these things all by themselves".

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19 years 11 months

Posts: 11,742

That was far from TopGun, it was even far from the daily bounces between NATO aircraft. It was something along the line of BFM tactics, with both parties following a scripted sequence of manoeuvres.

The basic use of the MiG-23 would have been similar to the MiG-23, with a pair of fighters being directed by GCI to intercept enemy planes. The better avionics of the MiG-23 should have been an advantage, especially the use of BVR missiles. In the offensive role MiG-23 fighters would use their speed to make slashing attacks against NATO CAPs to open a gap for strikers. High Speed and the use of BVR would give them a decent chance to fire the first shot, which allows them to gain in initiative in the merge, but the high fuel use would mean that they would bingo quickly, especially if they want to get out at high speeds as well. The experience of forgein MiG-23 users can be called a mixed bag. The plane had some serious problems with the avionics in the early versions and was hard to master. Many pilots preferred the MiG-21, which was more nimble.

The drawings showed Russian style WVR combat and the MiG-23MF/ML from the 80s were operated like the F-4s in the a2a role.
In Central Europe BVR combat was the exception the IFF problem in mind. Just in exercises it could be ignored for training purposes. Compared to the MiG-21 the MiG-23 offered true all weather capability with autopilots and navigation-devices the Central Europe conditions in mind. It could carry heavier AAMs compared to the unsatisfactory Atolls. It could engage targets in head-on and it had a true look-down/shot-down capability. All that with enough installed power for some energy-fight and endurance at all heights. The main drawback was its maintenance demand and related cost, which did not allow a 1 by 1 replacement for the MiG-21 in most AFs. By the way the MiG-23 was forced into service in 70s despite several "childhood diseases" still to overcome. From the 80s it reached its specifications but the more capable MiG-29 becomes available as well.

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Flying any combat jet is a dangerous affair, but that was more true in the case of the MiG-23. In the book "Red Eagles", the author quotes a USAF MiG-23 pilot in saying; "I hope the Russians make thousands of MiG-23's. We'll never have to fight them. They will die flying these things all by themselves".

That claim was about the limited early variants exported from 1974 seen as inferior to the F-4s with some justification. In the late 70s it was no longer true, at least when operated in the related network. :cool:

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The VVS’s (Frontal Aviation) MiGs were flying guided by the ground control. The pilots of the VVS regiment begun to learn air combat maneuvering at the end of the 70’s.

Early 80's the MiG-23M's of the VVS were obsolete. One of the 3 squadrons of Frontal Aviation fighter regiment were given a task of nuclear attack. There tactic were "hit and run". Five MiG-23M regiment were completely turned into fighter bomber.

They were planning to use the modernized MiG-23MLD against the NATO fighters, respectively the MIG-29's from 1984.

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At these Links you can find some public details from ex-Soviet pilots, exercises at 'Russian Top-Gun'. These are not exactly what you need, in most of the 'fights' the MiG-23 played F-15 vs MiG-21's, but these are interesting.

'AWACS hunting' - MiG-21bis vs AN-12 'AWACS' & MiG-23ML >
http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73501

MiG-21bis vs MiG-23ML(act F-15 with AIM-7F) >
http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73583

http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73611

x4 MiG-21bis vs x2 MiG-23ML >
http://forums.airforce.ru/sovremennost/3667-planirovanie-vozdushnogo-boya-3/#post73511

The online-translating does not work perfectly, but it helps:

http://translate.google.com/
" Late May to early June, 1985g. Mary-I. Proverka 927iap.
Free dogfight zvena. Veduschaya pair: regimental commander-zampolit. Vedomaya pair: zam.komandira-st.shturman. "Enemy" is a pair of MiG-23 local air group.
Battle plan was developed in three versions, depending on the construction of the battle formation of the "enemy."
Converged on a collision kursah.Para "enemy" has opened at the front with an interval of 2-3km.Komandir determined: "Option number 2."
At a distance of "the enemy" 30-35km team: "maneuver."
The leading pair of GS-23 guns shoot projectiles dipolyami. After shooting - a 180 *, the leading pair of right-led vlevo.Vysota 1500-1800m. "Enemy" is higher.
Watching sblizheniem.Na range 15-20km - "maneuver." Shooting IR-traps ASO-2I and perevorot. Na exit the horizon leading the pair: "The purpose of the left at 45, range 3" - "observed attacks." Led the pair: "The purpose of the right to 45, range 3" - "observed attack"
Everything went like notam.Pobedili.
At the command post airbase commander asked me, "What is the option number 2 and what maneuvers were performed?" I replied that I can explain gruppy.Esche after landing, he asked: "How many options for a fight?" I said, "Three." To which he nodded approvingly and no more questions asked.
P.S. Mog not quite correctly specify "range" and "high." It is too proshlo.Zdes the forum there are members of the test, they have to correct. "

Some standard 'tactics' for close-combat:

hp://forums.airforce.ru/attachments/sovremennost/30511d1301223280-5-150-.jpg/

'Arkan' , 'Uzel' , 'Krab' etc. became standard at VVS fighter units from the early '70s. These came with the unit level ACT program '500s'
Just for example one of the check flights(in two seater trainer) for these ACM's was the exercise no.523 'O'

Hang on a sec, something very, very interesting for me... so the "wartime" MiG-21's were supposed to fire chaff from the gun ?! Also, regarding the mysterious chaff&flare dispensers on MiG-21, so they supposed to be installed in wartime as well? Where were they fitted on the aircraft? And from when? Were these countermeasures devices planned to be used on WarPac air forces MiG-21's as well?

I know the late model fighter MiG-23's have chaff& flares dispensers built into the fuselage pylon, plus the later mod of two over-wing strakes (BVP-50-60). Were the MiG-23's supposed to fire chaff from the guns as well?

Thanks.:)

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I have to smile.
Have a nice day! Pleasure for me to entertain you, always ;)
Profile picture for user sainz

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regarding the mysterious chaff&flare dispensers on MiG-21, so they supposed to be installed in wartime as well? Where were they fitted on the aircraft?

Simple system, fits to RATO connections, works by the wires and switches of the RATO.
http://forums.airforce.ru/attachments/raboty-na-saite-www-airforce-ru/23606d1269615138-2-.jpg/
http://forums.airforce.ru/attachments/raboty-na-saite-www-airforce-ru/23606d1269615138-2-.jpg/

" The CIA gave us a flare dispenser from a Frogfoot [Su-25] that had been shot down in Afghanistan. We gave it to maintenance – it was just a thing with wires coming out of it. Four hours later they had it operational on a MiG-21. That proved to be a very important test. In 1987 we had the AIM-9P, which was designed to reject flares, and when we used US flares against it would ignore them and go straight for the target.
We had the Soviet flares – they were dirty, and none of them looked the same – and the AIM-9P said 'I love that flare'.
Why’d that happen? We had designed it to reject American flares. The Soviet flares had different burn time, intensity and separation. The same way, every time we tried to build a SAM simulator, when we got the real thing it wasn’t the same.
I use the AIM-9P because it is out of the system and I can talk about it. The same thing happened to a lot of things that are still in the system and that I can’t talk about."
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3A1253fb8a-3b45-4f68-b273-fff9b8f2f73d

:D

Hang on a sec, something very, very interesting for me... so the "wartime" MiG-21's were supposed to fire chaff from the gun ?!

Some non-soviet WP airforces purchased this, others do not...spec-ammo came with the MiG-21bis.

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Thank you for the info Sainz. Would you think this is the same dispenser as in your picture?

http://i37.tinypic.com/205rx8l.jpg

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Related Information

That claim was about the limited early variants exported from 1974 seen as inferior to the F-4s with some justification. In the late 70s it was no longer true, at least when operated in the related network. :cool:

I am waiting on info like that and about USAF MiG-29 and Su-27 operations to come to light.

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Isnt it also true that most of the MiG-23 lost in combat in libya/USN , Iran-Iraq and Arab-Israeli conflicts were the MS and MF early varients and very few of the ML and MLD

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Great picture Sainz, new to me, thank you. If by any chance you stumble upon more pics of MiG-21's with the ASO-2I, or some drawings of it even, please do post them here, there's a topic on the subject of countermeasures on the MiG-21 made some time ago:

http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?t=94316

Thank you again.

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" The CIA gave us a flare dispenser from a Frogfoot [Su-25] that had been shot down in Afghanistan. We gave it to maintenance – it was just a thing with wires coming out of it. Four hours later they had it operational on a MiG-21. That proved to be a very important test. In 1987 we had the AIM-9P, which was designed to reject flares, and when we used US flares against it would ignore them and go straight for the target.
We had the Soviet flares – they were dirty, and none of them looked the same – and the AIM-9P said 'I love that flare'.
Why’d that happen? We had designed it to reject American flares. The Soviet flares had different burn time, intensity and separation. The same way, every time we tried to build a SAM simulator, when we got the real thing it wasn’t the same.
I use the AIM-9P because it is out of the system and I can talk about it. The same thing happened to a lot of things that are still in the system and that I can’t talk about."
http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&plckPostId=Blog%3A27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3A1253fb8a-3b45-4f68-b273-fff9b8f2f73d

In 1987 we had the AIM-9P
&
which was designed to reject flares

Are you sure he's talking about the AIM-9P version?

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Here you can see on Afghan AF MiG-21bis >
http://s12.postimage.org/muwid1rhp/aso.jpg

Hi Robert, do you have info when, where(which IAP) was the foto taken? thanks

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Hi Robert, do you have info when, where(which IAP) was the foto taken? thanks

That's all I know: Bagram, Afghan AF MiG-21bis with R-13M & R-3R(probably pre-flight checking by Afghan pilot)

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That was far from TopGun, it was even far from the daily bounces between NATO aircraft. It was something along the line of BFM tactics, with both parties following a scripted sequence of manoeuvres.

The basic use of the MiG-23 would have been similar to the MiG-23, with a pair of fighters being directed by GCI to intercept enemy planes. The better avionics of the MiG-23 should have been an advantage, especially the use of BVR missiles. In the offensive role MiG-23 fighters would use their speed to make slashing attacks against NATO CAPs to open a gap for strikers. High Speed and the use of BVR would give them a decent chance to fire the first shot, which allows them to gain in initiative in the merge, but the high fuel use would mean that they would bingo quickly, especially if they want to get out at high speeds as well. The experience of forgein MiG-23 users can be called a mixed bag. The plane had some serious problems with the avionics in the early versions and was hard to master. Many pilots preferred the MiG-21, which was more nimble.

I have read that the main Mig-23 tactics against other fighters was mainly "hit and run" and to avoid prolonged dogfights
But then I see the Mig-23P, ML, MLA and MLD had the R-60 which was a ultraclose range weapon designed to counter maneuverable fighters ,from a practical standpoint when was the Mig-23 expected to use this weapon ? WHat is the benefit of having 4 of these weapons with a very short range ?
since it was outranged by the sidewinder the Wests most common AAM
Wouldn't it be better to equip the Mig-23 with 4 x R-24 missiles as they would give them longer spear to deal with the sidewinder armed opponents esp when the IR version of this version was essentially a fire and forget weapon