Let’s Recap The Details Of The MiG-23 And MiG-27 In 2023

With a legacy spanning decades, let us delve into the remarkable achievements of the MiG-23 and MiG-27, paying homage to their groundbreaking swing-wing technology and the prolific production witnessed during the Soviet Era. Let’s Recap The Details Of The MiG-23 And MiG-27 In 2023, with due respect to the swing-wing aircraft technology and massive production during the Soviet Era. The MiG-23 is a Soviet-era fighter aircraft that entered service in the 1970s. It was designed as a multi-role fighter, capable of both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

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The MiG-23 has a maximum speed of Mach 2.35 and a service ceiling of 59,000 feet. It retired from Russia in 1997. On the other side, the MiG-27 was a ground attack variant of the MiG-23. It entered service in the 1980s and was designed specifically for ground-attack missions, with almost 98% commonality in design.

The Mig-27 boasts a maximum speed of Mach 1.7 and a service ceiling of 40,000 feet, making it a formidable ground attack aircraft. Although it was retired from active service in Russia in 1993, it still remains operational in a few other countries. These fighters were armed with lethal combinations of 23mm and 30mm cannons, along with the ability to carry a wide range of air-to-ground missiles and bombs. With their impressive speed, altitude capabilities, and versatile weaponry, the MiG-23 and MiG-27 were among the most powerful aircraft of their time.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography / Let’s Recap The Details Of The MiG-23 And MiG-27 In 2023
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography / Let’s Recap The Details Of The MiG-23 And MiG-27 In 2023

Analyzing The Development Of The MiG-23 and MiG-27

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Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Analyzing The Design Of The MiG-23 and MiG-27

Compared to the MiG-23, the MiG-27 had a more specialized design focused on ground-attack missions. Here are some of the key differences in the design of the MiG-23 and MiG-27:

  • Wing Configuration: The MiG-27, in contrast to the MiG-23 with its variable-sweep wing, adopted a fixed-wing configuration optimized for low-altitude flight. This specific wing design offered enhanced lift and manoeuvrability at lower speeds, making it particularly suitable for ground-attack missions. As the MiG-27 was primarily designed for low-altitude operations, the variable intake ramps and exhaust nozzles found on the MiG-23 were replaced with a simpler fixed configuration, resulting in reduced weight and maintenance demands.
  • The aircraft was also equipped with larger, heavy-duty landing gear to support operations from airfields with poorer conditions. To meet the MiG-27’s strike and low-level attack requirements, provisions were made for mounting missiles and precision-guided munitions. Furthermore, the aircraft retained a nuclear capability in alignment with other Soviet combat aircraft through the incorporation of specialized navigation systems.
  • Engine: The MiG-27 was also powered by a different engine than the MiG-23. It was equipped with a single Tumansky R-29B-300 turbojet engine, which gave it a top speed of Mach 1.7. The single-engine configuration reduced maintenance costs but made the aircraft more vulnerable to engine failures. However, later models of the MiG-23, such as the MiG-23ML and MiG-23MLD, were powered by the Tumansky R-29B-300 turbojet engine, which had a maximum thrust of 12,500 kg ( 27,557 lb ). These engines were also equipped with afterburners, which allowed the aircraft to reach supersonic speeds of Mach-2.3
  • Armament: The MiG-27 boasted a more potent armament compared to the MiG-23, featuring a 30mm cannon and the capability to carry a diverse array of air-to-ground missiles and bombs. Its design was optimized for ground target attacks, and a specialized targeting system was incorporated for this specific purpose. Despite this focus, the MiG-23 was ingeniously designed to remain agile and lightweight, allowing it to excel in dogfighting with enemy fighters, making it an exceptionally lethal air-to-air combat machine.
  • In fact, the MiG-23 was primarily intended for air-to-air combat and was equipped with the necessary armaments, including air-to-air missiles, to effectively engage in such aerial confrontations. Furthermore, the MiG-23 retained the versatility of carrying air-to-ground weapons, providing an added edge during missions. Its remarkable manoeuvrability, combined with its high speed, rendered it a formidable opponent in aerial combat during that era.
  • Avionics: While the MiG-27 had some advanced avionics for its time, including a radar system and electronic countermeasures, it was generally less sophisticated than the MiG-23 in terms of its electronics and navigational equipment.
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Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Overall, the MiG-23 and MiG-27 had different design priorities, with the MiG-23 being a more versatile multirole fighter and the MiG-27 being a specialized ground-attack aircraft. The MiG-23 had a more advanced wing configuration and engine system, while the MiG-27 had a more powerful armament and was optimized for low-altitude flight. Both aircraft were significant designs for their time but have been largely replaced by newer aircraft. For example, the MiG-29 has replaced the MiG-23, and the Su-25 has replaced the MiG-27 in the modern Russian air force.

Countries That Successfully Operated The MiG-23 and MiG-27

Open-source illustrative image
Open-source illustrative image

Indian Usage: MiG-23 – The Indian Air Force officially phased out the MiG-23BN ground attack aircraft on March 6, 2009, marking the end of an era for this formidable platform. Simultaneously, the MiG-23MF air defence interceptor bid farewell to the skies in 2007, closing a significant chapter in the history of Indian aviation. According to the latest information from the authoritative source “World Air Forces 2020,” a modest fleet of 14 MiG-23UB trainers is still in active service, contributing to ongoing training and general operational needs.

MiG-27 – The story of the MiG-27 in India is one of indigenous production and gradual retirement. HAL in India proudly licensed and built a total of 165 MiG-27Ms, showcasing the nation’s capabilities in aerospace manufacturing. The initial phase of MiG-27 retirements occurred in December 2017, marking the end of an era for the first batch of these formidable ground-attack aircraft. Subsequently, the final batch bid adieu to active service on December 27, 2019, concluding a remarkable legacy of service in the Indian Air Force. These retirements reflect the ongoing modernization efforts and the transition to more advanced and contemporary aircraft in the Indian Air Force’s fleet.

Photo Credit: pxfuel
Photo Credit: pxfuel

Technical Specifications Of The MiG-23 And MiG-27

MiG-23 Flogger Specifications

  • Crew: 1
  • DimensionsWingspan: 45 ft 10 in ( 13.97 m ); Length: 54 ft 9 in ( 16.70 m ); Height: 15 ft 10 in ( 4.82 m )
  • Empty Weight: 11,908 kg ( 26,252 lb )
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 20,300 kg ( 44,753 lb )
  • Powerplant: 1 × Khatchaturov R-35–300 afterburning turbojet, 83.6 kN ( 18,800 lbs ) thrust with variable-geometry nozzles dry / 127.49 kN ( 28,660 lbs ) with afterburner
  • Maximum Speed: Mach 2.35 ( 2,499 km/h, 1,553 mph ) at altitude
  • Range: Combat radius: 540 km ( 335 miles ) on a lo-lo-lo attack mission with two Kh-29 ASM
  • Service Ceiling: 18,300 m ( 60,000 ft )
  • g limits: +8.5
  • Rate Of Climb: 39,370 ft ( 12,000 m ) per minute
  • Armament: One 23mm GSh-23L cannon and up to 4,000 kg ( 8,800 lb ) of weapons, including air-to-air missiles ( R-23, R-60R-73 ), air-to-ground missiles ( Kh-23, Kh-29 ), Rockets and bombs in 6 hardpoints
  • Avionics: Sapfir-23 radar, R-23 air-to-air missiles, and various navigation and communication equipment
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Photo Credit: wall.alpha coders
Photo Credit: wall.alpha coders

MiG-27 Flogger D Specifications

  • Crew: 1
  • DimensionsWingspan: 45 ft 10 in ( 13.97 m ); Length: 56 ft 10 in ( 17.32 m ); Height: 16 ft 5 in ( 5 M )
  • Empty Weight: 11,908 kg ( 26,253 lb )
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight: 20,670 kg ( 45,570 lb )
  • Powerplant: One Tumansky R-29B-300 afterburning turbojet engine, producing 78.5 kN ( 17,640 lbs ) of thrust / 112.8 kN ( 25,400 lbs ) with afterburner
  • Maximum Speed: Mach 1.7 ( 1,900 km/h, 1,180 mph ) at altitude
  • Range: 780 km ( 480 mi ) with drop tank
  • Service Ceiling: 12,500 m ( 41,010 ft )
  • Rate of Climb: 39,000 ft per minute
  • Armament: One 30mm GSh-6–30 cannon and up to 4,000 kg ( 8,800 lb ) of weapons, including air-to-ground missiles( Kh-25, Kh-29Kh-31P ), rockets, and bombs in total 7 hardpoints
  • Avionics: Radar and electronic countermeasures.
Photo Credit: Art station
Photo Credit: Art station

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