MiG-23MLD vs F-16

Agreed, it will never be a fair fight but how would the F-16 match up against the ... ?
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MiG

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Unread post06 Aug 2008, 02:44

avon1944 wrote:Let us keep things in perspective, the MiG-23 was designed before the Viet Nam War (1st flight 06/67), the F-14A and F-15A were both designed with lessons from that war in mind. Both of these fighters were designed to out maneuver and simply out fight all previous Soviet designed fighters. The YF-16 and YF-17 were desired to be more maneuverable at most dogfight speeds than the F-14A and F-15A.
The way the USN and Iranian F-14A's plus the way IDF/AF's F-15A's and F-16A's handled Iraqi and Syrian MiG-23's are a good example of how the fourth generation American fighters dominated the third generation Soviet fighters.

NUFF SAID!

Adrian


Your statement is correct when we see turn rates, rate of climb and avionics, the F-16 was utterly superior to the MiG-23MF and even to the MiG-23MLD, that is true, however the F-16 had a vital weakness from 1974 to 1992, this weakness was it never had BVR missiles until the first AIM-120 and AIM-7s were deployed in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

In 1982, over the bekka Valley, it relied upon the F-15 for BVR protection, the MiG-23 had AA-7 Apex of 35 km of range and an IRST system in a gondola underneath the fuselage frontal section; Russian/Soviet literature affirms Israel lost a few F-16s and F-4s to MiG-23s, in the case of the F-16 it`s difficult to confirm since Israel only admits to have lost an F-16 in that year in an accident and F-4s, an A-4 and two Kfirs to Syrian SAMs.
There are also claims that one of the Kfirs was destroyed by a MiG-23.
Israel only admits the aircraft which got their pilots killed and POW, so all the pilots were confirmed by the media and the palestinians, such as Aharon Ahiaz, Aharon Katz and Gil Fogel.

The Pakistani case is also a very controversial one since the original statement was that the F-16 was shot down, but later it was recanted to just fraticide and kill by its own wingman, Soviet/Russian literature says a MiG-23MLD shot it down.

By 1991, the F-16 was ready to get the AIM-120, and one shot down even a MIG-25 a year later, however according to US sources, the USAF lost five F-16s, some Soviet/Russian sources say the Iraqies originally said they shot down up to 20 F-16s, among them one F-16 was shot down by a MiG-23.
If we are to belive the Russian sources we have to see that in 1983, the MiG-23ML was armed with a better radar and R-24s of longer range almost matching the F-15s capabilities, and the F-16s in 1982 could not match the R-23T with an AIM-9L.

Israeli/western sources say the R-23 were totaly neutralized by jamming the Saphir radars carried by the MiG-23MFs, however never take into acount the fact the TP-23 IRST system is inmune to Jamming and this can be used to cue the IR version of the AA-7 Apex, the R-23T and also the IRST cued variant of the AA-8 Aphid, the R-60MK.

At Marii in the former Soviet republic of Turkmenistan, Agressor MiG-23 units training MiG-29 pilots usually defeated the MiG-29s drivers simply by doing quick attacks without getting into close combat dogfights and only using BVR attacks.

The MiG-29 since its deployment has had AA-10s BVR missiles, the F-16 was utterly defenseless at BVR combat against a MiG-23 during the late 1970s and early and mid 1980s.


The AA-11 also surpasses the range of the AIM-9L, however the MiG-23MLD in Afghanistan only carried the AA-8 Aphid, but it was able to carry the AA-11 since the late 1980s.

So early in the 1990s a MiG-23MLD was more or less a match to an F-16 in weaponry, in some cases even superior, and in the late 1980s the MiG-23MLD was superior to any F-16A deployed in Europe in what respect weaponry.

However the MiG-23 was never a match to the F-16 in cockpit avionics or agility and most of the performance parameters.

In general fligh characteristics the early MiG-23 variants such as the MiG-23M were more or less analogues to the F-4, later variants like the MiG-23ML slightly superior to late F-4 models, like the F-4E, but by just a very small margin. the MiG-23MLD was considered in some parameters almost an equal to the F-16 but it never was considered superior, just that it closed the gap between the third and fourth generation.

One of Few of the MiG-23`s excellent characteristics was the use of Head Up Display radar imagery, since the targeting sight was used instead of the head down radarscope in order to present the radar information in front of the pilot`s eyes, since the MiG-23 never was fitted with a radarscope, basicly aiding targeting and the pilot`s general awareness
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Its view from the cockpit was not as bad as it has been claimed, certainly not as good as the one an F-16 pilot enjoys but certainly it had some aft view thanks to a rear view mirrow in a periscope above the canopy.
Attachments
vg.JPG
MiG-23`s periscope Visibility
mig-23 visibility.JPG
MiG-23 visibility
MiG-23asdcvdf.JPG
side visibility from a MiG-23MF
MiG-29 on a MiG-23`s sight.JPG
A MiG-29 on the targeting sight of a MiG-23MF
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boilermaker

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Unread post10 Jun 2017, 06:25

Old thread but some claim the Mig23 was better "on the drag strip", accelerating faster than F16 and better in vertical

That is nonsense to me as the F16 has a superior thrust to weight ratio and is known for its very short take off runs. It is after all an unstable platform, meaning in a climb and take off both empenage and wing develop lift unlike the Mig23
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Unread post10 Jun 2017, 21:59

MiG wrote:
In 1982, over the bekka Valley, it relied upon the F-15 for BVR protection, the MiG-23 .......



:doh: :doh:


After demonstrating your total lack of understanding & knowledge in this post one can only hope you have learnt something in the past 9 years.
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basher54321

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Unread post10 Jun 2017, 22:45

boilermaker wrote:Old thread but some claim the Mig23 was better "on the drag strip", accelerating faster than F16 and better in vertical

That is nonsense to me as the F16 has a superior thrust to weight ratio and is known for its very short take off runs. It is after all an unstable platform, meaning in a climb and take off both empenage and wing develop lift unlike the Mig23



Have Pad - exploitation of one of the worst fighters ever (ok was an interceptor)- the MiG-23MS. despite that it seems it had better supersonic acceleration than all US jets it was tested against.(which ones?)- even the Red Eagles noted that as its only plus.

the ML/MLA/MLD were lighter with about 3000lbs more static thrust over the Gen 1s - so wings back they were probably quite quick - claims of comparison with f-16a/b lack detail and are mostly anecdotal - new information would be useful.
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Unread post13 Jun 2017, 18:18

To expand on that - a comparison of t/w for take off distance wouldnt help - one point of a VG wing is to help low speed landing & TO by putting the wings out nearly straight - so even if the MiG had lower t/w the lift generated by the straight wing could more than offset that.

Superior in the vertical over F-16a/b? - well if you go by 1v1 DACT at say 20,000ft (for argument sake )- the dynamic thrust from both is significantly less than at sea level - and is also not relative( likely doesnt descrease at the same rate for both )- so sea level thrust even more useless to make comparisons.
Also in this situation the pilot is the main factor in managing energy - so less of a jet problem and more of a pilot problem from what i have read and considering other things he can use.

Of course as stated during cold war the USAF f-16 was typically confined to the deck so comparitive performance likely different to typical Dact altitudes.
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Unread post14 Jun 2017, 23:32

From a Pak source but detailed and seems to look at both sides.

https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/soviet-a ... ar.288653/


At 06:06AM of 12 September 1988, two F-16As of the 14th Squadron, flown by Sqn.Ldr. Khalid Mahmood (on F-16A 85728) and Sqn.Ldr. Anwar Hussain took off from Kamra AB in order to set up a CAP over the Nawagai area. Around 06:40AM, they were vectored by the GCI to intercept two contacts which were closing the Pakistani border at high level in eastern direction. Both F-16s were soon in proper position, but the contacts then turned to the north flying parallel to the border. In fact, there were not only two, but a total of 12 MiG-23MLDs of the 120. IAP in the air that morning, eight of which were loaded with bombs and have got the order to attack certain targets in the Kunar Valley, while four - split in two pairs (Lt.Col. Sergey Bulin with Maj. N. Golisienko, and Maj. S. Petkov with 1st Lt. V. Danchenkov) - acted as escorts. Detecting four additional contacts, the GCI swiftly turned the F-16s towards the new threat, and Sqn.Ldr. Mahmood acquired a total of six contacts, of which four in the forward formation were trailed by additional two coming from behind.

The only problem for Pakistanis now was, that the F-16s were still at the level of 3.500 meters, while their targets flew at more than 10.000 meters, and the rear pair of the targets was flying much faster than the first four aircraft. Indeed, the Soviet GCI detected Pakistani F-16s, and advised Petkov and Danchenkov to block them, while the rest of the formation was to turn back towards West. But, the Pakistanis were faster: closing to a distance of 12km, Mahmood achieved a radar lock-on, but his Sidewinders failed to track the target, as the Soviet pilots engaged their IR counter measures. Mahmood started no less but three attempts to acquire, but failed to do so and, after closing to a distance of less than three kilometers, tried for a fourth time. Finally, he was successful, and fired one AIM-9L from a low-to-high/left-to-right conversion attack and 135° aspect angle. His target was MiG-23MLD „Bort 55“, flown by Capt. Sergey Privalov, which engaged his IRCM. The Sidewinder closed, however, and exploded over his aircraft, sending dozens of hot splinters into the wings and the fuselage.

The whole Soviet section executed a turn to the West now, with Privalov in tow and Petkov and Danchenkov joining the formation without - as it seems - trying to engage F-16s with their R-24s, while Bulin and Golisienko closed from the north and certainly tried to acquire a lock on. However, Mahmood was already executing a hard port turn underneath the enemy formation, rolling out directly behind it and in a perfect attack position behind no less but six MiG-23MLDs! His radar immediately achieved another lock-on, but Mahmood rejected the lock and switched over to an auto-lock, which automatically selected his two AIM-9P missiles, considered better for stern attack. Closing to a distance of three kilometers, the Pakistani fired another missile at the MiG-23MLD flown by Maj. Petkov, when the GCI warned him of two Soviet aircraft directly behind. Mahmood broke hard into the threat, but found nothing there, only to - upon a turn back to the west - realize that the rest of the Soviet formation was already too far away to be intercepted and almost over the Afghani border.

For two F-16 pilots there remained nothing else but to return back to their base. According to Pakistani reports, this warning of two Soviet aircraft behind Mahmood and Hussain was caused by a radar controller, Sqn.Ldr. Irfan-ul-Haq, misinterpreting a clutter on his scope. In fact Lt.Col. Sergey Bulin and Maj. N. Golisienko were closing from that side, however, their Sapheer-23ML radars were not able to pick-up the lower flying F-16s (probably due to a ground clutter), thus denying them a chance to attack with R-24 missiles. Subsequently they turned towards the West and joined the rest of the formation. Privalov’s MiG-23MLD „55“ managed it back to Bagram (albeit it overshoot the runway and was badly damaged when the nose-leg collapsed), just like Petkov, whose aircraft was not damaged at all.
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lawndarter

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Unread post15 Jun 2017, 20:01

Pictures depicting the "battle damage" inflicted to Privalov's MLD:

Image


Later, bort 55 had a new badge applied to its port intake...sorta proof the Soviets took it with a good sense of humour:

Image
- The only time you're flying with too much fuel is when you're on fire -
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Unread post18 Jun 2017, 19:56

That is great - many thanks lawndarter!
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Unread post19 Jun 2017, 16:15

basher54321 wrote:From a Pak source but detailed and seems to look at both sides.
[...]
Sergey Bulin and Maj. N. Golisienko were closing from that side, however, their Sapheer-23ML radars were not able to pick-up the lower flying F-16s (probably due to a ground clutter), thus denying them a chance to attack with R-24 missiles. Subsequently they turned towards the West and joined the rest of the formation. Privalov’s MiG-23MLD „55“ managed it back to Bagram (albeit it overshoot the runway and was badly damaged when the nose-leg collapsed), just like Petkov, whose aircraft was not damaged at all.
[/i]


As to the general sequence of events of 12 September 1988, both the Pakistani and Soviet reports were largely coinciding. However, regarding the final stage of the skirmish and its immediate outcome, the Soviets had a slighly different story to tell.

According to Markovsky's narrative ("MiG-23 Fighters In Afghanistan") and Petkov's private recollections, Bunin and Golosienko were indeed very eager to retaliate the attack by firing R-24R missiles at the Pakistanis but were given strict orders to disengange, to join the rest of the group and to return to Bagram ASAP. Very much to the dislike of Bunin and Golosienko.The Soviet "higher brass" on the ground deemed the overall tactical situation infavourable, and with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan on the horizon, they didn't want to escalate the already existing tensions with Pakistan any further.
Petkov later stated that both Bunin and Golosienko were well able to detect and track the Pakistanis using the "ГОР/GOR" (mountain) mode of the MLD's Sapfir-23MLA-2 aka N-008 radar. A mode specifically implemented for operations over mountainous terrain.

Contrary to the Pakistani report, bort 55 did neither overshoot the runway nor did its NLG collapse. However, after having lost 1200 litres of fuel and "leaving a wet trail on the concrete", Privalov safely made it to his parking position when his engine eventually died off - not a single drop of fuel left.

Image

I guess the Pakistani report confusingly refers to a later incident when bort 54 did in fact overshoot the runway, shearing off its NLG eventually ending up as a write-off.

Image

So much for that.
In general, such reports/narratives should be always taken with a good pinch of salt.
- The only time you're flying with too much fuel is when you're on fire -
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Unread post19 Jun 2017, 19:44

lawndarter wrote:
So much for that.
In general, such reports/narratives should be always taken with a good pinch of salt.



Thanks again Lawdarter and absolutely right - would be good to know where the Pakistan source got that information from - hope it wasn't just assumed on known limitations of the N008.

Of course the Soviet recount needs us to believe that even though under attack and fired upon by a country that were actively supporting the Mujahideen they were told to knock it off (and after already losing an Su-25) - must be one of the few times they could (almost) legitimately fire and didn't!
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Unread post20 Jun 2017, 00:17

Apparently, the strict order to disengage from the fight had caused a great deal of Russian-style ranting and raving among the aircrews involved. Privalov, Petkov, Bunin and Golosienko in particular were utterly p.o.'d. Or as Petkov later described it "They had them (the Pakistanis) on a silver platter, the Sapfir-23MLA-2 worked as advertised, they wanted to get the kill, but the friggin' top brass decided to chicken out, instead." Sheer frustration.

By design, Soviet interceptors were conceived to operate within a well developed GCI environment. In principle, the MLD was no exception. According to several ex-Soviet/Russian sources, the GCI infrastructure in the Afghan theatre was - at best - "less than rudimental". And the Soviet planners were well aware that the Pakistanis had the hits on their hands - better/denser GCI, hence better overall situational awareness, the proverbial home advantage, shorter approach routes and sginificantly longer loiter times, etc.

The MLD's Sapfir-23MLA-2 radar was a, by Soviet standards, rather sophisticated piece of kit, allowing the MLD to operate "quasi-autonomously" over remote areas...on a limited scale, however. They had to sorta "guessimate" the most probable Pakistani incursion routes, if you will.
Without GCI support, Pakistani F-16s would have faced pretty much the same challenges, and in contrast to the MLDs, they were entirely lacking any BVR capabilities back then.

Apart from what has been written (paper doesn't blush) about the MLD's capabilities by Gordon et al, those who flew them were quite taken with their mounts. Better/safer/more acceptable overall handling, improved manoeuvrability, decent avionics, a capable FCS and a vastly improved reliability, stating in unison: "You gotta know your kinematics, strengths and weaknesses; and despite all the new gizmos, it still takes a truly skilled pilot to fully exploit the aircraft's capabilities."

The MLD was a far cry from its predecessors but one has to admit that the MLD was still suffering from less than carefree handling characteristics, poor visibility from the cockpit, demanding a huge workload from its pilots and still requiring lots of TLC from its maintenance crews.
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Unread post20 Jun 2017, 01:24

Good to hear their accounts - I am not sold on the notion all the Soviet pilots were tied to GCI operation, Alexander Zuyev (Fulcrum) gives accounts of VVS training and he considered them more flexible like Israel - where as sure the PVO were more tied into GCI operation.

Bulgarian Alxander Mladenov in his 2016 book gives a pretty good account of the MLD - they even stuck the G & AoA limiter from the MiG-29 in it (good idea). Bulgaria it seems got the full up N008 and soviet avionics fit including the Nuke wiring. The N008 was vastly upgraded even from the previous version - but appears to be probably a generation behind the MiG-29 radar especially regarding down look processing and methods.

As this shows GCI and AWACs provide far better SA than any crappy radar in a nose can provide - this is a good example of F-16s detecting the MLDs first via better radar coverage and gaining a tactical advantage ( bit unlucky there turned out to be load of them but that is what they got paid for I guess) - by the time the Soviet GCI picked them up they were on the back foot and very lucky not to lose several.

The ability to carry a BVR missile in this era:
A. Doesn't mean you can use it BVR - F-4s spent 97% of their time over Nam in that situation because they couldn't ID what they were firing at. (IFF by itself not usually adequate)
B. Even if you meet the ROE you have to overcome X radar issues and then X amount of missile issues considering the massive list of missiles that missed / failed in 70s/80s/90s the Soviets still had their work cut out even if they got a firing chance.
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Unread post13 Jul 2017, 19:53

It's tempting to trash the Mig 23 for all the reasons given here, but it would be a mistake to dismiss its chances out of hand.

The one story about the Mig-23 that always stuck in my mind was when it was being delivered to Soviet frontal aviation. I recall reading where both the pilots and crew chiefs were wishing for a return to the Mig-21, LOL.

So yes, its visibility was crappy (especially compared to the F-16). And yes, I'd imagine the F-16 would thrash it in any kind of turning fight. The Soviet recommendations for high speed slashing attacks are a tacit admission of this. But with wings swept maximally and that big engine glowing... it looked incredibly fast and there are many stories of its fantastic acceleration.

For the brief period when it carried BVR missiles and the F-16 didn't it stood a halfway decent chance of winning. Somewhat iron though given the Russian ephasis on the fact the dogfight has never left them. Except in the case of the Mig-23 and 25. They returned to their roots in the Mig-29 and SU-27 though, although the real world performance of the Mig-29 being abysmal.

I often wonder just how much a factor that was (real world performance of Mig-23/25 and 29) insofar as Sukhoi surpassing Mig as Russia's top fighter design burea?
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Unread post14 Jul 2017, 00:02

According to the book "Red Eagles: America’s Secret MiGs" by Steve Davies, the Mig-23 had great acceleration (you couldn't catch it with the wings back). However, it was generally considered terrible in everything else.

Even parts of its radar were copied from US Navy F-4J Phantoms (the worlds first in service jet with a radar that could actually look down ((PD))).
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Unread post14 Jul 2017, 10:50

Was mentioned a few posts back - the MiG-23MS they used was a world away from the MiG-23MLD and had an Almaz-23 radar from the MiG-21SM which was also found in some exported MiG-21bis - basically an old pulse radar - could also not carry R-23/24 missiles.
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