MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 Sep 2019, 15:17
by basher54321
Analysis of Soviet flight manual data on the MiG-23ML with some comparisons against data from US flight manuals data for aircraft of that era.

The MiG-23ML was a second generation MiG-23 with a different lightened and higher stressed airframe for better performance. It should represent one of the best performing MiG-23s.

The French author has been flight modelling for many years.

http://www.checksix-fr.com/mig-23ml-fli ... ification/

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 02 Sep 2019, 13:56
by mixelflick
Thanks for posting this, always wondered what the Mig-23 was capable of.

Air combat tells us it was among the worst of Soviet designs, and I believe many a former Soviet front line unit would concur. Still, it had its strong points. Too few though to make a difference, and even well flown models in Iraqi service were thoroughly trounced in Desert Storm. It just never had the right stuff IMO. Sidewinder and Sparrow fodder for F-14's, 15's and 16's around the world...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2019, 12:06
by hornetfinn
MiG-23 is definitely a very interesting aircraft. I think one major reason for less than stellar record is that it came quite late, 10 years later than F-4. But instead it went to service just a few years before F-14/15/16 and F-4s were already upgraded with very good avionics and systems. Mig-23 seemed to have advantage over Mirage F1 in Angola in late 1980s. Of course SAAF Mirages had only IR guided missiles.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 03 Sep 2019, 23:44
by viper12
How dare you introduce a paper with some calculus ? I've seen some guys on these forums claiming to be aeronautical engineers have a heart attack when asked to do basic aerodynamics/physics/calculus. :twisted:

At least he didn't explicitely say the unit for the turn rate on page 9 so we can still have a good laugh when confronting these idiots. :mrgreen:

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 05 Sep 2019, 23:47
by viper12
Actually, there's a typo in the PDF.

A quick dimensional analysis shows that on page 9, omega and R don't have the right units, and these should be :

omega = [g*sqrt(N^2 - 1)]/V
R = V^2/[g*sqrt(N^2 - 1)]

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 08 Sep 2019, 07:34
by laos
Polish air forces had at the same time in the 90s MiG-23 and MiG-21 and preferred to withdraw MiG-23 and continue to operate MiG-21 until the introduction of the F-16. The MiG-23 had tragic ergonomics for the pilot.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2020, 06:52
by nastle
mixelflick wrote:Thanks for posting this, always wondered what the Mig-23 was capable of.

Air combat tells us it was among the worst of Soviet designs, and I believe many a former Soviet front line unit would concur. Still, it had its strong points. Too few though to make a difference, and even well flown models in Iraqi service were thoroughly trounced in Desert Storm. It just never had the right stuff IMO. Sidewinder and Sparrow fodder for F-14's, 15's and 16's around the world...

I BElieve a lot more mig-21 have been shot down than mig-23

mig-23M /MF were quite a capable 3rd gen design but when pitted against IDAF/USAF with 4th gen fighters it obviously suffered a lot.

in desert storm iraqis were also HEAVILY outnumbered by USAF and its allies only like 40 mig-23 and 20 mig-25 vs hundreds of coalition aircraft.I believe to hold its own against a F-15 the mig-23 needs atleast 3.5 to 1 superority, and that too only works in the pre-AMRAAM era.As the AIM7 has the typical SARH limitation of 1 -2 targets at a time.

Similarly in Bekaa valley IDAF had every conceivable advantage better pilots, tactics, recon, ECM, doctrine, leadership, AWACS and more numerous 4th gen fighters.

In early to mid 80s its heyday there were 2100 mig-23 in USSR and it outnumbered almost all 3rd gen NATO fighters [F-4/mirage F1 mostly] by 2.5 to 1.Plus it would be operating in a defensive role within the soviet IADs in battlefield air superority and interception missions.In a few instances when Mig-23 did meet with western opposition on equal terms it did inflict damage on the same scale [F-5/F-4 in iran-iraq war, SAAF Mirage F1].

Just like most migs, mig-23 was custom designed for soviet requirements and not to be used as a stand alone fighter in 3rd world conflicts this is a fundamental design difference from many western jets 60s onwards which were capable of independent operations.To judge it outside of its habitat is not fair to the aircraft , but at the same time we should not overestimate the capabilities of soviet aircraft or think they are superior to western/US aircraft of similar era.

In some ways i feel like mig-23 combat record is tragic like that of F105, pressed into a role it was not designed for and in tactics that exacerbated its faults and did not take advantage of its virtues

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2020, 13:11
by mixelflick
The only reason more Mig-21's were shot down was because there were MANY more Mig-21's produced. You can't even begin to make that argument, given only 5,000 Mig-23's were built vs. more than twice that number (11,496) for the Mig-21. Even more importantly, the Mig-21 flew MANY more sorties given its relative ease of maintenance, quick turnaround etc. vs. the more complex Mig-23, which many air forces who flew both can certainly attest. As such, the Mig-21 also flew in MANY more wars/conflicts.

The Iraqi Air Force may have been out-numbered, but they also had things a lot easier vs. coalition aircraft in many respects. First, they simply had to defend their airspace - not cross into Saudi Arabia/other coalition countries and establish air superiority above it. Second, their pilots had almost 10 years of combat experience vs. virtually none for US/other coalition pilots. Third, I've reviewed no great air battles between US F-15's and Iraqi Mig-23's where F-15's far outnumbered them. The numbers that I've seen were fairly even. Fourth, the Iraqi's may not have had AWACS but they DID have Ground Control Intercept radars, radar operators AND they had home field advantage/flying over their own turf.

The Mig-23's combat record has been abysmal for a reason: It was a poor design on many levels. The Israeli's convincingly waxed every arab Mig-23 they encountered. Ditto for USAF F-15 pilots (and USN Tomcat pilots, vs. Libyan Floggers). Same story with Iranian Tomcat pilots turning Iraqi Mig-23's into spare parts. No matter where it flew, the Mig-23.... sucked.

Sorry, but that's just the way it is. Combat record across the globe is atrocious...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2020, 14:49
by nastle
The only reason more Mig-21's were shot down was because there were MANY more Mig-21's produced. You can't even begin to make that argument, given only 5,000 Mig-23's were built vs. more than twice that number (11,496) for the Mig-21.
only twice as many mig21s vs mig23s

so the number of mig-21 shot down vs mig-23 shot down, is a 2 to 1 ratio ?

a lot of mig-23 downed include the BN ground attack versions and MS [ essentially with mig-21 avionics/missiles]
if you have a break down I would be happy to change my views

no denying fishbed was a much simpler design than flogger , and in many conflicts fishbeds encountered much less sophisticated aircraft and of its generation like f-104, mirage III/5 etc



The Iraqi Air Force may have been out-numbered, but they also had things a lot easier vs. coalition aircraft in many respects. First, they simply had to defend their airspace - not cross into Saudi Arabia/other coalition countries and establish air superiority above it.
Iraq is not a tiny country , look at the size of the border
and the preemptive strikes by coalition forces totally paralyzed their system
Here again you are stating an IMPOSSIBILITY to even think of establishing air superority by iraq in 1991.Even if saudis were ALONE in 1991 they had 60x F-15 and that would have given the entire iraqi airforce a hell of a time
Second, their pilots had almost 10 years of combat experience vs. virtually none for US/other coalition pilots. Third, I've reviewed no great air battles between US F-15's and Iraqi Mig-23's where F-15's far outnumbered them.
Training is a HUGE factor
plus just because they experienced war with iran does not mean they became experts in air warfare , this is not ww2 where iraqis would become like the luftwaffe experten after 8 yrs of combat.It was not a target rich enviorment and although I', sure iraqis had some great pilots too but their experiences were limited considering the low number of air to air kills in that war.
air combat in the iran iraq war was patchy inconsistent and mostly to support ground forces , plus iraqi fighters probably more time hiding from f-14s than actually trying to fight them.

F-15 /AIM-7 was designed to combat a far greater density of floggers , more like 3 to 1 , so that is what I'm saying you would need like 12 x mig-23 to take on a quartet of f-15 with any degree of confidence and AFAIK nothing even close to that happened in 1991

The numbers that I've seen were fairly even. Fourth, the Iraqi's may not have had AWACS but they DID have Ground Control Intercept radars, radar operators AND they had home field advantage/flying over their own turf.
GCI /IADS was not the same available to WP/soviets and it was heavily under attack by coalition aircraft
the shooters may have been evenly matched but coalition had a lot of support aircraft in the air which prvenented the freedom of action of iraqis.For the flogger to be effective against 4th gen aircraft it needs to outnumber them significantly.Against 3rd gen jets it held its own, but it rarely got the chance to fight that kind of war.

The Israeli's convincingly waxed every arab Mig-23 they encountered.
and almost every other arab fighter they met bar none ,look at what israelis say about 1982 , Pollocks book "arabs at war" quoted an israeli general as saying it was not the equipement alone that caused such one sided results

Same story with Iranian Tomcat pilots turning Iraqi Mig-23's into spare parts.
F-14 is a FAR superior aircraft and with a killer ARH AIM-54, no fighter iraqis had stood a chance against it.For that matter F-14 is much more lethal at long ranges due to its active radar homing missiles than even the F-15/mirage 2000

still mig-23 and mirage f1 shot it down a couple of times with the right tactics

nobody is denying there were a LOT of problems with mig-23 [design flaws , maintenance, cockpit ergonomics, armament , agility] and worst of all was timing [ essentially a generation behind the contemporary fighters in NATO] but these faults are magnified by situation under which it was employed by airforces which used it according to their own doctrine e.g iraqi pilots were not following soviet approach to defending airspace in 1991 they had a lot of influences like indian, french etc they had neither the numbers equipment or doctrine to use the flogger B/G as intended.Soviets were far behind the west in tech and they produced fighters that could perform the minimum of roles within a narrow spectrum and play to their strengths.Their aircraft [except the most basic ones like mig-15/17] would always be inferior to West's fighters in a head to head comparison.Look at Mig-21 vs F-4C/D
F-18 vs Mig-29
Su-27 vs F-15
they were all markedly inferior to comparable western types
MIg-23MLD being a 3 rd gen + aircraft was still much inferior to F-4E
They needed other factors like numbers to compensate for this inferiority
so yes all modern soviet fighters "sucked" compared to similar western types in a 1 on 1 comparison

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2020, 17:28
by madrat
They did something right with MiG-23 or else there would not have been so many made. No doubt the monkey models got their heads handed to them, but there is a big discrepancy between technologies in the wars they participated within. The MiG-23 wasn't meant for the era of dogfights, but instead running out to intercept fighter-bombers and guide missiles at them. They really were in a similar vein to BAC Lightning except using radar-guided missiles conceived under a bit newer concept. Think how much better the design would have been if they had stellar basing conditions, worked under gentler maintenance schedules, and using more reliable fuel and lubricants. Flogger could have been multi-role as they were using an under-appreciated motor that could have done so much more than interceptions.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2020, 09:29
by milosh
mixelflick wrote:The Mig-23's combat record has been abysmal for a reason: It was a poor design on many levels. The Israeli's convincingly waxed every arab Mig-23 they encountered. Ditto for USAF F-15 pilots (and USN Tomcat pilots, vs. Libyan Floggers). Same story with Iranian Tomcat pilots turning Iraqi Mig-23's into spare parts. No matter where it flew, the Mig-23.... sucked.


We get those Arabs to educate in our military schools during Cold war, and our folks have impression arab's pov was if target is hit it is God's will and not expertise of pilot/solider, so they didn't bother lot to train good. And those were Arab's officiers!

So using Arabs as some example how bad soviet tech is not so logical.

Btw look how bad MiG-21 was when Arabs used it and when Vietnamese used it.

Also don't forget, biggest problem for Soviets was american bomber fleet so they couldn't design fighters as west did. Their fighters need to have nice anti bomber capability, good example of anti bomber capability which reduce fighter capability was Korean's MiG-15. It had two 23mm and one 37mm, if you setup gun sight for 23mm you can't use 37mm precise and vise versa, 37mm was very useless in dogfights if we exclude phispological effect it wasn't easy when slow 37mm round fly pass you.

So if Soviets design MiG-15 as F-86 was design (to fight fighters) they will instead of one 37mm put two 23mm so they would increase fighter dogfight fire power two times.

Later you can see similar story with MiG-23 and MiG-25 which were armed with huge longer ranged missiles which are really useful against bomber targets.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2020, 12:42
by nastle
just to give an example almost similar number of mig-23Ms and Mirage F1s were shot down F-15C during the gulf war of 1991

Mirage F1 was a superb 3rd gen aircraft better than mig-23 in many respects but it was helpless in the face of onslaught unleashed by coalition air forces

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2020, 14:40
by mixelflick
Nothing you say is going to convince me the Mig-23 was a good fighter. NOTHING.

It was barely adequate, nevermind good. When Soviet units that were flying Mig-21's got 23's, they quickly wished they had their 21's back. Ditto for many foreign operators. That speaks volumes, don't you think? I just love how all the same tired, old excuses are rolled out for Russian equipment's poor combat record. For aircraft like the Mig-23, it usually goes something like this..

1.) They were export models, what did you expect!?
2.) They were flown by monkeys, of course they got trounced!
3.) They didn't have AWACS! Surely if they did, they would have prevailed!!
4.) They were poorly maintained! If they took better care of them, they would have won!

And on and on and on. Just insert the name of any Mig here, and it's the same old story. Mig-21, 23, 25, 29. Just re-arrange a few numbers, the end result is the same.

When you have a combat record with more wins vs. losses, you can come talk to me. Until then, it's all BS...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2020, 16:12
by madrat
We know Warpact operators of MiG-23 wanted MiG-21's back because the export models were that bad. But I've yet to see MiG-21 be preferred over MiG-23 by sources from former Soviet forces.

The Russian aggressors in their training flew MiG-23s effectively against MiG-29s and Su-27s. The MiG-23 was a rocket compared to the MiG-21. So I am not sure where this bias from Soviets for MiG-21 would have came from.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2020, 17:16
by nastle
mixelflick wrote:Nothing you say is going to convince me the Mig-23 was a good fighter. NOTHING.

It was barely adequate, nevermind good. When Soviet units that were flying Mig-21's got 23's, they quickly wished they had their 21's back. Ditto for many foreign operators. That speaks volumes, don't you think? I just love how all the same tired, old excuses are rolled out for Russian equipment's poor combat record. For aircraft like the Mig-23, it usually goes something like this..

1.) They were export models, what did you expect!?
2.) They were flown by monkeys, of course they got trounced!
3.) They didn't have AWACS! Surely if they did, they would have prevailed!!
4.) They were poorly maintained! If they took better care of them, they would have won!

And on and on and on. Just insert the name of any Mig here, and it's the same old story. Mig-21, 23, 25, 29. Just re-arrange a few numbers, the end result is the same.

When you have a combat record with more wins vs. losses, you can come talk to me. Until then, it's all BS...

Here is the problem, you are too ideological about it.
I clearly say that all western aircraft were superior to all contemporary MIGS
You are assuming the rest and extrapolating based on your preconceived notions maybe due to your interaction with russian fanboys [ who are clearly very annoying and offer irrational reasons for inferiority of Russian jets]
We can just agree to disagree.
That being said lets not jump go the other extreme with Clancy like fiction either where everything that soviets make is make is a piece of junk and cannon fodder for western fighters.
As Ben Shapiro will say "facts not emotions" and we can arrive at a much more balanced conclusion.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 11 Apr 2020, 18:45
by milosh
mixelflick wrote:And on and on and on. Just insert the name of any Mig here, and it's the same old story. Mig-21, 23, 25, 29. Just re-arrange a few numbers, the end result is the same.

When you have a combat record with more wins vs. losses, you can come talk to me. Until then, it's all BS...


25 was quite good if you look how little MiG-25P Iraq had and what they do with them. In 1990, IRAF had less then 20 MiG-25 of all variants. For example Soviets had 350 MiG-25P in 1990 of which 150 MiG-25PD and 200 MiG-25PDS.

MiG-29 can't be judge well because IRAF got them no much before ODS and they didn't get R-73 which make big difference. Without R-73, MiG-29 is heavy penalized against F-15 and even F-16, because it need to use tiny R-60 so it need to get almost in F-15/16 tail to be able to score hit while F-15/16 with much better latest AIM-9 versions had nice range advantage.

MiG-23 on other hand wasn't great plane no matter what version we are looking. It was great for era when it was design but that era was gone fast with 4gen fighters. Soviets though did try to fix poor dogfight capability by provide R-73 but without helmet mounted sight it wasn't that effective and even with HMS it is questionable because of very poor cockpit visibility.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2020, 01:17
by nastle
milosh wrote:
mixelflick wrote:And on and on and on. Just insert the name of any Mig here, and it's the same old story. Mig-21, 23, 25, 29. Just re-arrange a few numbers, the end result is the same.

When you have a combat record with more wins vs. losses, you can come talk to me. Until then, it's all BS...


. For example Soviets had 350 MiG-25P in 1990 of which 150 MiG-25PD and 200 MiG-25PDS.

.

thanks for the numbers of mig-25, can you please let me know your source

as I found some issues here e.g Military balance 1989-1990 gives number of > 400 in 1988-1990 period
yet yefim gordon states 104 PD were built 300 or so were converted from P to PDS, if this includes exports to iraq syria libya and algeria then soviet PVO/VVS probably had no more than 300
can you help clarify this ?

regarding mig23 its interesting that the soviets in early 80s DECREASED the number of tactical fighters in the frontline VVS regiments based in east Europe [probably recognizing that the mig23 was no match for the F-15] and increased the number of strike fighters [su-24/mig-27].They probably were planning to send these tactical bombers unescorted in case of war with NATO and keeping mig23s only for defense and not for escort missions.Obviously I'm just speculating not sure, maybe you can shed some light on this ? appreciate it

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 12 Apr 2020, 19:25
by milosh
I don't have exact numbers I saw those numbers in text about MiG-25P, ~150 new build MiG-25PD and 200 upgraded PDS for Soviet air defense. So ~300 PDS are with export upgrades.

Reducing MiG-23 numbers is logical, MiG-29 production was in full swing, it was 4gen, it can use R-73 to its maximum, had R-27R which were lot more useful in fighter vs fighter then R-23 which MiG-23 was use even in late 80s, only in 90s MiG did developed MiG-23-98 which is compatible with R-27R.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2020, 15:00
by f-16adf
Steve Ritchie comments on the MIg-21 at the 46:20 mark of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WkjdZHkOIY


Also, Alexander Zuyev on pg 123 (and in other areas of his book "Fulcrum") describes the Mig-23, here is one example in his own words: "Even though the Mig-23 was a bastard of an airplane to master, I qualified as a Third Class pilot on the aircraft in August 1983." Additionally, the books "Red Eagles"by Steve Davies and "America's Secret Mig Squadron"by Gail Peck - both give rather unfavorable reviews of Mig-23's handling characteristics.


I think the Mig-23 was the resultant of the milieu of the time. The mid-60's were typically when Variable Geometry was a rather popular aircraft design (though not all had it). Yet, VG has some good points -and- bad points. One thing, I highly doubt (as described in that paper on pg. 22) the Mig-23 (any model) would equal or better the F-14A Tomcat most notably if both jets are at 50% internal fuel and near equal AAM load-out in the compared turning parameter.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2020, 21:19
by nastle
f-16adf wrote:Steve Ritchie comments on the MIg-21 at the 46:20 mark of this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WkjdZHkOIY


Also, Alexander Zuyev on pg 123 (and in other areas of his book "Fulcrum") describes the Mig-23, here is one example in his own words: "Even though the Mig-23 was a bastard of an airplane to master, I qualified as a Third Class pilot on the aircraft in August 1983." Additionally, the books "Red Eagles"by Steve Davies and "America's Secret Mig Squadron"by Gail Peck - both give rather unfavorable reviews of Mig-23's handling characteristics.


I think the Mig-23 was the resultant of the milieu of the time. The mid-60's were typically when Variable Geometry was a rather popular aircraft design (though not all had it). Yet, VG has some good points -and- bad points. One thing, I highly doubt (as described in that paper on pg. 22) the Mig-23 (any model) would equal or better the F-14A Tomcat most notably if both jets are at 50% internal fuel and near equal AAM load-out in the compared turning parameter.


F-14 was light years ahead of Mig-23 any variant

The biggest advantage of Flogger B/G was numbers, if soviets had produced 1000+ more of the fighters in the 1978-1983 period they would have put NATO/CHina at a serious disadvantage.
But they only built 1350 M, 1200 ML and 321 P versions for domestic use which was barely sufficent for European units

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2020, 09:30
by hornetfinn
I think the main problem for MiG-23 was that it was one of the later 3rd gen fighters to enter widespread use. Only Saab JA39 Viggen came slightly later. Of course the Chinese J-8II came later and was pretty much the last 3rd gen fighter to enter service, although it was a very heavy modification of original 1960's J-8.

But anyway MiG-23M was the first truly mass produced MiG-23 variant and it entered service in 1973 IIRC. Earlier variants were very underwhelming like MiG-23S with MiG-21bis avionics and weapons. Then a more refined MiG-23ML came in late 1970s. By then about 5,000 F-4s had been produced and it had been in service for almost 20 years. Also F-14, F-15 and F-16 became operational at about the same time or even earlier. MiG-23 was definitely not very competitive with the first two, especially when it came to avionics and maneuverability. F-16 didn't initially have any BVR missiles, but was otherwise much superior all around.

I've thought about how the Soviets could've done things differently with MiG-23. They could not do much better avionics systems at the time, but maybe they should've opted for more traditional design like F-4, Saab Viggen or Mirage F1. That would've been cheaper and easier to maintain.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2020, 12:13
by madrat
Su-19 was an interceptor with two seats that evolved into a fighter-bomber, in the same era. So it's not like they didn't think about it. Soviet design houses built whatever Central Planning required. MiG-23 was designed to be what it was and then they abandoned it for the next new thing. Soviet procurement was schizophrenic because leadership lopped off the heads of free thinkers. Safe, albeit flawed designs built around unsound assumptions, ruled the day. If you thought MiG-23 was bad, look at their car industry during the period.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2020, 12:37
by hornetfinn
What I was really interesting was the fact that they manufactured and operated two almost identical fighter-bombers in MiG-27 and Su-17 at the same time. But IMO, the MiG-27 was the best MiG-23 variant and one where the basic design and layout worked better than in fighter version.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2020, 14:10
by nastle
hornetfinn wrote:What I was really interesting was the fact that they manufactured and operated two almost identical fighter-bombers in MiG-27 and Su-17 at the same time. But IMO, the MiG-27 was the best MiG-23 variant and one where the basic design and layout worked better than in fighter version.

I always wondered that too , if they already had the su-17 by mid 70s it would have been much better to just keep that for CAS and focus on the su-19/24 for the deep strike /interdiction role .What purpose mig27 served which su17/24 cannot ?
They could have built the mig-23mL a little earlier and far greater quantities then.

They could not do much better avionics systems at the time, but maybe they should've opted for more traditional design like F-4, Saab Viggen or Mirage F1. That would've been cheaper and easier to maintain.

with engines available to them do you think an airframe like F1/viggen would have given the same high speed performance/low speed handling ?

F-16 didn't initially have any BVR missiles, but was otherwise much superior all around.

why were they not given AIM-7 , even turkeys F-16C didnt have them ?
but egypt got its C in 1986 with AIM-7

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2020, 15:38
by basher54321
nastle wrote:why were they not given AIM-7 , even turkeys F-16C didnt have them ?
but egypt got its C in 1986 with AIM-7




AIM-7s were not originally on F-16s because there was no requirement (aka political reasons). So no AIM-7 - instead AMRAAM was part of the program and was supposed to be in service by 1985 but got delayed a tad. The ADF case was a one off special requirement.

Looking doubtful Egypt had them that early on their Block 32s considering AIM-7 was not flight tested and certified on F-16C by GD until 1989. Would be good if there was more from the Egyptian side on their early (or any) operation.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 14 Apr 2020, 18:40
by milosh
hornetfinn wrote:I've thought about how the Soviets could've done things differently with MiG-23. They could not do much better avionics systems at the time, but maybe they should've opted for more traditional design like F-4, Saab Viggen or Mirage F1. That would've been cheaper and easier to maintain.


If there wasn't such huge hype about speed they would probable go with MiG E-8, which would be MiG-21 evolution:
https://www.testpilot.ru/russia/mikoyan/e/8/e8_e.htm

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2020, 08:46
by hornetfinn
nastle wrote:
hornetfinn wrote: They could not do much better avionics systems at the time, but maybe they should've opted for more traditional design like F-4, Saab Viggen or Mirage F1. That would've been cheaper and easier to maintain.

with engines available to them do you think an airframe like F1/viggen would have given the same high speed performance/low speed handling ?


I'm thinking basically a fixed wing variant of MiG-23 with same engine, body and avionics. That would likely mean somewhat longer take-off and landing distances and slightly lower high speed performance. I think they could've lived with those things if that brings the costs and maintenance requirements down. Saab Viggen had even better take-off and landing distances due to lower weight, about equal thrust and large canards. It wasn't even that much slower than MiG-23.

nastle wrote:
F-16 didn't initially have any BVR missiles, but was otherwise much superior all around.

why were they not given AIM-7 , even turkeys F-16C didnt have them ?
but egypt got its C in 1986 with AIM-7


Gums has said that F-16s basically just lacked the CW illuminator to use AIM-7s. Those were added to later F-16 variants and modifications. But early on MiG-23ML had the advantage of having actual BVR weapon in service. Of course F-16 was better in almost all other ways besides top speed.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2020, 08:48
by hornetfinn
milosh wrote:
hornetfinn wrote:I've thought about how the Soviets could've done things differently with MiG-23. They could not do much better avionics systems at the time, but maybe they should've opted for more traditional design like F-4, Saab Viggen or Mirage F1. That would've been cheaper and easier to maintain.


If there wasn't such huge hype about speed they would probable go with MiG E-8, which would be MiG-21 evolution:
https://www.testpilot.ru/russia/mikoyan/e/8/e8_e.htm


Now that is very interesting looking MiG-21 evolution. It looks like something I was thinking about.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2020, 12:41
by madrat
It would have taken more than a big wing to change the course of development. Soviet engines had good power high and fast, not low and slow. The swingwing was because they didn't have the torque to pull out of a hole. Maybe when Al-31 matured they could have done that, but we're talking maybe 15 years. So we're talking a bigger front stage on the motor. Big decrease in top end speed. A focus on different handling characteristics. A whole new plane. Not even a plane in the same vein as MiG-23PD.

Maybe if Ye-8 led to a MiG-23 sized plane with low aspect main wing and strong control surfaces in the tail and foreplanes. You are probably looking at something that resembles China's J-10. But even then you don't have the actuator power of western aircraft at the time. The Soviets really lagged behind there. And you're talking a larger foreplane relative to Ye-8 to support the radar. Soviet designs pushed the slim shape necessary for high speeds, so even with these changes you are still talking about a design with no hope to turn with an F-16.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2020, 14:59
by mixelflick
milosh wrote:
mixelflick wrote:And on and on and on. Just insert the name of any Mig here, and it's the same old story. Mig-21, 23, 25, 29. Just re-arrange a few numbers, the end result is the same.

When you have a combat record with more wins vs. losses, you can come talk to me. Until then, it's all BS...


25 was quite good if you look how little MiG-25P Iraq had and what they do with them. In 1990, IRAF had less then 20 MiG-25 of all variants. For example Soviets had 350 MiG-25P in 1990 of which 150 MiG-25PD and 200 MiG-25PDS.

MiG-29 can't be judge well because IRAF got them no much before ODS and they didn't get R-73 which make big difference. Without R-73, MiG-29 is heavy penalized against F-15 and even F-16, because it need to use tiny R-60 so it need to get almost in F-15/16 tail to be able to score hit while F-15/16 with much better latest AIM-9 versions had nice range advantage.

MiG-23 on other hand wasn't great plane no matter what version we are looking. It was great for era when it was design but that era was gone fast with 4gen fighters. Soviets though did try to fix poor dogfight capability by provide R-73 but without helmet mounted sight it wasn't that effective and even with HMS it is questionable because of very poor cockpit visibility.


I agree with virtually all of this, but in particular the points about the Mig-25 and 23. Had the Mig-25 pilots been more numerous and some luck been on their side, air superiority may not have been so easily won by the coalition. For a 3rd generation design tasked with combating 4th gen fighters, it put up an admirable showing. It even scored a kill the first night of the war, Capt. Scott Speicher's F/A-18C. That's a huge feather in its cap IMO, especially given the F/A-18C was a full generation ahead.

Your points about the Mig-23 just validate my own thoughts on the aircraft. No matter who flew it/what version, they invariably wound up trounced...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 15 Apr 2020, 15:07
by mixelflick
hornetfinn wrote:What I was really interesting was the fact that they manufactured and operated two almost identical fighter-bombers in MiG-27 and Su-17 at the same time. But IMO, the MiG-27 was the best MiG-23 variant and one where the basic design and layout worked better than in fighter version.


THIS..

As woeful a design as I think the Mig-23 was, its ultimate expression was the Mig-27. This, given the Mig-23 was never going to have the qualities necessary to be a successful fighter. Instead, Mig's design team astutely went about optimizing it for air to ground work, and on that score it excelled IMO. It was really fast, especially down low. It could operate out of short/damaged airfields. It could carry a wide variety of air to ground weapons, had a very powerful cannon and acceptable range.

More importantly, as long as you respected its limits - its pilots thought a lot about it. This is the true test IMO, what do the pilots who must fly and fight in it think? Witness here, Indian Mig-27 pilot interview....

https://hushkit.net/2018/08/15/flying-a ... mig-pilot/

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 16 Apr 2020, 14:08
by nastle
THIS..

As woeful a design as I think the Mig-23 was, its ultimate expression was the Mig-27. This, given the Mig-23 was never going to have the qualities necessary to be a successful fighter. Instead, Mig's design team astutely went about optimizing it for air to ground work, and on that score it excelled IMO
.

mig-27 was being produced in large quantities by mid 70s , same time the Mig23M was peaking its production and ML production was starting
So if they had realized that it was such a failure by mid 70s they would not have produced almost 1800 more of them.
Mig-23M was neccessary to give the VVS speed/range/weapons capbility of 3rd gen badly needed in that era and esp to counter the huge proliferation of mirages/F-4s in NATO and its allies surrounding USSR.

It could operate out of short/damaged airfields.
didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?
It could carry a wide variety of air to ground weapons, had a very powerful cannon
cannon on mig27 was unneccesary IMHO, too large and messy and only 300 rounds
better to use those downward firing gunpods like those carried by SU17s
More importantly, as long as you respected its limits - its pilots thought a lot about it. This is the true test IMO, what do the pilots who must fly and fight in it think? Witness here, Indian Mig-27 pilot interview....

https://hushkit.net/2018/08/15/flying-a ... mig-pilot/[/quote]

im sure mig-27 was a decent plane for its time and budget but I would be skeptical of pilot interviews as the most objective unbiased source of information.Suffice to say india bought the Jaguar with the mig-27 to complement it in the deep strike role

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2020, 16:17
by mixelflick
nastle wrote:THIS..

As woeful a design as I think the Mig-23 was, its ultimate expression was the Mig-27. This, given the Mig-23 was never going to have the qualities necessary to be a successful fighter. Instead, Mig's design team astutely went about optimizing it for air to ground work, and on that score it excelled IMO
.

mig-27 was being produced in large quantities by mid 70s , same time the Mig23M was peaking its production and ML production was starting
So if they had realized that it was such a failure by mid 70s they would not have produced almost 1800 more of them.
Mig-23M was neccessary to give the VVS speed/range/weapons capbility of 3rd gen badly needed in that era and esp to counter the huge proliferation of mirages/F-4s in NATO and its allies surrounding USSR.

A. They didn't realize until later (circa 1982) what a miserable failure it was, given its record. For example, here's the Mig-23's air to air combat record below. You can see here the party really got rolling in 1982. 105 losses vs. just 25 or so kills - it's record speaks for itself.

SOURCE: Migflug.com

Syrian border clashes 1974-1981 (Syria) 3-2-0
[b]Lebanon War 1982 (Syria) 1-30-[/b]
Israeli UAV shootdown 2002 (Syria) 1-0-0
Iran-Iraq War (Iraq) 16-56
Gulf War (Iraq) 0-8-0
NFZs (Iraq) 0-1-0
Gulf of Sidra 1989 (Libya) 0-2-0
Egypt-Libya Border War (Libya) 0-2
Soviet-Afghan War (USSR) 0-3
Iran-Afghan border violations (USSR) 4-0-0
Ethiopian-Eritrean War (Ethiopia) 0-1
Angola Bush War (Cuba) 0-0-0

So if you knew you had a fighter that was losing 77% of all air to air fights, you're calling that a winner? Frankly, if I were Mig I would have buried my head in the sand out of pure shame.

It could operate out of short/damaged airfields.
didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?

A. I don't know. Possibly so, given Soviet airframes are all built with a very sturdy undercarriage.

It could carry a wide variety of air to ground weapons, had a very powerful cannon
cannon on mig27 was unneccesary IMHO, too large and messy and only 300 rounds
better to use those downward firing gunpods like those carried by SU17s

A. Somebody didn't agree with this. And likely those somebody's being its designers, pilots or maintainers - I'm betting there's a reason they kept that powerful cannon. FYI Soviet designs never featured as many rounds as their American counterparts. 300 rounds was actually quite generous vs. other aircraft of the time.

More importantly, as long as you respected its limits - its pilots thought a lot about it. This is the true test IMO, what do the pilots who must fly and fight in it think? Witness here, Indian Mig-27 pilot interview....

https://hushkit.net/2018/08/15/flying-a ... mig-pilot/

im sure mig-27 was a decent plane for its time and budget but I would be skeptical of pilot interviews as the most objective unbiased source of information.Suffice to say india bought the Jaguar with the mig-27 to complement it in the deep strike role[/quote]

A. Why skeptical? The Mig-27 pilot had no incentive to lie, especially this late in his career. Manufacturers and governments do though, given they're trying to sell the aircraft. Fanboys too, although that's far more prevelant in current/competing designs vs. aircraft who's day has passed...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2020, 20:53
by basher54321
nastle wrote:didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?


Early 1960s MiG-23 requirements included a dirt field capability and it looks to have been trialed on unpaved runways at least.

It had a STOL requirement as well which was one reason for VG wings.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2020, 22:43
by nastle
A. They didn't realize until later (circa 1982) what a miserable failure it was, given its record. For example, here's the Mig-23's air to air combat record below. You can see here the party really got rolling in 1982. 105 losses vs. just 25 or so kills - it's record speaks for itself.

SOURCE: Migflug.com

Syrian border clashes 1974-1981 (Syria) 3-2-0
[b]Lebanon War 1982 (Syria) 1-30-[/b]
Israeli UAV shootdown 2002 (Syria) 1-0-0
Iran-Iraq War (Iraq) 16-56
Gulf War (Iraq) 0-8-0
NFZs (Iraq) 0-1-0
Gulf of Sidra 1989 (Libya) 0-2-0
Egypt-Libya Border War (Libya) 0-2
Soviet-Afghan War (USSR) 0-3
Iran-Afghan border violations (USSR) 4-0-0
Ethiopian-Eritrean War (Ethiopia) 0-1
Angola Bush War (Cuba) 0-0-0

So if you knew you had a fighter that was losing 77% of all air to air fights, you're calling that a winner? Frankly, if I were Mig I would have buried my head in the sand out of pure shame.


no the issue was you claimed that mig-27 was designed as mikoyan team knew mig23 was going to be so bad as a fighter but it is obvious mig27 production was in full swing BEFORE even the later mig23 variants appeared and much before the disaster of 1982.So its clear Mikoyan was going to make the strike variant regardless how the fighter turned out.
so why did soviets go for two VG strike aircraft [su17 and mig27] with almost same specs , warload, requiremnets ? I'm not sure maybe soviet internal politics had something to do with this OR
soviets needed a lot of strike platforms from mutiple companies URGENTLY in 70s and sukhoi with 17/24 could not fulfill the requiremnet [ seems unlikely though]





A. Somebody didn't agree with this. And likely those somebody's being its designers, pilots or maintainers - I'm betting there's a reason they kept that powerful cannon. FYI Soviet designs never featured as many rounds as their American counterparts. 300 rounds was actually quite generous vs. other aircraft of the time.
https://aviationnewz.com/russia-learned ... -powerful/
see also mig23/27 yefim/kommiserov pg 345-347 for details on problems with this beast of a weapon
for air ro air work yes much lower rounds can suffice but mig27 cannon was probably not intended for it and most importantly flogger J/K main job was to have one go at high speed low level with PGM at NATO airfields , radars , depots. etc.A lot of these strikers would not survive long enough to make a second pass so such a specialized cannon makes little sense.It does not need to go chasing infantry and trucks with cannon a much more secondary role maybe suitable for 3rd world nations like sri lanka and during cold war mig27 was not widely exported

A. Why skeptical? The Mig-27 pilot had no incentive to lie, especially this late in his career. Manufacturers and governments do though, given they're trying to sell the aircraft. Fanboys too, although that's far more prevelant in current/competing designs vs. aircraft who's day has passed...
its not lying but reporting bias
kind of like when a guy marries his high school sweetheart and 30 yrs later still thinks she is the "best girl ever" , as he does not know any better.
That being said mig-27 offered
1-limited all weather capability
2-heavy use of PGM
3-low level attack capability and was a quantum leap for the VVS in 1970s

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 17 Apr 2020, 22:44
by nastle
basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?


Early 1960s MiG-23 requirements included a dirt field capability and it looks to have been trialed on unpaved runways at least.

It had a STOL requirement as well which was one reason for VG wings.

indeed just like mig-29

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2020, 12:23
by mixelflick
nastle wrote:
basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:didnt the flogger B/G have the same capability ?


Early 1960s MiG-23 requirements included a dirt field capability and it looks to have been trialed on unpaved runways at least.

It had a STOL requirement as well which was one reason for VG wings.

indeed just like mig-29


You have to hand it to them here, their aircraft are rugged. Why Western designs are so different in comparison is beyond me. In the European theater, were we really expecting that our airfields would remain in pristine condition? Or that we'd have the luxury of having a team of conscripts walk the length of a runway multiple times per day, to ensure there's no FOD?

It's been said that Western aircraft are designed like fine Swiss watches, and that Russian aircraft are designed... like tanks. With few exceptions, I'd have to agree with that statement. I just wonder how much it would have mattered in the real world. The conflict in Europe never materialized, but it did in the middle/far east, and NATO aircraft haven't had any issues. Of course, these are yesterday's conflicts.

The Chinese probably won't be affording us the same luxury...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 18 Apr 2020, 16:01
by nastle
mixelflick wrote:
You have to hand it to them here, their aircraft are rugged. Why Western designs are so different in comparison is beyond me. In the European theater, were we really expecting that our airfields would remain in pristine condition? Or that we'd have the luxury of having a team of conscripts walk the length of a runway multiple times per day, to ensure there's no FOD?

It's been said that Western aircraft are designed like fine Swiss watches, and that Russian aircraft are designed... like tanks. With few exceptions, I'd have to agree with that statement. I just wonder how much it would have mattered in the real world. The conflict in Europe never materialized, but it did in the middle/far east, and NATO aircraft haven't had any issues. Of course, these are yesterday's conflicts.

The Chinese probably won't be affording us the same luxury...

i cannot comment on contemporary issues [post cold war ] as i have no knowledge of it

but wrt cold war era i think we overestimated the soviets in some regards and underestimated them in others

its impossible to predict what would have happened in a ww3 scenario in europe , safe to say soviets seemed well prepared for a short 7-10 day period of [conventional weapons only ]hostilities not just in air but even in sea look at the configuration of their ships [e.g most rocket cruisers are one shot vessels ] beyond that short period in war they probably had not much hope their more complex weapons could be maintained by a conscript force so they didnt spend much time or money making it uber sophisticated but that was not neccesarily a good or bad thing it all depends on the situation.
Also explains why soviet weapons were designed for the big conventional [or nonconventional if it occurs] war and not really suited in "brushfire wars ", it reminds me of AIMVAL/ACEVAL trials when in a 1 vs 1 fights the blue sophisticated fighters won like 64 to 0 .When multiple fighters on both sides got involved the kill to loss ratio dropped to like 2 to 1

Western weapons were built more to last longer and have more combat endurance and it served them well in smaller conflicts [ i would add arab israeli wars as they involved only a few hundred aircrafts at most at a time].Furthermore western doctine was more to estbalish naval/air supremacy and soviets were more focused on short term goals i.e gain temporary air dominance to strike at intended targets and then retreat, similarly at sea they were all about sea denial and not much sea control.Not because soviets were so clever just that they did not have the sophisticated weapon platforms like west had for power projection.Furthermore soviet logistics might not function after a week or 10 days in face of relentless NATO attacks so a lot of their doctrine is based on practical necessity.
unique geography of ussr, inferiority of their electronics/sensors and military political objectives weigh in as well .Danger always was what was described by some writers as "mirror imaging" when we expected soviets to act similarly in situations as a western commander would or when we expected their weapon systems to be a counter to ours in a 1 on 1 basis.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2020, 15:52
by mixelflick
Given the numbers involved, I always thought the Soviets would over-run NATO. I think NATO thought that too, which is why we maintained such a powerful tactical nuclear punch in Europe. The Pershing II's and GLCM's were the ultimate extension of this, although the free fall nuclear gravity bomb mission still survives... as evidenced by the Germans recent decision on buying more Typhoons/SH's and Growlers..

The Soviets too of course, maintained the nuclear backstop. Frighteningly, they also thought that tactical, limited nuclear exchanges were permissable. I'm grateful we never had to find out, as I'm sure one side or the other would have resorted to that in the event their conventional forces failed them.

The Pershing II in particular scared the hell out of them. If memory serves, it put Moscow at risk and even with their formidable ABM shield - they couldn't be certain just one would get through. Scary times, although Reagan's philosophy of negotiating from a position of strength like that was ultimately justified. We agreed to remove the Pershing II/GLCM's, they agreed to remove their SS-20's.

Then they lost the whole damn cold war. A good history lesson, for presidents (who shall remain nameless) that gut the military, then lead from behind by flying all over the world and aplogizing for America...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2020, 18:04
by madrat
The Cold War ended when they reached a deficit greater than the GDP, fracturing allegiances throughout their society. It was an internal breakdown, not an external force, that lost the Cold War. The lesson was as much about military power as it was about holding control within society. China has taken the lesson by co-opting American and Western European societies, creating a counter cultural influence in the same vein. It also has nothing to do with MiG-23ML so we can pretty much stop there.

The MiG-23ML was proofed against EMP effects. In an era where US development got fancy, they went the opposite route. In a nuclear exchange during the 70's to early 80's, the West would have needed to go down a similar route. EMP protection became a major focal point by the mid-80s, once again creating a big edge over the Soviet designs even under limited nuclear exchanges. But the Soviets intended to win in a blitzkrieg, not to play tit for tat. The MiG-23ML was designed around that doctrine and it more than likely would have worked. The Soviet doctrine was about mobility and forward basing of tactical aircraft.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2020, 19:16
by mixelflick
madrat wrote:The Cold War ended when they reached a deficit greater than the GDP, fracturing allegiances throughout their society. It was an internal breakdown, not an external force, that lost the Cold War. The lesson was as much about military power as it was about holding control within society. China has taken the lesson by co-opting American and Western European societies, creating a counter cultural influence in the same vein. It also has nothing to do with MiG-23ML so we can pretty much stop there.

The MiG-23ML was proofed against EMP effects. In an era where US development got fancy, they went the opposite route. In a nuclear exchange during the 70's to early 80's, the West would have needed to go down a similar route. EMP protection became a major focal point by the mid-80s, once again creating a big edge over the Soviet designs even under limited nuclear exchanges. But the Soviets intended to win in a blitzkrieg, not to play tit for tat. The MiG-23ML was designed around that doctrine and it more than likely would have worked. The Soviet doctrine was about mobility and forward basing of tactical aircraft.


And what drove that deficit?

Military spending, trying to keep up with Reagan's arms buildup. In particular, SDI...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 19 Apr 2020, 22:42
by madrat
Actually we crippled their gas economy by feeding their double agents bad gas pipeline software. That was what turned out to be the proverbial prick that broke the camels back which directly led to the bleeding out of the Soviet machine's economic cohesiveness. Their budget deficits were not much worse than our own. But when their alliance disintegrated so did their world-wide appeal for exports of material like MiG-23ML. There was a time where you could literally buy hundreds of them for scrap value. It wasn't that they were impossibly bad, it was the sheer volume of overhead that would have been necessary to get them back into shape for sustainment. The ex-Soviet maintainers wanted hard currency, which was always in short supply in countries that aligned with the Soviets. And so the former Soviet bloc literally shopped everything on the world market looking for that hard currency, which meant scrapping everything they could get their hands on. The only countries able to keep MiG-23ML alive already had stockpiles of parts, quickly secured parts being sold as scrap, or they literally had no source to get them.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 27 Apr 2020, 14:28
by ovod
madrat wrote:
The MiG-23ML was proofed against EMP effects.


have you got a source for that?

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 27 Apr 2020, 14:30
by ovod
madrat wrote:Actually we crippled their gas economy by feeding their double agents bad gas pipeline software.


Recently debunked.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 27 Apr 2020, 20:56
by milosh
mixelflick wrote:Why Western designs are so different in comparison is beyond me. In the European theater, were we really expecting that our airfields would remain in pristine condition? Or that we'd have the luxury of having a team of conscripts walk the length of a runway multiple times per day, to ensure there's no FOD?


Soviets learn to win battles without air power. Germans and also Allies rely on air power lot more in WW2. Germans influence NATO tactic against Soviets too much, feeding US and UK with BSing, because German generals were advisors for NATO and wouldn't want to accept they were outsmarted so they blamed Hitler and Soviet never ending reserves as reason they lost.

Hitler saved German army at end of 1941 ordering not to reateat even though generals want to retreat, if they start retreat when Soviet counter offensive begin they would be overrun.

Soviets only in late 1943 had more troops and more importantly more medium tanks (if we look whole east front), so they won most important battles without overwhelming numerical advantage, and sky was controlled by Luftwaffe. So Soviets developed tactics in which control of sky is just plus to their offensive not imperative.

mixelflick wrote:
And what drove that deficit?

Military spending, trying to keep up with Reagan's arms buildup. In particular, SDI...


This is common myth, USSR debt was quite small for example Russian part of debt (most of USSR debt) was 70 billions dollars. USSR GDP was lot higher then that even in stagnant 1980s.

What lead to collapse was totally ineffective civilian industry. You couldn't buy car even if you could pay it at once. You need to wait years!?!

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2020, 04:26
by nastle
milosh wrote:
mixelflick wrote:Why Western designs are so different in comparison is beyond me. In the European theater, were we really expecting that our airfields would remain in pristine condition? Or that we'd have the luxury of having a team of conscripts walk the length of a runway multiple times per day, to ensure there's no FOD?


Soviets learn to win battles without air power. So Soviets developed tactics in which control of sky is just plus to their offensive not imperative.

mixelflick wrote:
!

interesting , I always wondered that too

I do understand that soviets had quite a liberal amount of SAMs with at divisonal , army and army group level plus most static areas of importance like airbases naval bases depots HQ were defended by the static SAMs but was this expected to withstand NATO air strikes in even a conventional war ?
critics of this policy would argue that
1-This was a inflexible approach and static SAM sites are easy meat for any airpower with ARM /SEAD aircraft like bekaa valley showed
2-Gulf war 1991 showed that even a relatively modern army with a plethora of mobile SAM units is far from immune when it comes to airstrikes, albeit in europe we could argue WP had better SAM systems , a denser concentration and more ECM assets

Since the soviets mostly relied on SAMs to protect their ground units is that why they focused so much on having a dis-proportionally large number of tactical bombers/strike aircraft in their frontal aviation units ?

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2020, 13:17
by hornetfinn
I think there would be some important differences in conventional war between WP and NATO forces in 1980s from Desert Storm for example.

First the WP forces would likely be attacking with all their means. There would be massive artillery barrages from both sides and especially WP forces would be using a lot of tactical ballistic missiles like OTR-21 Tochka (SS-21), OTR-23 Oka (SS-23) and also Scuds. These are not the most accurate (Scuds especially) or longest ranged weapons, but would likely be making operations a lot harder in NATO air bases in West Germany. This would've been very different from Desert Storm and Operation Mole Cricket 19.

Another thing is that WP air power would be used offensively and trying to inflict as much damage to NATO forces and infrastructure as they possibly could. In Desert Storm Iraqi forces were very passive the whole fight as they didn't have capability to do much else.

Soviet Union also had a lot more capability for electronic warfare compared to Iraq or Syria. How effective this would've been against NATO forces and equipment is difficult to say. Same thing with their reconnaissance capabilities which were pretty impressive on paper at least.

One interesting aspect IMO would've been how the Soviets would've used their bombers. They had quite a lot of Tu-16, Tu-22, Tu-22M and even Tu-95. These were mostly used for anti-ship role and strategic bombers but they also had capability to attack early warning radars and large installations with their large and long ranged missiles.

A lot of NATO air power would be needed to stop the WP ground forces. I don't doubt that NATO would've won the air superiority after a short while especially after F-16 and F-15 became operational in Europe. Stopping WP ground forces would likely take a little longer. The whole situation would've been very chaotic with a lot of troops and equipment being moved all the time and a lot of weapons flying around. It would be a lot harder to control the situation and get accurate intelligence than what happened in Desert Storm or Bekaa Valley. I'd say that this would also make the SEAD/DEAD efforts a lot harder even if the enemy equipment wasn't much different from what Iraq and Syria had. Of course there were some important systems that weren't used by those countries. Namely S-300 (SA-10), Tunguska and later possibly Tor (SA-15).

I think their fighter force was their weakest link with having mostly MiG-21s, MiG-23s and some MiG-25s in Europe. MIG-21s would've been only useful as point defence fighters against NATO attack aircraft inside the SAM umberella. MiG-23 did have some BVR capability and more capable equipment, but likely would not have done well against F-16s and F-15s. Maybe against F-4s and Mirages (not Mirage 2000 though).

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2020, 13:23
by mixelflick
I'm not sure what the Soviet strategy was "then".

Now, it seems to be a bit different. They've apparently learned from Desert Storm, much like the rest of the world has - wherever you concentrate your forces on the ground, American air power will decimate them. So looking at more recent conflicts... their road mobile "big" SAM systems forced fixed and rotarty wing assets to low level - which were then decimated by MANPADS. Some of these MANPADS were equipped with an electro-optical seeker, which means just kicking out a dozen or more flares isn't going to cut it anymore for defensive purposes.

Which makes the F-35 coming online all the more important IMO. It regains the high ground, and won't be forced to low altitude by the S-300/400. It'll drastically shrink their engagement envelope, and locating/destroying them will now be possible (if not easy).

The Russians are apparently doubling down on the claim their S-300/400 can defeat the F-35, although given the number of ways it can locate and destroy said SAM assets.. I wouldn't want to be part of an S-400 battery. Time will tell who's approach works best, but the smart $ is on the F-35 IMO...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2020, 17:12
by nastle
hornetfinn wrote:
Another thing is that WP air power would be used offensively and trying to inflict as much damage to NATO forces and infrastructure as they possibly could. In Desert Storm Iraqi forces were very passive the whole fight as they didn't have capability to do much else.

MiG-23 did have some BVR capability and more capable equipment, but likely would not have done well against F-16s and F-15s. Maybe against F-4s and Mirages (not Mirage 2000 though).


WP can afford to use their airforces offensively as they have required numbers.Iraqis are outnumbered almost 5 to 1 in the air and a lot of their spares/supplies are dependent on foreign suppliers

Numbers are most important, intially WP had an advantage but with US assistance the numbers will tip in the favor of NATO and quite decisively
as far as air war is concerned [if it stays purely conventional] WP best chance to win the air war is in the first week, after that numerical superority will be with NATO

anyway more to the point raised earlier so what extent does having a good SAM umbrella compensate for lack of airpower ? Personally i dont see this strategy working against 1st rate airforces like USAF , IDAF, RAF, French etc but can be an effecive tactic in relatively static frontal battles where soviets have to just defend the border and "hold the line" against less sophisticated airforces like Turkish , iranian, pakistani, chinese etc [ talking about the cold war era airforces]

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2020, 18:34
by milosh
If we look ODS, MiG-25 was problem. Iraq had less then 20 and not all were P version. Soviets had ~250 MiG-25P/PS in late 1980s. They also had ~500 MiG-31 which would be very useful in antiawacs and mini awacs roles.

Iraq didn't had R-73 for MiG-29 which was big disadvantage in dogfight, because they used small R-60 against latest AIM-9, and they had maybe two green squadron of MiG-29s.

So I don't see how ODS can be used as example of Soviet capabilities in air war.

Also SAM role is also questionable. Iraq best SAM was S-125. It was lower tier soviet SAM from 1960s.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 30 Apr 2020, 21:43
by basher54321
nastle wrote:WP can afford to use their airforces offensively as they have required numbers.Iraqis are outnumbered almost 5 to 1 in the air and a lot of their spares/supplies are dependent on foreign suppliers

Numbers are most important, intially WP had an advantage but with US assistance the numbers will tip in the favor of NATO and quite decisively
as far as air war is concerned [if it stays purely conventional] WP best chance to win the air war is in the first week, after that numerical superority will be with NATO



Although purely conventional was doubtful - that type of war if prolonged might see another side to the Soviet strategy which was producing equipment very quickly and in numbers that could be used from austere fields. If USSR (and China?) can keep producing aircraft and things are static on the ground when would they ever run out?

I think outlaw here described the 1980s as not far off WW2 with Jets - well Germany won the air war initially and invaded well into the USSR. Didn't stop the appearance of a few million troops and ever advanced equipment rolling into the battlefield. In WW2 Germany had over 40,000 claims for Soviet aircraft shot down and yet the Soviet aircraft still kept coming in their thousands!

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 01:36
by nastle
basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:WP can afford to use their airforces offensively as they have required numbers.Iraqis are outnumbered almost 5 to 1 in the air and a lot of their spares/supplies are dependent on foreign suppliers

Numbers are most important, intially WP had an advantage but with US assistance the numbers will tip in the favor of NATO and quite decisively
as far as air war is concerned [if it stays purely conventional] WP best chance to win the air war is in the first week, after that numerical superority will be with NATO

Good points although few things to consider
1 aircraft esp those of 80s are far more sophisticated to produce and train pilots on than in 40s
2 ussr had assistance from western allies in terms of raw materials
3 only had one front while east was totally quiet
4 germans were a weak industrial power. far weaker than even british empire When USSR against the whole industrialized world it's a different story



Although purely conventional was doubtful - that type of war if prolonged might see another side to the Soviet strategy which was producing equipment very quickly and in numbers that could be used from austere fields. If USSR (and China?) can keep producing aircraft and things are static on the ground when would they ever run out?

I think outlaw here described the 1980s as not far off WW2 with Jets - well Germany won the air war initially and invaded well into the USSR. Didn't stop the appearance of a few million troops and ever advanced equipment rolling into the battlefield. In WW2 Germany had over 40,000 claims for Soviet aircraft shot down and yet the Soviet aircraft still kept coming in their thousands!

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 08:17
by milosh
nastle wrote:Good points although few things to consider
1 aircraft esp those of 80s are far more sophisticated to produce and train pilots on than in 40s
2 ussr had assistance from western allies in terms of raw materials
3 only had one front while east was totally quiet
4 germans were a weak industrial power. far weaker than even british empire When USSR against the whole industrialized world it's a different story


There are soviet designs for post nuclear war! Crazy stuff they combine things from couple planes/helicopters.

Main reason why soviet economy in 1980s was awful was huge stockpiles of military important materials, something which west stop doing decades ago. So if war is prolonged Soviets planned to have stockpiles for at two years of normal production. That is why soviet citizen would wait on lada for years, car production lack steel.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 11:14
by sdkf251
If I remember correctly, there was great anticipation that the Warsaw Pact countries would start
with Tactical nukes when they invade. Everyone was anticipating at least Chemical warfare to be standard fare.
The strategy solves a lot of problems for Warsaw Pact. As long as they advance fast enough tactical nuke
retaliation is going to be a problem. Nuking the NATO airfields would make airpower useless.
Not sure if this strategy was in the the 60's or 70's.

NATO had nuclear response plans. Assuming retaliation is possible the focus will be to nuke choke points and
support areas then front lines. Poland would be the staging point considering they have the nearest
advance lines and the most number of troops. It would probably receive a lot of tactical nukes.

The main objective Warsaw Pact would be to stop reforger capability before it becomes a problem.
Nukes were not so taboo before as it is today.

But by the 80's when the western European countries were more richer, nuking became kind of out of fashion.
Today nukes are definitely a non starter, and the invasion threat is really not possible anymore.

In any case Mig 23 is really a classic plane. (wow, that is a statement I would never have thought to say)

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 15:20
by mixelflick
milosh wrote:If we look ODS, MiG-25 was problem. Iraq had less then 20 and not all were P version. Soviets had ~250 MiG-25P/PS in late 1980s. They also had ~500 MiG-31 which would be very useful in antiawacs and mini awacs roles.

Iraq didn't had R-73 for MiG-29 which was big disadvantage in dogfight, because they used small R-60 against latest AIM-9, and they had maybe two green squadron of MiG-29s.

So I don't see how ODS can be used as example of Soviet capabilities in air war.

Also SAM role is also questionable. Iraq best SAM was S-125. It was lower tier soviet SAM from 1960s.


And yet, ODS was an indictment of former Soviet military hardware that reverberates (in some cases) until this very day. So while it's true more plentiful Foxbats and Foxhounds would have helped, it's far from certain they would carried the day. And yes, you can argue that Iraq didn't have the latest Soviet equipment/weapons systems, but then again neither did many of the WP countries.

Iraq's armed forces were also battle hardened from a 10 year war with Iran (operating against in some cases, hamstrung American equipment). This less than ideal equipment sure didn't hurt Iran though in the air war. Their Tomcats were dominant over Iraqi Migs, despite the fact they only had the Phoenix and had never flown the aircraft in combat. Yet the Iraqi's eventually learned a few tricks of their own, killing 2-3 Tomcats by ambusing them with Mirage F1's in the war's closing days. So combat experience edge went to the Iraqi's in ODS (and in talking to vets, combat experience is the most significant edge you can have).

R-60's vs. AIM-9's of the day (M model?) were a fairly even match, as were the air platforms (Mig-29 roughly as maneuverable as an F-15). The Iraqi's had home field advantage, and used the traditional Soviet GCI model most of the WP would have used. They were trounced, albeit these engagements were hard fought and not always as one sided as they seem. Most were heavily dependent upon coalition/US E-3 AWACS spotting Iraqi aircraft early, in some cases on takeoff. Had more Foxbats/Foxhounds been around, the Iraqi's may have destroyed those assets and things might have been very different.

Their SAM network was considerable as well. Perhaps not as dangerous as the S-300/400 today, but nothing you could take lightly. The effectiveness of the F-117 and later, F-4G's and F-16's was remarkable in that regard.

So I'd say there were elements of DS that were representative of what may have happened in the event of a NATO/WP confrontation. I do think the Desert terrain helped, meaning nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from American airpower. Once we established air superiority, their fate was sealed...

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 18:39
by milosh
mixelflick wrote:R-60's vs. AIM-9's of the day (M model?) were a fairly even match, as were the air platforms (Mig-29 roughly as maneuverable as an F-15).


R-60 is more agile but what good of that if its range is joke.

Soviet and WarPact MiG-29s have R-73 missile. Soviets had experienced MiG-29 pilots in late 1980s compared to Iraqis which were green.

Also soviet MiG-29 had GCI data link, I think WarPact MiG-29 also had that data link but downgraded. Iraq didn't had data link.

To me Iraqi MiG-29 is similar story as their T-72, on paper it is same thing as best MiG-29 or T-72 of 1980s but when you inform more you see how poorer it was compared to best versions.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 21:01
by basher54321
mixelflick wrote:Their SAM network was considerable as well. Perhaps not as dangerous as the S-300/400 today, but nothing you could take lightly. The effectiveness of the F-117 and later, F-4G's and F-16's was remarkable in that regard.

So I'd say there were elements of DS that were representative of what may have happened in the event of a NATO/WP confrontation. I do think the Desert terrain helped, meaning nowhere to run and nowhere to hide from American airpower. Once we established air superiority, their fate was sealed...







On the face of it - however the core of the IADS was called KARI (Irak backwards) - this was a French designed and built system for a small scale war with Iran only. Simply put was no where near adequate for a conflict with NATO and was totally overwhelmed.

All of Iraqs SAMs were known systems - Roland (French) , SA-2, SA-3, SA-6 - NATO had obtained examples of all of these in the 1970s.

This rather important aspect was touched on earlier - Iraq was almost entirely dependent on external support and supply for the vast majority of its weapons. All of these suppliers particularly France and the Soviet Union as is known withdrew their support so essentially Iraq was screwed in that regards.

As you say a static conscript army stuck out like a sore thumb in the desert with no air support from day one.

Saddams only real option was to negotiate - however everything points to the regime thinking a war with NATO would be similar to a war with Iran.

Now Iraq might have had a few lucky moments but these are totally irrelevant because pretty clear there was little they could have done to stop them being nothing more than a baby Seal getting hit with a club.


Still not an easy task to make it look as easy as they did - however USSR & Allies would have been nothing like the above outside of some of the individual systems - and individual systems have not always won wars.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 21:35
by basher54321
nastle wrote:Good points although few things to consider
1 aircraft esp those of 80s are far more sophisticated to produce and train pilots on than in 40s
2 ussr had assistance from western allies in terms of raw materials
3 only had one front while east was totally quiet
4 germans were a weak industrial power. far weaker than even british empire When USSR against the whole industrialized world it's a different story



I would hope you were considering these as a matter of course - I suppose the point is there was a large industrial capability in USSR and China to implement that strategy based on any number of scenarios that you may wish to come up with. Oh and conventional bombing with mostly dumb bombs may take a while to degrade it especially without air superiority :D

SAM Umbrella - the only one I know of that denied an air force almost completely was Egypt V Israel (1973). The IDF eventually got round that by rolling tanks over it.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 01 May 2020, 23:21
by nastle
basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:

SAM Umbrella - the only one I know of that denied an air force almost completely was Egypt V Israel (1973). The IDF eventually got round that by rolling tanks over it.

during this era i.e 1970-1990 can a mechanized army of a 2nd tier power [like india/pak, iran/iraq, south korea, turkey egypt libya etc ]survive against the airpower of a similar opponent[not talking about israelis, USAF?USN, frontline NATO etc] ? That is in the total absence of friendly airpower

Can the mechanized forces use optical AA, MANPADs , mobile SAM batteries to successfully defend against such an opponent and move mostly at night ? as most 2nd tier airforces in that era had poor night attack capability

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 02 May 2020, 14:27
by madrat
Not all debt is in money. The Soviet doctrine was a political shell game, exploiting partners (and their own people) with empty promises. When debts were called it wasn't unusual that payment made was in blood and bullets. Atrocities and the Communists go hand in hand.

They pushed the KISS method to the extreme. Rather than shore up supplies of crucial supplies for technological solutions, they solved problems through brute force. So instead of pushing scarce materials for better sensors and electronics, they pushed tried and true fabrication methods. They were pushing 40's era engines in their automotive industry rather than developing production lines dependent on machines because it didn't fit their doctrine. They could pump out 37 ton main battle tanks, but somehow a 37hp automotive engine was too difficult. So when push came to shove and they actually had to demonstrate their new gadgets against Western designs, there was an obvious delta in quality standards. But even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut, so after the fall of the wall there were good developments from ex-Soviet partners to behold. It just wasn't in their aircraft like MiG-23ML, etc.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 03 May 2020, 14:01
by basher54321
nastle wrote:during this era i.e 1970-1990 can a mechanized army of a 2nd tier power [like india/pak, iran/iraq, south korea, turkey egypt libya etc ]survive against the airpower of a similar opponent[not talking about israelis, USAF?USN, frontline NATO etc] ? That is in the total absence of friendly airpower

Can the mechanized forces use optical AA, MANPADs , mobile SAM batteries to successfully defend against such an opponent and move mostly at night ? as most 2nd tier airforces in that era had poor night attack capability





Impossible to say given the scope this would entail. Would depend entirely on the type of training, support and equipment in use. A ground force can use night, terrain, weather and air defence in certain situations and poor use of airpower could aid the ground force combined with limited means to find them in this period.

When two ground forces are engaged then the side with airpower also has troops on the ground able to provide locations of the enemy force even with just radio. A concript army might even be stuck in trenches anyway.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 04 May 2020, 18:59
by milosh
Interesting stuff which could help to get more info about topic we started (east vs west) based on Soviet estimates from 1977, MiG-25P and S-200 are missing which probable show how secretive those were in that time. Now Firefox novel have lot more sense it is from 1977 and we see Soviets don't have MiG-25P in their tables :mrgreen:

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2020, 12:12
by nastle
so combat potential of mig-23m is 4.0 and that of F-4E is 4.1 what does that mean ?
and JA-37 is only 3.8?
I always thought 3 x mig-23 = 1 x F-4E/JA-37

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2020, 13:46
by ovod
nastle wrote:
basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:

SAM Umbrella - the only one I know of that denied an air force almost completely was Egypt V Israel (1973). The IDF eventually got round that by rolling tanks over it.

during this era i.e 1970-1990 can a mechanized army of a 2nd tier power [like india/pak, iran/iraq, south korea, turkey egypt libya etc ]survive against the airpower of a similar opponent[not talking about israelis, USAF?USN, frontline NATO etc] ? That is in the total absence of friendly airpower

Can the mechanized forces use optical AA, MANPADs , mobile SAM batteries to successfully defend against such an opponent and move mostly at night ? as most 2nd tier airforces in that era had poor night attack capability


There were many examples in that time frame when air power was used against heavy ground based air defence (AAA and missiles). It all depends on how much air power you are willing to lose and can afford to lose. If you have a lot of stand-off weapons available for your aircraft such as Paveway and Maverick you may not lose a lot of aircraft at all.

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2020, 16:25
by nastle
basher54321 wrote:
nastle wrote:during this era i.e 1970-1990 can a mechanized army of a 2nd tier power [like india/pak, iran/iraq, south korea, turkey egypt libya etc ]survive against the airpower of a similar opponent[not talking about israelis, USAF?USN, frontline NATO etc] ? That is in the total absence of friendly airpower

Can the mechanized forces use optical AA, MANPADs , mobile SAM batteries to successfully defend against such an opponent and move mostly at night ? as most 2nd tier airforces in that era had poor night attack capability





Impossible to say given the scope this would entail. Would depend entirely on the type of training, support and equipment in use. A ground force can use night, terrain, weather and air defence in certain situations and poor use of airpower could aid the ground force combined with limited means to find them in this period.

When two ground forces are engaged then the side with airpower also has troops on the ground able to provide locations of the enemy force even with just radio. A concript army might even be stuck in trenches anyway.


NIGHT
TERRAIN
WEATHER
AIR DEFENCE
I would add concealment too in addition to terrain as sometimes it may help, e.g if the terrain is plains and open bush /woodlands cover might not be easily available
Do you know of any concealment strategies that armies might employ in such a situation ?

Re: MiG-23ML Analysis

Unread postPosted: 05 May 2020, 17:18
by madrat
There is an FM for every situation. You can look at old versions cleared for release.