Author Topic: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!  (Read 50910 times)

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« on: December 14, 2011, 06:49:48 PM »
The beginning/WWII Era:

Born in 1905, Artem Ivanovich Mikoyan graduated from the Zukovsky Air Force Academy in 1937.  He started to work with the Polikarpov OKB.  However, in 1938 he was warned by a friend that he had been named as a traitor (partly due to his Armenian heritage) and was soon to be arrested as part of Stalin’s ongoing purges.  As a result, he quickly decided that it would be wise to leave the country.  After traveling via France and the United States of America, he eventually settled in London, Ontario, Canada.  Within 6 months of settling there, and with the assistance of a number of local business men, he started his own aircraft company – “Mikoyan Greater Ontario Aircraft”, later shortened to simply “Mikoyan Greater Aircraft” (the aircraft designed by the company used the designation “MiG”).

With the outbreak of WWII, Mikoyan, began to produce a series of fighter aircraft.  The first of these was the MiG-1, a small, inline engine powered high-altitude interceptor.  By the start of 1940, the type was already being delivered a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) test squadron (two were also shipped to Great Britain), where it was soon discovered that the high wing loading of the small aircraft produced some very nasty handling problems, including tendencies towards both stalling and spinning, and a lack of directional stability.  As reports of the handling problems came back to Mikoyan he worked to remedy them, incorporating many design changes.  He also increased the aircraft's range by increasing fuel tank capacity.  The improved plane was first flown on October 29 1940, and was soon re-designated the MiG-3 (Interestingly, all MiG aircraft were to be designated with ‘odd’ numbers as a result of a superstitious belief that Mikoyan held).

With the outbreak of war, both the British and French Governments were desperate to supplement their own aircraft production abilities.  Both purchased a number of MiGs (though only a single example of the MiG-1 made it’s way to France before capitulation).  After the initial trial aircraft had shown deficiencies, Britain changed its order of 200 to the improved MiG-3.  These first entered service with the RAF during early 1941.  Pilots preferred the Spitfire and/or Hurricane though, and the aircraft were relegated to a pair of specialised squadrons to counter potential high altitude Ju-86P attacks or in the Photo-Reconnaissance role (with armament removed).  In RAF service, the MiG-3s were designated as Mohawk Is (in the interceptor role) or Mohawk PRU.IIs (in the Photo-Reconnaissance role).  Apart from the European theatre, the Mohawk PRU.IIs also served in North Africa/the Mediterranean/Italy (with the Desert Air Force (DAF), later known as the First Tactical Air Force), and India/Burma (with the Third Tactical Air Force). 

The RCAF also purchased 150 copies of the MiG-3 (also adopting the Mohawk name) but these were kept in country for local defence.  A single copy was also purchased by the United States of America for trials with the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). 

During the war, there were several attempts to re-engine the aircraft including one example with the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-63 engine but apart from one or two test aircraft these never reached production. 
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 03:01:35 PM by GTX_Admin »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 06:50:24 PM »
Post War:

With the advent of the jet era, Mikoyan like most other designers, made moves to develop jet aircraft.  After being briefly side-tracked by the Thermojet (i.e. a rudimentary type of jet engine consisted of a piston engine which drove a compressor in the rear fuselage) powered MiG-13 (Note: for a brief while this lingered on as a potential carrier based attack aircraft), he began design of pure all jet aircraft. 

Utilising information provided by Britain and the United States, as well as that gained from inspection of captured German jet fighters, he started to develop a number of fighters.  The first of these, the MiG-9, wasn’t that impressive, although it did gain the distinction of being the first Canadian all jet aircraft.  A number were introduced into service with the RCAF though they didn’t serve for more than a 2 years. 

In 1946 however, things changed when the British Government exported a number of the new Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow jet engine to Canada.  This was soon being manufactured under license.  Around this superb engine Mikoyan designed his next aircraft – the MiG-15!
Utilising information gained from German swept wing research, the MiG-15 first flew on 30 December 1947 and immediately exhibited exceptional performance, with a top speed of over 650 mph (1,040 km/h).  After further evaluations, the MiG design was chosen for production by the RCAF with the first production example flying on 31 December 1948.  Following in the tradition of the earlier MiG-3, the MiG-15 was originally intended to intercept bombers like the new Tupolev Tu-4, and was even evaluated in mock air-to-air combat trials with USAF B-29 bombers (the results were frightening for the USAF crews!).  To ensure the destruction of such large bombers, the MiG-15 carried a heavy cannon armament: two 20 mm cannon with 80 rounds per gun and a single massive 37 mm cannon with 40 rounds.  These weapons provided tremendous punch in the interceptor role, but their limited rate of fire and relatively low velocity made it more difficult to score hits against small and maneuverable enemy jet fighter aircraft in air-to-air combat.  As such, some versions simply carried four 20mm cannon which had a higher rate of fire, though a lower weight projectile. 

When Canada joined NATO in 1949, it was faced with the necessity of upgrading and enlarging the RCAF.  As arguably the best single seat fighter in the Western world at the time, the MiG-15 was a natural choice to be the primary day fighter of the re-equipped RCAF.  RCAF MiG-15 operations began with No 410 Squadron at Dorval, which received its first aircraft on April 10, 1949. Nos. 411 and 413 Squadrons followed in the summer of 1950.
The MiG-15s also served with the RAF for a brief time.  During the early 1950s, the MiG-15s of the RCAF were actually the only swept-wing fighters available for the defence of Western Europe.  At that time, the Royal Air Force was still flying straight-winged types such as the Gloster Meteor and the DeHavilland Vampire while they waited for the swept-wing Supermarine Swift and Hawker Hunter to reach production status.  Early in 1953 the RAF somewhat reluctantly decided to acquire the MiG-15 to fill in the gap.  United States MDAP funds helped to provide 430 MiG-15s (designated as Huron Mk.1s) for the RAF. 

The first RAF Squadron to take delivery of the Huron was No 67 Tactical Air Force Squadron, which became operational in May of 1953.  In December No. 66 Squadron became the first RAF Fighter Command Huron unit.  Soon, RAF Tactical Air Force Squadrons 3, 4, 20, 26, 67, 71, 93, 112, 130, and 234 all re-equipped with Hurons and were based in Germany.  Fighter Command Squadrons No. 66 and 92 remaining in Britain also with Hurons. 

However, the service of the Huron with the RAF was rather brief, the aircraft being seen only as an interim type.  By June of 1956, all RAF Hurons based in Germany had been replaced by Hawker Hunters.  The ex-RAF Hurons were then transferred to other European air forces, notably Italy (180 aircraft) and Yugoslavia (121 aircraft). 

MiG-15s also served with the Air Forces of a number of other countries including:

Italy:  180 ex-RAF Hurons were shipped to Italy in 1957, one machine (XB733) crashing on delivery.  First to transition to the Huron was the 4a Aerobrigata, which was based at Pratica di Mare.  Units of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI) using the Huron included:

•   4a Aerobrigata--Gruppi 9o, 10, 12o
•   2o Stormo (later redesignated 2a Aerobrigata)--Gruppi 8o,13o 14o

Deliveries of the Huron to Italy were completed in 1957. 

The AMI Huron fighters were dedicated to the air defense role and in some cases were re-equipped with the original dual cannon (i.e. 20mm and 37mm) package.  The aircraft was also evaluated with HVAR rockets and the Italian-developed SISPRE C-7 air-to-air missile, but neither weapon entered AMI service.  Hurons also equipped the Cavallino Rampante (Rampant Horse) aerobatic team, painted with an ivory fuselage, blue and tail with white stars, a red nose, and additional red highlights. 

In 1961, the Frecce Tricolori (Tricolor Arrows) aerobatic team was also formed with six Hurons.  Initially they were painted blue with tricolor tailplane and wing under surfaces, and featuring a blue rhomboid on the nose containing a black arrow.   Later, the rhomboid was replaced by individual red, white, and green arrows, and yellow code letters were added to the fin. 

Five Italian Hurons of the 4a Aerobrigata were dispatched to the Belgian Congo in 1963 to support UN peacekeeping operations there.  A detachment of Philippine Air Force personnel operated these aircraft from February to June of 1963. 

Yugoslavia:  During 1958-59, Yugoslavia's air arm, the Jugoslovensko Ratno Vazduhoplovstvo (JRV), got 122 of the ex-RAF Huron Mk.1s.  Yugoslavia was one of the few nations with an air force that flew both Western and Soviet Bloc combat aircraft side-by-side.  During a border incident in the late 1950s, a JRV Huron shot down a Hungarian Yak-23.  Some of these Hurons remained flying into the 1990s, but they have all now either gone to the boneyard or been sold to civilian owners. 

Greece: Beginning in July 1954, Greece's Royal Hellenic Air Force received 104 ex-RCAF MiG-15s.  The first were delivered in mid-1954, and went to No. 341 Squadron of No.  112 Wing.  In 1955, two more squadrons, Nos. 342 and 343, both under No.112 Wing, were equipped with MiG-15s.  These served until the early 1960s, when they finally went out of service. 

Turkey: At the same time as Greece, Turkey's Turk Hava Kuvvetleri (THK) acquired 105 refurbished ex-RCAF MiG-15s.  It seems that every time you sell an aircraft to Greece, you also have to sell one to Turkey, and vice-versa.  These aircraft formed the core of Nos. 141, 142 and 143 Squadrons.  These aircraft were intended for the defence of Western Europe, but long-standing hostilities between Greece and Turkey occasionally flared up and these two nations sometimes would aim their aircraft at each other. 

Honduras:  Eight ex-Yugoslav (originally RAF) Huron Mk.1s were supplied to the Fuerza Aerea Hondurena (FAH), arriving there in July of 1967.  They flew some harassment missions over El Salvador following the end of the 1969 "Soccer War".  Some remained in service until well into the 1980s, when they were replaced by Super Mysteres. 

The Korean War:

On June 25, 1950 the (North) Korean People's Army attacked across the 38th Parallel in a move to reunify the peninsula under their political system.  The invasion of South Korea came as a surprise to the West.  As the one of the best western fighters available, RCAF MiG-15s were rushed to the war zone.  In some of the first jet-vs-jet air combat, RCAF MiG-15s fought against Chinese and North Korean Yak-23s and La-15s.  Over the next couple of years, MiG-15s were also used in the theatre by the South African Air Force (SAAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).   These aircraft were actually "loaned" to No. 2 Squadron of the SAAF and No. 77 Squadron RAAF and were returned to the RCAF when both squadrons returned home. 

« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 03:00:27 PM by GTX_Admin »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 06:50:51 PM »
New Developments and Exports:

Although the MiG-15 was an excellent aircraft, Mikoyan knew it could be improved.  Therefore in January 1950, the first of an improved version, the MiG-17 flew.  The major change was its introduction of a swept wing with a "compound sweep" configuration: a 45° angle near the fuselage, and a 42° angle for the outboard part of the wings.  Other easily visible differences to its predecessor were the three wing-fences on each wing, instead of the MiG-15s two, and the addition of a ventral fin.  The MiG-17 shared the same RR Nene engine (though this was in an improved, higher thrust form) and the rest of its construction was similar. 

Serial production started in August 1951 for the RCAF.  During production, the aircraft was improved and modified several times.  The basic MiG-17 was a general-purpose day fighter, armed with 3 or 4 cannon (depending on exact weapons package fitted).  It could also act as a fighter-bomber, but its bombload was considered light relative to other aircraft of the time, and it usually carried additional fuel tanks instead of bombs. 

Soon a number of MiG-17B all-weather fighters were produced with radar and front air intake modifications.  In the spring of 1953 the MiG-17C day fighter entered production.  Initially fitted with an afterburning version of the RR Nene, and later with a similarly equipped, locally produced Orenda 11R, it quickly became the most popular variant of the MiG-17.   

292 MiG-17s (mostly of the MiG-17C variant) were built for the RCAF.   All were delivered to RCAF Wings Nos 1, 2, 3, and 4.  The MiG-17 remained in service with the RCAF until replaced by the superlative MiG-21 in 1963.  The MiG-17 Transition Unit retired its last aircraft in November 1968, the type being officially phased out on December 9 of that year. 

MiG-17s also went to a number of overseas customers, including:

Colombia:  Six MiG-17s (although some sources insist these were in fact MiG-15s) were delivered to Colombia in 1956.  The MiG-17s were operated by 10 Escuadron de Caza-Bombardero.  4 were lost in accidents.  The survivors were all withdrawn from service in 1966. 

South Africa:  In 1955, 34 MiG-17s were ordered for the SAAF.  South Africa had actually operated a squadron of MiG-15s during the Korean War, but these were returned to RCAF service when No. 2 Squadron returned home.  The MiG-17Cs arrived in South Africa beginning in 1956.  17 of them were marked in Afrikaans and issued to No.1 Squadron, and the other 17 were marked in English and issued to No.   2 Squadron.  They remained in service with No 2 Squadron until 1964 when they were replaced by Mirage IIICZ fighters.  The others remained with No.1 Squadron until 1976, when they were replaced by Mirage F.1AZ ground attack fighters. 

West Germany:  225 MiG-17Cs were supplied to the West German Luftwaffe, and the type became the primary day fighter of the newly formed German air arm.   They had been preceded in Luftwaffe service by a small number of MiG-15s, which had served primarily in training roles in anticipation of the arrival of the MiG-17s.   The first operational unit was Jagdgeschwader 71 "Richthofen", initially commanded by Major Erich Hartmann, highest-scoring ace of all times (352 kills during World War 2).  He accepted the first of the unit's MiG-17s on June 6, 1959.   The Mig-17s also served with Jagdgeschwadern 72 and 73.  The Luftwaffe MiG-17s usually operated in the air-to-air mode, although they were occasionally equipped with underwing air-to-ground ordinance.  In service, many Luftwaffe MiG-17s were modified to become Sidewinder-capable.  JG 71 later converted to the MiG-19 (see more below) in 1964, whilst the other two wings kept the MiG-17 (in an improved ‘D’ version) becoming light attack units. 

Pakistan: The India-Pakistan war of 1965 had caused the US to embargo further arms shipments to Pakistan, at least for the time being.  In order to take up the slack, Pakistan arranged in 1966 to acquire 90 MiG-17Cs from ex-Luftwaffe stocks.   These saw action in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War.  MiG-17Cs accounted for a large portion of the PAF's 141 aerial victories during that conflict.  Kills of Indian warplanes included Folland Gnats, Yak-28s and Su-7s.  The last PAF MiG-17 was withdrawn in 1980 after a number of fatigue-related accidents. 

  Argentina ordered 36 MiG-17Cs, but the order later had to be cancelled because President Juan Peron had run his country into the ground economically and he was unable to raise the necessary foreign exchange needed to finance the purchase. 

Israel: 24 MiG-17Cs were ordered by Israel in 1955.  At least 8 were allocated serial numbers and one was even painted in Israeli markings.  However, the upheaval caused by the 1956 Suez crisis led the Canadian government to cancel the delivery of the planes.  The Heyl Ha'Avir purchased the Dassault Mystere IV instead. 

After the December 1971 war that resulted in the transformation of East Pakistan into the independent nation of Bangladesh, the government of that new country found itself in the possession of 5 ex-Pakistani MiG-17Cs that had been abandoned by the retreating PAF.  These were operated until late 1973, when the lack of spares made it necessary to ground them. 

Australia - CAC Licensed Production:
As early as 1949, the RAAF began planning a replacement jet fighter for the locally-built CAC Mustang and DHA Vampire.  Successive aircraft under consideration included the Grumman Panther, the proposed CAC large, twin-jet, all-weather CA-23 fighter, and the Hawker P.1081.  In the event MiG-15s were obtained in 1951 for service with No. 77 Sqn in the Korean War (these were only on loan though).  Then, in May of the same year, plans were finalised for CAC to build a locally redesigned version of the improved MiG-17C fighter.   

The RAAF decided to install an even more powerful engine – the afterburning RR Avon.   Other improvements called for increased fuel capacity, revised cockpit layout, and replacement of the 20mm cannon with two 30-mm Aden cannons.   The prototype CAC CA-27 Bilaarr Mk.1 (‘Bilaarr’ being an aboriginal word for ‘Spear’), A94-901, flew on 13 July 1954 and was followed by a further 21, A94-902/922, with imported Avons.  As from 1955 the next 20 Bilaarr Mk 2s, A94-923/942, were powered with the CAC Avon Mk 20, had additional fuel cells, and fitments for drop-tanks, bombs, and rockets.  The earlier Mk.1s were then modified to Mk.2 standard.  The final version of the CAC Bilaarr was the Mk.3 of which 69 were built, A94-943/990 and A94-351/371.   They carried additional drop-tanks and rockets and, as from 1960, Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.   All earlier Bilaarrs were similarly modified, and retrospectively fitted with the CAC Avon Mk 26 engine which was first installed in A94-973.   

The first production Bilaarr, A94-901, went to ARDU on 19 August, 1954.   A Bilaarr Trials Flight was established at No. 2 (F) OTU, RAAF Williamtown, on 1 November, 1954 and No.75 Sqn became the first Bilaarr squadron after it reformed on 4 April, 1955.  No.3 Sqn received its first Bilaarrs on 1 March, 1956, and No.   77 Sqn on 19 November, 1956.  In October, 1958 No. 3 deployed to RAAF Butterworth and was followed by No.77 in February, 1959.  As No.78 (F) Wing both squadrons used their Bilaarrs against the communist terrorists until 31 July 1960.   No.   76 Sqn reformed in January, 1960 and joined No.2 (F) OCU and No.75 Sqn as the Bilaarr equipped No.81 (F) Wing, RAAF Williamtown.  On 1 June, 1962 eight Bilaarrs deployed from Butterworth to Ubon, Thailand, to counter communist activity.  This detachment became No.79 Sqn until it withdrew and disbanded in August, 1968. As from 1964-5 the Mirage III began to replace the Bilaarr, and on 31 July, 1971 the RAAF officially retired the Bilaarr from service. 

Australian Bilaarr, however, still fly with two other air forces.  On 1 October, 1969, ten Bilaarrs were handed over to the Royal Malaysian Air Force, and a further six were delivered in 1971.  In February 1973 a second 16 Bilaarrs entered service with the Indonesian Air Force. 
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 03:05:38 PM by GTX_Admin »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 06:51:26 PM »

Never one to rest on his laurels, Mikoyan started design of a replacement for the MiG-17 even before serial production had started.  The new aircraft, designated MiG-19 was initially begun as a scaled up twin engined MiG-17 but was soon developed much further.  The first MiG-19 flew on January 5 1954.  The afterburner did not light in the first flight, but in the second flight the aircraft reached Mach 1.25 at 26,400 ft (8,050 m).  This was the first time a standard combat aircraft anywhere in the world had gone supersonic in level flight!  It was improved to Mach 1.44 in subsequent flights.  Based on this promising performance, the MiG-19 was soon being evaluated by not only the RCAF but also the USAF.  The first production aircraft rolled off the assembly line in March of 1955. 

Unfortunately, initial enthusiasm for the aircraft was dampened by several problems.   The most alarming of these was the danger of a mid-air explosion due to overheating of the fuselage fuel tanks located between the engines.  Deployment of airbrakes at high speeds also caused a high-g pitch-up and the elevators were found to lack authority at supersonic speeds.  The high landing speed of 145 mph (230 km/h) (compared to 100 mph (160 km/h) in the MiG-15), combined with absence of a two-seat trainer version, also slowed pilot transition to the type.  The handling problems were addressed with the second prototype, which added a third ventral airbrake and introduced all-moving tailplanes with a damper to prevent pilot-induced oscillations at subsonic speeds.  It flew on September 16 1954, and entered production as the MiG-19B.  Armament included a 30mm Aden cannon in each wing root, plus the ability to carry air-to-air missiles (usually AIM-9 Sidewinders, but later AIM-7 Sparrows). 

In RCAF service, the MiG-19s operated under the US/Canadian North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) to protect North American airspace from Soviet intruders such as nuclear-armed bombers.  Additionally, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), four MiG-19 squadrons were based in Europe from 1956-1962. 

Hopes for USAF purchases were dampened when the similar, but US produced F-100 was chosen instead, though at least one MiG-19B was trialled by the USAF.  Foreign users included the West German Luftwaffe (24 machines serving with JG71 in an interim role pending delivery of MiG-21Ds (refer next chapter)), Denmark (14 aircraft pending delivery of MiG-21Ds), France (68 aircraft pending development of the Mirage III), Pakistan (48 aircraft) and Taiwan (118 aircraft).  However, hopes for further exports were hampered by the lack of a two seat variant for pilot conversion and the fact that the even more capable MiG-21 was soon to be available. 

There was one further avenue of development though – the naval MiG-19C.  This was a heavily modified version designed to operate from the recently purchased Majestic class aircraft carrier, HMCS Bonaventure.  To enable the safe operation from the carrier, Mikoyan made a number of significant changes including:

•   Adding an arrestor hook;
•   Strengthening the landing gear and fuselage attachment points;
•   Replacing the nose landing gear with a telescoping one that enabled a greater angle of attack to be achieved upon take-off (a feature later copied by the Spey engined Phantom FG Mk.  1);
•   Modified foldable wing with larger flaps, leading edge slats and spoilers; and
•   Replacement of some materials with less corrosion prone ones. 

Thirty-nine of these MiG-19Cs served with the RCN with VF-870 and VF-871 until eventually replaced by the CF-116C (internal company designation - MiG-23C (refer below)) in 1968.  They were upgraded to MiG-19D standard in 1962 with the addition of more powerful engines, and improved radar which was able to guide AIM-7 Sparrow SARH BVR missiles (2 of which were able to be carried). 

« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 03:06:22 PM by GTX_Admin »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 06:51:56 PM »
Supersonic Stallion

In February 1952, Mikoyan visited Korea and talked to fighter pilots about what sort of plane they wanted.  Based on these discussions, he started the design of what would become his most produced design – the MiG-21.

Work progressed quickly, with a mock-up ready for inspection at the end of June 1954, and work starting on two prototypes (the first being fitted with a swept wing derived from the earlier MiG-19, whilst the second had an all-new delta wing) late in November 1954.  The first flight of the swept wing variant, the MiG-21A, took place 14th February 1955 whereas the more complex delta winged version, the MiG-21B, didn’t fly until 9th Jan 1956.  The MiG-21B very quickly proved to be the better of the two designs – it had greater fuel capacity, higher rate of roll, generally better turn radius, lighter structure and marginally better supersonic performance.  Further development resulted in the MiG-21C which increased the fuel capacity, had a more power engine, better radar and ability to carry 4 missiles (typically a combination of either AIM-9B (IR) or AIM-9C (SARH) Sidewinders) as well as two 30mm Aden cannon.

In the late 1950s, the Canadian government had a clear need for a supersonic replacement for the MiG-17C already in RCAF service.  Several aircraft were considered in the competition, including the McDonnell F4H Phantom II, the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, and the Grumman F11F-1F Super Tiger.  The RCAF clearly preferred the Phantom as the MiG-17 replacement, but this was rejected fairly early on, mostly due to its high cost.  As the alternative, on July 2, 1957, it was announced that MiG-21C had be chosen as the replacement for the MiG-17.  The choice was aided by the fact that the locally produced MiG offered a far better deal in terms of economics.  Production of the first of 200 aircraft for the RCAF began in late 1957.

In RCAF service, the MiG-21C was designated CF-111 (under the new designation system).  The first two CF-111s to fly were Nos. 12703 and 12704, which both took to the air on August 14, 1959.  Beginning in December of 1960, the RCAF used its CF-111s to equip eight European-based squadrons of its No. 1 Air Division.  Despite not wanting the CF-111 to begin with, the RCAF pilots quickly found the CF-111 to their liking nicknaming it the “Supersonic Stallion”. 

In 1961, after having received only 1/2 of its planned MiG-21C buy, the RCAF modified its order to the drastically improved MiG-21D configuration (see below).  The remaining aircraft were delivered in this configuration and were designated as CF-111Bs (or CF-111Cs for the two seat conversion trainer variant).  In future years, the majority of the early CF-111 models would be passed to the Air Forces of Jordan, Pakistan and Taiwan.  As this occurred, they were replaced with the improved CF-111B.

The last CF-111 wasn’t phased out of service (with No. 441 Squadron) until March 1986.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 06:53:47 PM »
The Deal of the Century

By the late 1950s, it would appear that the MiG-21 was doomed to be only a relatively minor footnote in the history of military aviation, yet another example of a combat aircraft which ended up serving only briefly and in small numbers before being quickly relegated to the wreckers.  However, the MiG-21 was rescued from oblivion by its unexpected win of a major multinational contract.

In the mid-1950s, the NATO air forces in Europe, apart from Britain and France, began shopping around for a new supersonic multi-role fighter capable of delivering the US-supplied B-43 tactical nuclear weapon.  In particular, the new West German Luftwaffe was in need of a supersonic replacement for its MiG-17s (the MiG-19 was briefly used as a stop-gap measure) and Republic F-84F Thunderstreak combat aircraft, and that service issued a request for proposals.  With a potential market for more than 2000 aircraft, numerous aircraft companies became highly interested, and the requirement became known as the "sale of the century".  Ten separate entries were made by aircraft manufacturers in England, France, Sweden, Canada and the USA.  These were the English Electric Lightning, the Saunders-Roe SR.177, the Dassault Mirage III, the SAAB J-35 Draken, the MiG-21, the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief, the Vought F8U Crusader, the Grumman F11F-1F Tiger, and the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. 

The Canadian entry was the MiG-21D.  It was proposed as a multi-role, all-weather aircraft.  It was based loosely on the MiG-21C airframe, but was drastically upgraded to have full all-weather capability carrying an improved radar.  This was too bulky to fit inside the MiG-21C nosecone.  The answer was to feed the engine by a completely new inlet under the fuselage.  An added benefit of this arrangement was that the inlet could be given variable geometry with movable walls.  On each side of the nose, just behind the radar, was a canard fore-plane – normally these were free to align themselves with the airflow, but at Mach 1+ they were locked at zero incidence.  The fuselage, wing, and tail empennage were strengthened to enable the aircraft to carry an increased load and to handle the stresses of low-altitude combat missions at high speeds. Five hardpoints were to be fitted (four underneath the wings and one underneath the fuselage), enabling up to 4000 pounds of external stores to be carried. The internal fuel tankage was also revised to increase the fuel load.  The MiG-21 had metamorphosed from an air-superiority day fighter into a multirole all-weather strike fighter with much greater performance.

The MiG-21D was declared the winner of the contest on November 6, 1958, in an announcement made by German Federal Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss in Bonn.  An initial contract for 66 MiG-21Ds was awarded on February 6, 1959, which was later increased to 96.  Herr Strauss also indicated that the German aircraft industry would build 210 MiG-21Ds under license. On March 18, 1959, a consortium of German aircraft manufacturers acquired a license to manufacture the MiG-21D.  License production and associated technology transfers to expand the German national aircraft industry were key features of the program.

Other European NATO nations quickly jumped onto the MiG-21D bandwagon. The Netherlands completed a licensing agreement on April 20, 1960.  On June 20, Belgium signed a similar agreement.  On March 2, 1962 Italy announced that it too would participate in the MiG-21D program.  By now the MiG-21D was the Free World's premiere fighter aircraft, and the project became known as the "aircraft deal of the century".  Details of all foreign users are as follow:

Germany:  The West German Luftwaffe was the primary user of the MiG-21D, operating over 35% of all built.  A total of 915 MiG-21s (including 136 two seat MiG-21T conversion trainers - this being a two seat version of the standard MiG-21D, and 255 dedicated MiG-21R Reconnaissance models) were eventually purchased.

At their peak in the mid-1970s, MiG-21Ds equipped five nuclear-armed Luftwaffe fighter-bomber wings, two interceptor wings, and two reconnaissance wings.  In addition, two attack wings of the Marineflieger (Federal German Navy) were equipped with MiG-21Ds - these usually carried a MBB Kormoran antiship missile on each of the inner underwing stores pylons.

Italy: In the mid-1960s, the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI) received 125 Fiat-built MiG-21Ds (including 11 MiG-21Rs) plus 12 Canadian built MiG-21Ts and 16 Fiat-built MiG-21Ts.  The MiG-21Ds and MiG-21Ts first entered service at Grosseto with 4o Stormo in 1963.  These aircraft ultimately equipped four interceptor/fighter-bomber gruppi, two reconnaissance gruppi, and one training gruppo.

The AMI continued to use the MiG-21D in large numbers long after other European air forces had passed their aircraft along to other users.  Beginning in 1968, the MiG-21D was supplemented by the much improved MiG-21S (S for "Sparrow", though it was also nicknamed the “Italian Stallion” around the world).  MiG-21S is fitted with a more powerful engine providing 13% more power than the engine of the MiG-21D.  The MiG-21S also differed from the MiG-21D in being equipped with an improved radar which had moving-target indication and tracking capability as well as contour/ground mapping and terrain avoidance modes.

The MiG-21S also had more wing and fuselage stores attachments, including two extra fuselage pylons just behind the air intake, increasing the total number of strongpoint provisions to seven (four underneath the wings, two underneath the forward fuselage, and one on the fuselage centerline).  Two hard points under each wing are for fuel/bombs (inner) and BVR missiles (outer).  In order to accommodate extra fuel and avionics, the MiG-21S had to dispense with the internal 30-mm cannon, the ports being faired over.

The initial AMI order was for 165 MiG-21S aircraft. Deliveries started in the spring of 1969.  The first AMI MiG-21S entered service in June of 1969 with 22o (Interceptor) Gruppo.  The MiG-21S went on to equip eight multi-role squadrons, although the first 40 aircraft were completed as fighter-bombers, apparently because their full air defense systems were not yet ready.  In the early 1970s, AMI orders were increased by an other 40 planes to 206.  In addition, in October of 1974 Turkey ordered 40 MiG-21Ss.

The Fiat group produced a total of 246 MiG-21Ss, 206 of them for the AMI and 40 for Turkey.  A further 20 were laid down for a subsequently-cancelled Turkish order. MiG-21S deliveries were completed by March of 1979. The delivery of the last MiG-21S marked the end of MiG-21 production throughout the world, with a total of 2579 being built in Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the Netherlands.
Flight tests of a modernized demonstrator, the MiG-21S ASA (Aggiornamento Sistema d'Arma, or Updated Weapons System – though it was more widely known as the “Super Stallion”) began in December of 1984.  The ASA upgrade was designed to extend the operating lives of the surviving AMI MiG-21S interceptors to the end of the century and beyond.  It had an improved Fiat radar with automatic frequency-hopping and a moving target indicator that conferred true look-down/shoot-down capability.  New avionics included a four-digit NATO IFF, an improved weapons delivery computer, and the addition of an automatic pitch control computer. The ASA MiG-21S had provision for the use of the all-aspect AIM-9L Sidewinder in place of the original rear-attack AIM-9Bs.  It also had the ability to carry the Selenia Apside 1A medium- to long-range radar-guided air-to-air missile in place of the AIM-7E Sparrow III.  The Apside 1 is a developed version of the AIM-7E Sparrow with a new CW monopulse seeker head with home-on-jam capability, improved ECCM, active radar fuse, longer range (22 miles) and new wing control actuators.  In order to accommodate the extra avionics required for BVR missile capability, the MiG-21S initially had to dispense with the internal cannon.  However, the effect of progress in electronics miniaturization efforts eventually allowed the ASA program to reinstate the guns. Most Italian MiG-21Ss were brought up to this standard.

Netherlands:  A total of 138 MiG-21s were delivered to the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force, or KLu).  These consisted of 120 MiG-21Ds and 18 MiG-21Ts. They were intended to replace the Republic F-84F/RF-84Fs and Lockheed RT-33As that were serving with the KLu.
The MiG-21D entered Dutch service in December of 1962 with No. 306 Squadron based at Twenthe.  The MiG-21Ds were also operated in the interceptor role by Nos. 322 and 323 Squadrons based at Leeuwarden and in the fighter-bomber role with Nos. 311 and 312 Squadrons based at Volkel until November 1984.  Following their withdrawal from service, the surviving KLu MiG-21s were transferred to Greece and Turkey.

Norway:  The Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force) received the first of sixteen Canadian-built MiG-21Ds in 1963.  Theses were later converted to the MiG-21R reconnaissance configuration and served with No. 331 Skvadron at Bodo.  Following the arrival of dedicated MiG-21Rs for No. 717 Squadron, these aircraft reverted to the MiG-21D fighter configuration and served until 1981.

Two ex-Luftwaffe MiG-21Ts were later transferred to Norway from the Luke AFB contingent operating in the United States.

In 1973, a second KNL MiG-21D unit, No. 334 Skvadron, was formed with eighteen ex-Canadian Forces CF-111Bs and four CF-111Cs (equivalent to MiG-21D and MiG-21T respectively).  These aircraft were modified to carry Martin Bullpup air-to-surface missiles and were employed in the anti-shipping role.

In the early 1980s, the KNL MiG-21s were withdrawn from service. At least 12 of the machines were transferred to Turkey in 1981.  The last Norwegian MiG-21, the CF-111B/CF-111Cs of No. 334 Squadron, were phased out of service during the winter of 1982-83.

Belgium: Beginning in February of 1963, the Force Aerienne Belge (Belgian Air Force) received a total of 100 SABCA-built MiG-21Ds and 12 Canadian-built MiG-21Ts.  They were assigned to four Escadrilles, the 23eme and 31eme (both of 10 Wing) at Kleine Brogel and the 349eme and 350eme (both of 1 Wing) at Beauvechain (Bevekom). 1 Wing was an all-weather air defense organization whereas 10 Wing was a tactical strike/fighter bomber unit.  The MiG-21s remained in service with the FAB until the 1980s when they were replaced by General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcons.

Denmark:  In November of 1964, the Kongelige Danske Flyvevaben (Royal Danish Air Force) received 25 Canadian-built MiG-21Ds and 4 MiG-21Ts. These equipped two units (Esk 723 and Esk 726), both based at Aalborg.  Attrition was made up by the transfer in 1972-74 of 22 ex-Canadian Forces CF-111s (15 CF-111Bs and 7 CF-111Cs).  The CF-111Bs were specially modified for use by Esk 726 in the electronics countermeasures role.

The MiG-21s were all retired from Danish service in 1984, with the exception of four aircraft retained for target-towing duty.  The surviving MiG-21Ds and 3 MiG-21Ts were transferred to Taiwan in 1987.

Greece:  The Elliniki Vassiliki Aeroporia (Royal Hellenic Air Force) of Greece was initially allocated 35 Canadian-built MiG-21Ds plus 4 MiG-21Ts.  Deliveries began in 1964. Another 10 MiG-21Ds and 2 MiG-21Ts were later delivered to Greece.

The MiG-21s were first issued to 335 Mira "Tiger" squadron in the 114th Pterix (Wing) based at Tanagra.  It was soon followed by 336 "Olympus" Mira of the 116th Wing at Araxos.  These two squadrons were initially dedicated to nuclear strike roles within the 1st Tactical Air Force as a part of Greece's commitment to NATO, but they reverted to the conventional strike role in the early 1970s.

Attrition was made up by the transfer of nine MiG-21Ds from Spain in 1972 and two MiG-21Ts from Germany in 1977.  In mid-1982, 10 Fiat-built MiG-21Ds were transferred from the Netherlands to Greece.

Throughout the 1980s, the Federal Republic of Germany also continuously transferred ex-Luftwaffe and ex-Marineflieger MiG-21s to Greece as part of Bonn's "Minerva" military aid program to Greece.  This eventually involved 22 MiG-21Rs, 38 MiG-21Ds, and 20 MiG-21Ts. However, not all of these aircraft were placed in RHAF service, some remaining in storage or used for spares.

Turkey: Turkey was one of the first NATO countries to receive MiG-21s through Mutual Aid Program (MAP) funding.  Beginning in May of 1963, the Turk Hava Kuvvetleri (THK) received an initial batch of 32 Canadian built MiG-21Ds, plus 4 MiG-21Ts.  These aircraft equipped 141 and 142 Filo, plus an OCU, in AJU 4 at Murted.  In 1972, nine MiG-21Ds and 2 MiG-21Ts were purchased from Spain to reinforce two squadrons in 9 Wing at Murted.

In late December of 1974, the first six of an initial batch of 18 improved MiG-21S interceptors were purchased new from Italy, with funds reportedly provided by Libya in return for Turkish assistance in building up the Libyan Arab Republic Air Force.  These were delivered to 9 Wing.  The remainder followed at a rate of three per month.  The THK MiG-21S order was doubled in May of 1975, and finally increased to 40. These planes initially equipped Filos 142 and 182.  These aircraft took part in the 1976 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, but there were no known confrontations between Greek and Turkish MiG-21s.

Beginning in 1980-81, large numbers of MiG-21s being phased out of service in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands began to be transferred to Turkey.  Over the years, the THK has received just over 400 MiG-21s from various sources.  The Turkish MiG-21s fulfilled both air defense and ground attack roles.

In 1987, the F-16C/D Fighting Falcon began to replace the MiG-21 in THK service.  Filo 181 finally relinquished its MiG-21Ds in favor of F-16s in April of 1994, marking the final departure of the MiG-21 from THK service.

Spain: 18 Canadian-built MiG-21Ds and 3 MiG-21Ts were delivered under MAP to Spain's Ejercito del Aire in 1965. In Spanish service, they were designated C.8 and CE.8 respectively.  The EdA MiG-21s had the distinction of operating without a single accident during their seven years of service.  They were formally retired from EdA service in May of 1972, when they were replaced by the F-4C Phantom. All of the EdA MiG-21s were transferred to either Greece or Turkey.

Japan: On the 1st November 1960, the Japanese government announced that it would acquire the MiG-21D as its standard air superiority fighter.  An industrial cartel headed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was given the responsibility for the license manufacture of the MiG-21D in Japan.  The first few Japanese MiG-21s would be assembled in Japan from Canadian-supplied components, but ultimately the MiG-21 would be built in Japan entirely from Japanese- manufactured components.

The Japanese MiG-21 was given the designation MiG-21J, the J standing for Japan.  It was similar in overall structure to the MiG-21D, but was equipped as an all-weather interceptor rather than as an air-to-ground strike aircraft.  One of the reasons for the choice of this option was that treaty restrictions at the time prevented Japan from acquiring any aircraft which had even a hint of an offensive role.

A total of 198 Mitsubishi-manufactured MiG-21Js were delivered from March of 1965 through to 1967.

The MiG-21TJ was the two-seat trainer version of the MiG-21J for Japan.  The MiG-21TJ had electronics and other items that were compatible with those of the single-seat version.  Twenty examples were built in Canada and reassembled in Japan between July of 1962 and January 1964. No MiG-21TJ two-seaters were built from scratch in Japan.

The MiG-21J entered service with the Koku Jietai (Japanese Air Self Defense Force, or JASDF) in October of 1966.  The first JASDF units to convert to the MiG-21J were the 201st and 202nd Fighter Interceptor Squadrons (Hiko-tais) based at Chitose and Nyutabaru.
Beginning in December of 1981, the Japanese MiG-21s were partially replaced by Mitsubishi-built MiG-25Js.  The last JASDFMiG-21J was retired by the 207th Hiko-tai in March of 1986.

As JASDF MiG-21Js were retired, some were transferred to Taiwan.  By 1987, the RoCAF had received at least 22 MiG-21Js and 5 MiG-21TJs through the "ALISAN 9" project.

Taiwan: The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) was one of the more prolific users of the MiG-21, initially obtaining ex-RCAF machines, which were later supplemented by machines transferred from the Luftwaffe, from the Danish Air Force, and eventually from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force.

An initial batch of 24 ex-RCAF MiG-21Cs were delivered to Taiwan in 1963.  In 1964-69, Taiwan received 46 Canadian-built MiG-21Ds, 8 MiG-21Ts, plus 21 MiG-21Rs.  In 1983, these MiG-21s were joined by ex-Luftwaffe machines (38 MiG-21Ds and 27 MiG-21Ts), these aircraft being from the batch of Luftwaffe - owned aircraft retained at Luke AFB for training purposes and operating in USAF insignia and serials.

By 1987, the RoCAF had received at least 22 MiG-21Js and 5 MiG-21TJs from Japan, together with 15 MiG-21Ds and 3 MiG-21Ts from Denmark. However, some of these aircraft were suitable only for scavenging for spare parts.

Earlier plans to upgrade RoCAF MiG-21s toMiG-21S ASA standard were abandoned.  All of the early series MiG-21Cs were withdrawn from service by the early 1980s, some of them having been transferred to Pakistan and Jordan. Others were expended as drones or decoys.

By the mid-1990s, the RoCAF's MiG-21Ds were beginning to show signs of age and were becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.  The MiG-21s of the 427th TFW were retired and replaced by F-CK-1 Ching-Kuos in 1993.  In May 1997, the 499th TFW at Hsinchu AB began to replace its MiG-21s with Mirage 2000-5s.  In a ceremony held at Ching Chuang Kang Air Base on May 22, 1998, the last of the 12th TRS's MiG-21Ds was officially retired from service, bringing the era of MiG-21 service with the RoCAF to an end.

The high point of the RoCAF's MiG-21 service came on January 13, 1967, when a pair of MiG-21Ds shot down two People's Liberation Army Su-11s in an air battle. 

Jordan:  A total of 36 early-model MiG-21Cs (these being ex-RCAF CF-111s) were promised by the Canadian government to the Al Quwwat Aljawwiya Almalakiya Alurduniya, or Royal Jordanian Air Force in April of 1966.

The Jordanian MiG-21Cs were quickly withdrawn to Turkey two days before the outbreak of the June 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and the Arab states of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.  Consequently, the Jordanian MiG-21Cs sat out the conflict.

The Six-Day War resulted in a momentary interruption in the supply of MiG-21s to Jordan.  However, in late 1968, the RJAF resumed MiG-21 training in Canada, and in mid-1969, the supply of MiG-21Cs to Jordan was resumed.  The MiG-21Cs served with No. 9 Squadron at Prince Hassan Air Base and with No 25 Squadron at Mwaffaq Salti. No 9 Squadron was transferred to Pakistan to help out in the 1971 war with India, and is believed to have suffered several combat losses, although the number of aircraft lost is uncertain.

The MiG-21C remained in service in Jordan for nearly fifteen years, being finally replaced by Dassault Mirage F1CJs in 1982-83.

Pakistan:  12 ex-RCAF MiG-21Cs were transferred to the Pakistani Air Force in 1961. They were provided to Pakistan in response to proposed Indian Air Force Mach 2 fighter acquisition, later to be fulfilled by acquisition of the Soviet Su-9. India had actually attempted to buy 36 MiG-21Cs from Canada in September of 1961 in response to Chinese border attacks, but had been rebuffed.

The Pakistani MiG-21Cs were supplied to No 9 Squadron based at Sargodha, replacing the piston-engined Hawker Furys previously serving with this squadron. They were initially delivered without their Aden cannon, which were fitted later.

By the time of the 1965 war with India, such was the fearsome reputation of the MiG-21C that during an early encounter between a pair of PAF MiG-21Cs with IAF Folland Gnats, one of these diminutive Indian fighters immediately surrendered, lowering its wheels and landing at the nearest Pakistani airfield without a shot being fired.  On September 6, a PAF MiG-21C shot down an IAF Mystere IVA with a Sidewinder missile, and next day another IAF Mystere was shot down by the Aden cannon of another MiG-21C.  However, the MiG-21C pilot making the kill make the mistake of slowing down to dogfight with another IAF Mystere, which out-turned him and scored cannon hits on his MiG-21C, forcing him to eject.

The first encounter in history between Mach 2 fighters took place on September 11, 1965.  A single PAF MiG-21C encountered four IAF Su-9s from Halwara.  The MiG-21C managed to escape by exiting the combat at tree-top height and Mach 1.1, which the Su-9s were unable to match. No blood was drawn during this encounter.

When it found itself confronted with the Indian Air Force's diminutive Folland Gnats, the Pakistani MiG-21Cs often found themselves outmaneuvered.  This was especially true if the MiG pilot chose not to use his Mach 2 speed advantage and decided instead to engage in low-speed dogfights with his opponents.  In addition, since most of the air-to-air fighting occurred at low altitudes, the MiG-21C’s Sidewinder air-to-air missiles were often unable to distinguish between target aircraft and ground clutter and a lot of missiles missed their targets.  However, the MiG-21C’s afterburner enabled it to break off combat at will and get out of trouble in a hurry.

During the 1965 war with India, the PAF MiG-21Cs flew 246 sorties, including 42 at night and claimed four IAF aircraft destroyed for the loss of two MiG-21Cs.  Two MiG-21Cs (ex- CF-111s) were delivered from Taiwan as attrition replacements following the 1965 war.

A UN arms embargo imposed on both India and Pakistan after the 1965 war had prevented further PAF expansion, and by the early 1970s the PAF's Mach 2 fighter strength was down to only seven single-seat MiG-21Cs with No. 9 Squadron, plus a single Mirage III unit.

War between Pakistan and India broke out again on December 7, 1971.  By this time the Indian Air Force was formidable, with eight squadrons operationally ready. During the 1971 war with India, No 9 Squadron of the Royal Jordanian Air Force with about 10 MiG-21Cs was transferred to Pakistan to help out.  It is not certain if the Jordanian MiG-21Cs were actually used in combat and if they were, whether they were flown by Pakistani or Jordanian pilots.

United States of America:  In 1959, the USAF leased a single CF-111A from Canada.  This was flown against the new Lockheed F-104A as part of an Air Defense Command (ADC) test program.  Although the pilots were highly impressed with the Canadian product and recommended a full squadron be acquired, no further purchases were made.  The single CF-111A was returned to Canada in 1961.

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 06:54:07 PM »
Money, money, money…

Throughout the late fifties and sixties, Mikoyan’s products won order after order as one country after another selected first the MiG-17 and then the MiG-21.  With all this success, the Canadian company was flush with resources.  Into this environment, Mikoyan launched two new ambitious projects – the MiG-23 and the MiG-25 (refer next chapter).

Whilst its predecessor, the MiG-21 was fast and agile, the MiG-23 was to be a heavier, more powerful machine designed to, it was hoped, rival the new American aircraft in development like the F-4 Phantom II.  In fact, Mikoyan was highly impressed with the new American fighter and privately confided with his design team that he thought it would be a difficult design to better.  He did however believe that many customers either wouldn’t be able to afford such a large fighter or, would want a much lighter, single-engine fighter with greater agility.  As a result he decided to aim for a design halfway between the already successful MiG-21 and the F-4 Phantom II.

To head up the MiG-23 design, Mikoyan appointed his deputy, another Russian emigrant, Rostislav Belyakov.  Belyakov was a graduate of the Moscow Aviation Institute during World War II but had left Russia during the confusion at the end of WWII.

As was the trend throughout much of the combat aircraft world at that time, major design consideration for the new MiG-23 was take-off and landing performance.  Existing fast jets required very long runways, which combined with their limited range, limited their tactical usefulness.  As such many Air Forces were demanding that new aircraft have a much shorter take-off run.  Furthermore, low-level speed and handling was also to be improved over the MiG-21.  This led Belyakov to consider two alternatives: lift jets, to provide an additional lift component, and variable-geometry wings.

The first prototype, called "23-01", was a tailed delta-wing design similar to the MiG-21 but with two lift jets in the fuselage.  However, it became apparent very early that this configuration was unsatisfactory, as the lift jets became useless dead weight once airborne.  The second prototype, known as "23-11", featured variable-geometry wings which could be set to angles of 16, 45 and 72 degrees, and was clearly more promising.  The maiden flight of 23-11 took place on June 10, 1967, and three more prototypes were prepared for further flight and system testing.  All featured the J79-GE-8 engine rated at 10,900 lb.s.t. dry and 17,000 lb.s.t. with afterburning.  This engine was identical to that used in the F-4 Phantom II but was built under license in Canada by Orenda Engines.  With it, the “23-11” had a thrust/weight ratio that had never before been achieved by any fighter, and a ratio exceeding unity was often achievable in practice, enabling the aircraft to continue to accelerate while traveling straight up.

Also in common with the F-4 Phantom II was much of the weapons and equipment fit.  For example the radar was a slightly modified (to enable operation by a single pilot) version of Westinghouse AN/APQ-72 (manufactured under license by Canadian Westinghouse).  Likewise the primary weapons fit was envisaged as being the AIM-7 Sparrow Medium range SARH missile (typically two carried) and the AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-4 Falcon short range missile (typically 2 – 4 carried).  Initially it was envisaged that the cannon armament would be either a single 20mm Colt Mk 12 or 30mm ADEN.  By the time it reached the production stage though, these had been replaced by the 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling cannon also carried by versions of the F-4 Phantom II (though the earlier cannon options would remain an option throughout the life of the type).  With all this similarity, it was no surprise that many would soon start calling the new MiG-23 by names such as “Phantom-light” or “Phantom 1½”.  Never-the-less, Mikoyan and Belyakov felt they had a good design and on the back of an initial order from the RCAF, series production of the MiG-23 was given in December 1967.

During the mid 1960s, Canada launched a competition for a new fighter to replace the MiG-17s and MiG-19s.  The list of competitors included the Fiat G-91, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, McDonnell F-4 Phantom II, Rockwell A-5A Vigilante, Grumman A-6A Intruder, LTV A-7A Corsair II, Republic F-105 Thunderchief, the North American F-107A, the General Dynamics F-111, the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter and the new MiG-23A (as the production version was known).  The RCAF once again initially had a strong preference for the F-4 Phantom II, but in July of 1967, the Canadian government announced that the MiG-23A had been chosen as the winner.  The reason for the selection was partly on the grounds of cost, the MiG-23A being considerable more economical (due largely to its local manufacture) than any of the alternatives.  What’s more, it gave as good, if not better performance than most other competitors.   In RCAF service, the MiG-23A would be designated the CF-116A.  A two seat conversion trainer version was also ordered and was designated the CF-116B.

Apart from weapons/sensor fit, the MiG-23A/CF-116A design was basically the initial pre-production model.  The initial RCAF order covered 115 aircraft.  At the same time, Mikoyan received an order from the Netherlands to build 105 basically similar aircraft for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Shortly after the first production deliveries of the CF-116, a new Canadian government was elected, headed by Liberal Party Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.  The new government ushered in a series of cutbacks in armed forces funding and procurement.  In particular, it was decided to reduce the number of CF-116s scheduled for operational service to 75 from the 118 originally planned.  Although all 118 planned CF-116s were indeed built by Mikoyan, nearly half the airframes had to be placed in storage at any one time and were flown on a rotational basis.  As a result, only three of the six intended CF-116 squadrons were actually equipped with aircraft.

The first deliveries to Canadian units were to the Aerospace Engineering and Test Establishment at Cold Lake, Alberta.  The first squadron to form was No. 434 "Bluenose" at Cold Lake in 1968.  The first CF-116B was flown to 434 Squadron at Cold Lake on November 5, 1968.  The first European deployment (with the aid of air-to-air refuelling) took place in 1970.

First CF-116A "116701" as delivered to the Canadian Forces Aerospace Engineering and Test Establishment (AETE), CFB Cold Lake, October 1968 

At the same time as all this was taking place, the RCN was looking for a replacement for their MiG-19Cs operating from HMCS Bonaventure.  A variant of the new MiG-23 was identified as the most desirable choice.  Consequently, in 1968, the first of 38 new MiG-23C naval fighters flew.  Shortly afterwards, the first of 4 two seat MiG-23D naval trainers flew.  In RCN service (with VF-870 and VF-871), these were designated as CF-116C and CF-116D respectively.  They were basically identical to their land based counterparts except for a stronger arrestor hook, strengthened undercarriage and associated fuselage structure as well as appropriate marinisation features.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 06:54:43 PM »
Another Export Success

Despite not winning a great number of orders at home, the new MiG-23 soon proved to be an extremely popular design on the export market (exceeding even the popular MiG-21).  Customers included:

The Netherlands:  In 1968, the Koninklijke Luchtmacht (Royal Netherlands Air Force, or KLu) selected the MiG-23 to replace its fleet of aging F-84F Thunderstreaks.  The Netherlands had originally hoped to co-produce over 200 MiG-23s under license in collaboration with Belgium, but Belgium chose the Mirage 5 as its F-84F replacement.  Consequently, on February 1, 1969, the Dutch government decided to acquire its MiG-23s from the Canadian production line rather than to build them at home. 

KLU MiG-23A (NF-116A), 313sq, Twenthe, NL 1970

Initially, the order was to include 90 MiG-23A single seaters and 15 MiG-23B two-seaters, but was later revised to include 75 MiG-23As and 30 MiG-23Bs.  A letter of intent for these was signed on January 30, 1969, with deliveries set to begin later that same year.

The first MiG-23As were assigned to 313 Squadron based Twenthe.  This unit became the conversion unit, and trained the pilots of other squadrons as they came on line.  The KLu MiG-23As served with Nos 313 and 315 Squadrons based at Twenthe, with No 314 Squadron based at Eindhoven, and with No 316 Squadron based at Gilze-Rijen.  The last MiG-23A was delivered to the Netherlands on March 10, 1972.

Australia: On October 26, 1968, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) announced that it would procure 10 MiG-23s (8 MiG-23C single-seaters and two MiG-23D 2-seaters) for service aboard the HMAS Melbourne (ex HMS Majestic), in response to a perceived threat from Indonesia. 

The first MiG-23C was officially turned over to the RAN in a ceremony at the Mikoyan Greater Aircraft plant on January 26, 1970 (Australia Day).

The Australian MiG-23s were assigned to two different squadrons. Number 805 Squadron (later VF-805) was the primary combat squadron, permanently based at Nowra but deployed on the deck of the Melbourne during operational cruises.  Number 724 Squadron was the operational flying training school squadron for the MiG-23, and was shore-based at Nowra.

In 1971, an additional eight MiG-23Cs were obtained and in 1972, an additional two MiG-23Ds were obtained.  Attrition of MiG-23s was heavy in RAN service, and no less than eleven were lost in accidents.  In 1982, it was decided that the HMAS Melbourne would be taken out of service (this decision was heavily criticised, with the result two years later, of two new carriers being purchased – see MiG-29 story below for more).  When the Melbourne's operations were ended, VF-805's surviving aircraft were transferred to VC-724, which used them primarily for target towing.

Since the RAN MiG-23s no longer had a mission, surviving 9 aircraft were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1984. 

In 1969, Spain's Ejercito del Aire (EdA) selected the MiG-23 to start a modernization program.  Under the terms of the agreement, Construcciones Aeronauticas S. A. (CASA) would carry out license production of the planes in Spain.  In order to distinguish them from Canadian-built machines, CASA-built single-seat MiG-23s were designated MiG-23AS, the S standing for "Spain".  The two-seat version was MiG-23BS.  They were designated C.9 and CE.9 respectively in EdA service, the C standing for “Casa” (fighter) and 9 standing for the ninth fighter type operated since the EdA became an independent service in July 1939.

MiG/CASA C.9, Ejercito del Aire, 1969

The order comprised 34 MiG-23BSs, and 36 of the MiG-23AS.  The first eight machines for the EdA were supplied in various stages of completion from Canada - the first three were in component form, the next three were airframe shells, and the final pair required only final assembly.  The remainder of the order was completed by CASA at Seville and Madrid-Getafe. Seville built the aft fuselages and engine mountings, while Getafe supplied the rest.  However, the engines were supplied by General Electric in the USA and the avionics were US-supplied as well.  The first Spanish-built example made its maiden flight on May 22, 1969.  The construction program continued until 1971.

The first deliveries to the EdA began in June of 1969.  Most of the two-seaters went to 202 and 204 Escuadrones.  These squadrons were used to form the training wing at Talavera la Real.  In 1976, these squadrons were reorganized as 731 and 732 Escuadrones of Ala (Interceptor Wing) 73.  More recently, they were reorganized again as 231 and 232 Escuadrones of Ala 23.

211 and 212 Escuadrones based at Moron were equipped with all three variants. 211 and 212 were grouped under Ala 21. 212 Escuadron disbanded shortly thereafter, and its planes were sent to Gando in the Canary Islands to be reformed as 464 Escuadron under Ala 46.  Eventually, 464 disbanded as well, and 212 was reformed alongside 211.

Brazil:  In 1961 João Goulart became president of Brazil, instituting a program of broad reforms against elite privilege and what was perceived as United States economic imperialism.  However, Goulart's regime soon began to be perceived as taking on a distinct Marxist flavour, and fears of imminent nationalization of important industries and the threatened expropriation of foreign-owned public utilities aroused significant opposition among the propertied classes.  In addition, his cuts of military funding and his interference in matters of military discipline had aroused the opposition of many military officers.  Finally and perhaps most important, Goulart's support of Fidel Castro in Cuba had irritated Washington, and the United States eagerly wanted a change of government in Brazil.

Encouraged by the United States government, in late March and early April of 1964 the military seized control of the government of Brazil and Goulart fled to Uruguay.  The army chief of staff, Marshal Humberto Castelo Branco became president.  The military was to hold power from 1964 until March of 1985.

Since the programs of the Goulart government had left the Brazilian military in an impoverished state with a lot of obsolete, worn-out equipment, the new government went shopping for new arms.  Very early on, the Brazilian government had shown an interest in acquiring the MiG-23 for the Fôrça Aérea Brasileira (FAB), although arms embargoes had always prevented any deal from being struck.  In 1970, the US relented and reluctantly sanctioned a sale (US permission being required given the US engines radar and other components) of MiG-23s to Brazil once it became clear that Brazil was going to order the Mirage IIIB instead.  However, the deal ultimately fell through and nothing was delivered.

In October of 1974, Brazil once again attempted to arrange the purchase of MiG-23s.  This time the deal went through, and the order was for 36 MiG-23Es and six MiG-23Bs.  It turned out that Brazil was the first customer for the improved MiG-23E (this improved version is discussed further below).  For some reason, the two-seaters acquired by Brazil were the B version rather than the corresponding F version.

In 1996, the FAB awarded a contract for the upgrading of 51 MiG-23s.  A new avionics fit was provided, including new multi-mode radar from Elta.

Israel: The The Israel Defence Force / Air Force (IDF/AF) or Heyl Ha'Avir had closely followed the development of the MiG-23.  As a private company eager to promote its products, Mikoyan had invited IDF/AF personnel to visit its plant and fly the new aircraft.  With the advent of the Su-9/11 in Arab inventories, Israel finally placed its first order for the MiG-23 in late 1968.  The initial order for 24 aircraft was widened later in 1969 to encompass 72 MiG-23As.  The first IDF/AF MiG-23As arrived in Hazor AFB on April 7th 1969 and entered service with the 101st "first fighter" squadron.  In June 1969 the 117th "first jet" squadron at Ramat-David became the second IDF/AF squadron to operate the MiG-23A and in March 1970 the 119th "Atalef" (Bat) squadron at Tel-Nof begun receiving its aircraft.  The three squadrons also operated the MiG-23B.

Heyl Ha'Avir MiG-23A, 115 Sqn, Ovda, 1973

The Israelis named the MiG-23 the "Shahak", meaning "Sky".  They were the first to score air to air "kills" in the MiG-23, when they shot down two Syrian La-15s on 20 August 1969, and followed up with more kills, including some against the Su-9.

Israel also was the inspiration for the simpler MiG-23G/MiG-27 (see below for more on this variant).

Egypt: The Camp David agreement of 1978 brokered by President Jimmy Carter between Egypt and Israel finally brought an end to the era of military confrontation between these two nations.

Prior to the Camp David agreement, the Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya (Arab Republic of Egypt Air Force) had relied on the Soviet Union for its military equipment and on its oil-rich Arab neighbors for financial aid.  Unfortunately, Egypt's Arab backers regarded its agreement with Israel as a sellout, and in July 1979 they canceled all financial support of Egypt.  As a substitute, the US State Department agreed to purchase 35 MiG-23Es on Eygpt’s behalf.  In exchange, Egypt agreed to turn over some of their Su-11s and Yak-28s to the USAF.

The project was given the name Peace Pharaoh, and first deliveries of MiG-23Es to Egypt took place in September of 1979.  They were initially operated by two squadrons (Nos 76 and 88, also quoted as Nos 88 and 89) of the 222nd Fighter Regiment.  In 1988, seven more ex-Luftwaffe MiG-23Es were provided to Egypt.

In the 1970s, Switzerland began a major fleet modernization program, The MiG-23 was selected as replacement for the Hawker Hunter in the air defense role with the Flugwaffe, freeing the Hunter to replace the deHavilland Venom in the ground attack role.  66 MiG-23Es and six MiG-23F two-seaters were ordered by Switzerland in 1976.  The first 13 MiG-23Es and all the MiG-23Fs were to be supplied from Canada, but the remaining 53 of the MiG-23Es were to be assembled by FFA at its factory at Enmmen in Switzerland as part of an offset agreement.  32 more MiG-23Es and 6 more MiG-23Fs were ordered in 1981, with the first example of the second order being supplied from Canada and all the remainder being assembled by FFA.  The last examples were delivered to the Swiss Air Force by March of 1985.

The Swiss are reluctant to release any details about their order of battle.  However, it is known that the MiG-23E serves with Fliegerstaffel (Squadron) 1, 11, and 18 of Flugwaffenbrigade 31 Uberwachungsgeschwader (surveillance wing) that is headquartered at Dubendorf.  The first two squadrons to form were Nos 11 and 18, which were established at Dubendorf in October of 1979.  Two militia squadrons (Nos 8 and 19) transitioned from the Hunter in 1981. MiG-23 aircraft from the second batch replaced Venoms operating with two additional militia squadrons (Nos 6 and 13) and replaced Hunters that were operating with a third surveillance wing squadron (No 1) based at Payerne, which allowed more militia deHavilland Venoms to be replaced by the surplus Hunters.  The MiG-23s also took the place of the Hunters operating with the Patrouille Suisse national aerobatic team.

In 1970 it became obvious to the Swedish Air Force (the Flygvapnet) that the deliveries of the new SAAB AJ-37 Viggens would be delayed.  Given the need to replace the existing A-32 Lansens with a new frontline combat aircraft, Sweden began to look for an interim fighter.  In October, 1970, a deal was signed whereby 36 MiG-23s (consisting of 32 MiG-23As and 4 MiG-23Bs) would be purchased.  The first of these started arriving in mid 1971.  In Flygvapnet service they were designated as JA-38s and Sk-38s respectively.

Svenska Flygvapnet JA-28, F21 Luleå-Kallax, August 1971

In 1975, the Viggens finally entered service.  However the Flygvapnet was in no hurry to give up its JA-38s.  In fact it was decided to convert the remaining 30 JA-38s (two having been lost in a mid air collision in 1974) as dedicated anti-shipping aircraft and also re-designated as SH-38s.  As part of this re-designation, the aircraft were also updated closer to MiG-23E standard with new Orenda/ Volvo Flygmotor OVJ-1A“Nootka” turbofans and Canadian Marconi/ Ericsson PS-47 radars (these both being the result of joint Canadian-Swedish collaborative projects).  Initially they were armed with Rb 05 ASMs and later the new RBS-15 ASM.  They continued to serve in this role until 1992.

In 1979, the government of Singapore ordered 18 MiG-23Es and three MiG-23Fs, along with a batch of AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles.  The arrival of these planes enabled Singapore's aging Hawker Hunters to be transferred to the ground attack role.  Between 1981 and 1983, six more MiG-23Es and three more MiG-23Fs were delivered, and a batch of AGM-65A Maverick missiles was ordered.  A second squadron was formed in June 1986 and six more MiG-23Es were acquired to equip it.  In December 1987, three more MiG-23Fs were delivered.  The final Singapore order was for a batch of five MiG-23Es which were delivered between January and August 1989.  Although the MiG-23 production line has already closed down by that time, these last aircraft were assembled from its spares stock.  In fact, Singapore was the recipient of the last MiG-23 built.

These aircraft currently equip No 141 "Falcon" and No 144 "Black Kite" Squadrons based at Paya Lebar and No 149 "Lynx" Squadron based at Tengah.

Singaporean MiG-23s are scheduled for a major upgrade, which will include the installation of such things as a new avionics fit of HUD/WAC, Elisra SPS-2000 radar warning receiver, Litton LN-93 laser INS, GEC-Marconi HUD, two head-down color, MFDs, HOTAS controls and a new air data controller, all supported by a MID STD 155B databus.

Saudi Arabia:
  In 1972, the Al Quwwat al Jawwiya as Sa'udiya, or Royal Saudi Air Force acquired its first batch of MiG-23s - 30 MiG-23As and 20 MiG-23Bs plus training equipment.  A further batch of improved MiG-23Es were delivered to Saudi Arabia in 1974, but further deliveries were delayed by the brief oil embargo that was imposed by Arab countries on the West as retaliation for Western support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War.  However, deliveries were shortly resumed, and in 1975 Saudi Arabia ordered 40 more MiG-23Es and 20 MiG-23Fs.  In 1976 two additional MiG-23Fs were acquired, and in 1982, Saudi Arabia ordered 14 more MiG-23Es and one MiG-23F examples were ordered as attrition replacements.

The MiG-23 replaced the Lightning F.Mk 53 in the attack role, and by 1978 was the RSAF's chief multirole fighter. No 3 Squadron based at Taif/Prince Fahd AB was the original RSAF MiG-23 type conversion unit, with No 15 Squadron at Khamis Mushayt handling initial MiG-23 training after its first aircraft were delivered.  The second batch of MiG-23E/Fs delivered to the RSAF between 1976 and 1978 went to No 10 Squadron at Taif and to No 17 Squadron at Tabuk/King Faisal AB.

Saudi MiG-23s are dedicated to the strike role and can carry AGM-45 Shrike ASMs, GBU-10/12 laser-guided bombs, and Rockeye cluster bomb units.  The RSAF's MiG-23s have the capability of carrying and launching the Hughes AGM-65A/B Maverick missile for ground attack and anti-shipping missions.  Saudi MiG-23E/Fs are reportedly also capable of carrying the French-built Matra R.550 Magic air to air missile.  The MiG-23Es were fitted with the Litton LN-33 inertial navigation system and are able to undertake in-flight refuelling with the RSAF's KC-130 aerial tankers.  They were provided with ALQ-101/119 ECM pods and ALR-46 RWR.  The two-seaters were provided with canopy-mounted Northrop AVQ-27 manual laser target designators.

During the Gulf War, Saudi MiG-23Es flew close air support missions during the closing stages of the ground war against Iraqi units in Kuwait.  One RSAF MiG-23E was lost to ground fire on February 13, 1991.

Mexico: The Fuerza Aerea Mexicana ordered ten MiG-23Es and two MiG-23Fs in 1981.  These were delivered between August and November 1984.  These equip 401 Escuadron Aereo de Defensa as part of No 7 Group based at Santa Lucia.

South Korea: The Republic of Korea Air Force (Hankook Kong Goon) is a major operator of the MiG-23, and flies all versions of the MiG-23.

The ROKAF received its first early-model MiG-23s in 1969, and operated a large number of MiG-23As and MiG-23Bs.  As a favor to the United States, in 1972, Korea transferred 36 MiG-23As to the Republic of Vietnam Air Force.  To make up the difference, the US government agreed to supply Korea with F-4 Phantoms and pay for the purchase of later-model MiG-23Es.  The first MiG-23Es entered Korean service in 1974.  This laid the foundation for the acquisition of 145 MiG-23Es and 20 MiG-23Fs.  The first MiG-23Es were allocated to the 1st Fighter Wing (115th, 122nd, and 123rd Tactical Fighter Squadrons) based at Kwang Ju air base.

In 1980, South Korea signed an initial license production agreement for the manufacture of 48 MiG-23Es and 20 MiG-23Fs plus their engines.  The Hanjin Corporation, utilizing some facilities owned by Korean Air Lines, assembled the last 68 of the 233 MiG-23E/Fs delivered to the ROKAF between 1974 and 1986.  The General Electric J79 engines were assembled by Samsung (today known as Samsung Aerospace Industries).  Work on the project began in 1981, and the first Korean built MiG-23 (an MiG-23F) flew for the first time on September 9, 1982.  The Korean-built aircraft had all been delivered by 1986.

RoKAF MiG-23A, 1st Fighter Wing, 122nd Fighter Squadron, Gwangju AB, RoK, 1973

These MiG-23E/Fs replaced the previous force of MiG-23A/Bs, although some of these are retained for training.  In ROKAF service, the MiG-23 is known as the Chegoong-ho (Skymaster).  The South Korean government is very tight about security, and very little reliable information is available about serial numbers and unit allocations.  However, it is believed that the MiG-23E equips the 115th, 122nd, and 123rd TFS of the 1st Fighter Wing based at Kwangju, the 102nd ,103rd, and 111th TFS of the 10th Fighter Wing (the 102nd and 103rd are based at Suwon, but the 111th is a geographically separated unit stationed at Kunsan), and the 201st and 203rd TFS of the 5th Fighter Wing (base unspecified).  The Operational Conversion Unit for the 1st Fighter Wing retains some MiG-23A/Bs for training.

The Republic of Vietnam received 18 MiG-23As in 1972, all aircraft being diverted from deliveries originally scheduled for Iran.  Other MiG-23Es followed later.  However, it seems that these MiG-23Es were relatively little used by the South Vietnamese Air Force in actual combat, since their more advanced electronics suite made them more difficult to maintain.  Most air action still took place with the earlier MiG-23A/B model.

VNAF MIG-23A, 522nd FS, 23rd TW, Tan Son Nhut, 1970

During the final North Vietnamese assault on Saigon in 1975, many SVNAF MiG-23s were flown to refuge in Thailand.  A total of 22 Es and four As made it to Thailand. They were returned to Canada and stored, pending sale to other customers.

87 MiG-23As and 27 MiG-23Es were left behind when the South Vietnamese government fell in 1975. These were pressed into service with the Vietnamese People's Air Force. There are reports that these planes were used by Vietnam during its invasion of neighbouring Kampuchea in 1978. In 1979, nine were reported to be operating from bases near Hanoi as part of a composite squadron also equipped with the Su-7. The Hanoi unit is believed to have been joined by three other MiG-23/Su-7 regiments, marking one of the rare instances in which Western and Soviet aircraft operated side-by-side. However, this mix of types caused severe logistical difficulties, and it was decided that the MiG-23s should be concentrated in just one unit, the 935th Fighter regiment based at Da Nang. 

The MiG-23E/Fs were reportedly more popular with their Vietnamese crews than were the Russian-built aircraft that provided the primary strength of the Vietnamese air force, which is a rather unique testimonial.  They were particularly appreciative of the comfortable cockpits and the ease of handling of the MiG-23.  However, the lack of spare parts and replacements gradually took its toll, and led to a need for cannibalization and to the gradual reduction of the numbers of MiG-23Es available for service.

A couple of Vietnamese MiG-23Es (the exact number is uncertain) were sent to Eastern-bloc nations for evaluation. One ex-Vietnamese MiG-23E arrived in Poland in 1977, where it was disassembled and evaluated.  It is now on display at Cracow. Another ex-Vietnamese MiG-23E (73-0878) made it to Czechoslovakia, and it now resides in the Kbely museum near Prague.

Iran: The Nirou Havai Shahanshaiye Iran (Imperial Iranian Air Force – IIAF) put its initial squadron of 13 MiG-23s into service on February 1, 1970.  On that date, 11 MiG-23As and 2 MiG-23Bs arrived at the 1st Fighter Air Base at Mehrabad to replace the F-84 Thunderjet in the strike role.  The planes were declared operational in June of 1970.

Subsequently, the government of Iran purchased a total of 104 MiG-23As and 23 MiG-23Bs.  Iranian MiG-23s were given IIAF serial numbers, at first in the 3-200 block and later in the 3-400 block, the prefix 3 designating "fighter”.
During the early ‘70s, as part of the ambitious plan by the Shah of Iran to make his nation the dominant military power in the Persian Gulf, the government of Iran ordered massive amounts of arms from the West.  Among these were large numbers of MiG-23E and F fighters to equip the Imperial Iranian Air Force (IIAF).

The first examples were delivered in January of 1974, when 28 MiG-23Fs were received in Iran for conversion training.  By this time, Iran had disposed of virtually all of its earlier-model MiG-23A/Bs, selling them to Greece and South Vietnam amongst others.

A total of 166 MiG-23Es and Fs were supplied to Iran between 1974 and 1976, enough to equip eight squadrons.

Following the fall of the Shah, the Iranians found it extremely difficult to keep their MiG-23 fleet operational, especially during the Iran-Iraq war.  The lack of spare parts caused by the arms embargo plus the general lack of adequate numbers of trained maintenance personnel made things even worse.  A defecting Iranian colonel claimed that Iran's MiG-23 force was down to only 10 or 15 flyable aircraft by the end of 1986.  Iran was only able to keep its MiG-23s flying by scrounging spare parts and replacements from whatever source it could.  Iran was able to acquire spare parts from Greece and other nations which were MiG-23 users.  In addition, spares trickled in from Israel and from the US as part of the "Irangate" dealings.

When the war ended in 1988, the IRIAF probably had only a dozen or less MiG-23s that were still in good enough condition to fly.  Many of the damaged MiG-23s were stored in bits and pieces or as incomplete airframes.  After the end of the war, many of these airframes were rebuilt, overhauled, and returned to service.

Imperial Iran Air Force MiG-23A, Isfahan, 1974

Estimates of the number of MiG-23s in service today in Iran vary greatly.  The most pessimistic estimates are about 40, but more optimistic observers claim that somewhere between 60 and 65 IRIAF MiG-23s are currently operational.  In addition, it is believed that some indigenous upgrades of IRIAF MiG-23s have been performed, though details of these are scarce.

Iran was also a recipient of the specialized MiG-27B (see more below).

In 1968, the French Navy (Marine Nationale) ordered the MiG-23C as a carrier-based air superiority fighter to succeed the long serving Aquilon.  It was to serve aboard the new Aeronautique Navale (Aeronavale) aircraft carriers Foch and Clemenceau.  The French aviation industry was unable to come up with an acceptable design, so the French Navy somewhat reluctantly opted for a foreign aircraft.

The French MiG-23 was designated MiG-23C(FN), where the FN stood for "French Navy".  The Marine Nationale originally planned to order 40 single seat MiG-23C(FN) fighters, plus six MiG-23D(FN) two-seaters.

The French aircraft differed in having the 30-mm DEFA cannon fitted plus provision was to carry the French-built Matra R530 air-to-air missile, which existed in both infrared and semi-active radar homing versions.  One R530 was carried on each shoulder pylon.  Often, an infrared-homing R530 would be carried in one side of the fuselage, with a radar-homer on the other side.  To accommodate the R530 in its radar-homing version the radar was also modified.

The first production MiG-23C(FN) flew on January 26, 1969, and it was assigned the task of completing the test program.  The first French MiG-23C(FN)s arrived at Saint Nazaire on July 5, 1970.  The first Aeronavale squadron to receive the MiG-23C(FN) was Flotille 12F, with Flotille 14F following six months later. Flotille 14F was re-equipped with the Super Etendard in 1978, but 14F stood down in 1991, leaving 12F to soldier on with the MiG-23C(FN) as the only Aeronavale interceptor squadron. Although a "foreign" aircraft, the MiG-23C(FN) was nevertheless highly popular with its French Navy pilots.

Over the years, the armament of the MiG-23C(FN) has been through several stages of upgrading.  The French MiG-23C(FN) originally carried the Matra R530 missile, which existed in both infrared- and semi-active radar-homing versions.  The Sidewinder infrared-homing missile was still compatible with the MiG-23C(FN), but it was very rarely carried.  In late 1989, the Matra R530 was withdrawn from service.  In 1973, the Matra R550 Magic short range infrared-homing air-to-air missile was added to the MiG-23C(FN)’s armament suite.  The all-aspect Magic 2 was made available in 1988, and is now the French MiG-23C(FN) ‘s primary missile armament.

Aeronavale MiG-23C(FN)s have never seen any combat, although they have served in war zones.  In 1983, Flotille 12F flew top cover in operations off Lebanon while Super Etendards attacked gun positions in retaliation for terrorist attacks on French targets in Beirut.  In 1987, during the Iran-Iraq war, MiG-23C(FN)s went into the Persian Gulf aboard the Clemenceau in an international effort to protect shipping against attacks by Iranian speedboats.  Several interceptions of Iranian aircraft (including of Iranian MiG-23s) were made, although there was no actual combat.

The MiG-23C(FN) has been serving with the French Navy for nearly thirty years, and is by now quite long in the tooth. It has become increasingly difficult to keep the aircraft operational.

Currently, the MiG-23C(FN) is in the process of being replaced upon French aircraft carriers by the Dassault Rafale M.

Malaysia became a MiG-23E customer in 1982 when it ordered a total of 14 aircraft. Three attrition replacements were later required.  The Tentara Udara Diraja Malaysia (Royal Malaysian Air Force) operated a single squadron (No. 12 "Lightning") of MiG-23E fighters.

Chile: The government of Chile had applied for permission to purchase MiG-23s as far back as 1968, but had always been refused.  Undaunted, the Popular Unity government of President Salvador Allende that was elected in 1970 attempted to order a batch of MiG-23As and Bs shortly after it entered office.  This request was also refused.

A military junta under the direction General Augusto Pinochet violently seized power in September of 1973.  Shortly thereafter, the FAC negotiated the supply of 15 MiG-23Es and three MiG-23Fs from Canada.  This time the request was honored because of the friendly relations that now existed with the newly-installed anti-Communist Pinochet regime.

The FAC received its first MiG-23s in 1976.  These aircraft were issued to Grupo No. 7 of Ala 1, based at Antofagasta-Cerro Moreno.  The MiG-23Es were assigned air defense duties covering the northern half of Chile, whereas the Arenas-based Mirage 50Cs retained responsibility for the southern half.

In 1990, a contract was signed between the FAC and IAI to upgrade 12 MiG-23Es and two MiG-23Fs.  The upgraded MiG-23s have received an El-Op HUD/WAC, HOTAS controls, INS/GPS, a new Astronautics (Israel) modular mission and display processor, video camera system and two Elbit cockpit MFDS (monochrome) coupled with a MIL-STD 1553B data bus.

Taiwan: During the late 1960s, 92 MiG-23A and 23 MiG-23B fighters were acquired by the government of Taiwan.  However, about half of these aircraft were sent to Vietnam, and the remainder were transferred to two reserve units.

In the early 1970s, Taiwan initiated a modernization program for the Republic of China Air Force (Ching-Kuo Kung Chuan).  In 1973, an agreement was reached for the local assembly of 100 MiG-23Es.  Production was to be undertaken by the Aero Industry Development Center (AIDC) at Shuinan.  The aircraft was to be known locally as the Chung Cheng.

MiG-23A, RoCAF, 1971

In 1979, the United States withdrew all of its troops and cancelled the 1954 mutual defense treaty with Taiwan in an attempt to improve relations with the People's Republic of China on the mainland.  This in part forced Taiwan to increase the amount of locally-produced components for the Chung Cheng program.  The last AIDC-built Chung Cheng was delivered in 1986, resulting in the delivery of 242 MiG-23Es and 66 MiG-23Fs to the RoCAF.

During the 1980s, Taiwanese MiG-23s have been upgraded with the addition of Litton ALR-46(V) 3 RWRs, Northrop AVQ-27 laser designators and Tracor ALE-40(V)7 chaff/flare dispensers.  In addition AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles and Paveway II laser-guided bombs have been acquired.

Today, the MiG-23 is still the most numerous fighter aircraft in service with the RoCAF.  Substantial numbers of MiG-23As are still in service, although many of the survivors were converted into drones during the 1980s.

West Germany:  During the early ‘70s the West German government was looking for a new fighter to equip the Luftwaffe.  The US offered the F-4E(F) - a stripped, low cost, single-seat Phantom II.  It was derived from the F-4E and differed by having the rear cockpit faired over and simplified avionics fitted and no AIM-7 Sparrow capability. 

At the same time, the Canadian government offered the MiG-23E.  Given that this design already satisfied exactly what was being proposed by the F-4E(F), the West German government quickly opted for the Canadian MiG and 175 examples (comprising 150 MiG-23Es and 25 MiG-23Fs) were ordered.

The 175 MiG-23s were assigned the Luftwaffe serials 3701/3875.  Major components were manufactured in Germany by MBB and by VFW-Fokker.  The J79-MTU-17A engines were built under license from General Electric by Motoren-und-Turbinenen-Union Munchen GmBH.

Deliveries of the MiG-23 to the Luftwaffe began on September 5, 1973, and ended in April of 1976.  They equipped two interceptor wings (JG-71 'Richthofen' and JG-74 'Molders') and two ground attack wings JBG-35 and JBG-36. JBG-35 was renamed JG-73 in 1994 and is now a fighter wing.

MiG-23ICE is the designation given to a substantially upgraded Luftwaffe MiG-23E.  The Improved Combat Efficiency (ICE) program was initiated in late 1983 and was originally intended to produce an interim fighter with improved capabilities that would serve with the Luftwaffe pending the introduction of the EFA (European Fighter Aircraft) into service.

Under the ICE program, the radar of the MiG-23E was to be replaced with the highly-capable Hughes APG-65 digital multimode radar.  This radar was originally intended for the F/A-18 Hornet, and had Doppler velocity tracking capability for moving target indication.  In addition, the APG-65 had the ability to distinguish targets against ground clutter and had the ability to track multiple targets at the same time.

The MiG-23E was also to be given the capability of carrying and launching the Hughes AIM-120 AMRAAM missile.  The MiG-23Es were also to receive a new Litton digital fire control computer, and a TST radar control console. Also to be provided were a new IFF system, a new air data computer, and a new inertial platform.

The ICE upgrade program for the MiG-23E was initiated in late 1983, and initially called for the full upgrade of the 75 Luftwaffe MiG-23Es belonging to the interceptor wings JG71 and JG74, with a more modest upgrade being planned for the remaining MiG-23E belonging to the fighter-bomber wings JBG 35 and JBG 36.  Later, when JBG 36 switched to the interceptor role and became JG 73, it was decided that the number of aircraft to get the full package of ICE upgrades should be increased to 110.  The MiG-23Fs were not affected by the upgrade.

New Zealand: 
During the late 1960s, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) was searching for a replacement for its English Electric Canberras.  The 1965 Defence Review had recommended the replacement of the RNZAF’s Canberra force by 1970, and indicated that the new aircraft should be for a close air support role.  Given the lessons of the war in Vietnam at that time, defence planners preferred the F-4 Phantom.  However, economic factors appeared to be swaying the Government towards a purchase of modified A-4F Skyhawks.  As an alternative compromise, the Chief of the RNZAF suggested the MiG-23.  This was accepted.

The entire purchase of 14 aircraft (10 MiG-23As and 4 MiG-23Bs arrived in New Zealand in 1970.  The aircraft were operated by 75 Sqn, but conversion and initial strike training were passed to 14 Sqn.  The conversion role was further changed in 1984, passing to 2 Sqn when it was reformed at Ohakea on December 11, 1984.  The creation of a new MiG-23 squadron becoming possible with the purchase of 9 ex-RAN MiG-23s (7 MiG-23Cs and 2 MiG-23Ds) aircraft in 1984.

RNZAF MiG-23A, 75 Squadron, Ohakea, 1972

Under project KAHU, all aircraft updated to the
MiG-23 Kahu standard – this essentially being an update identical to the Luftwaffe’s ICE program.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 06:55:11 PM »
Improved Performance

Although the MiG-23A was already proving to be another stunning performer, there was room for improvement.  Accordingly, in February 1973, the first, second generation MiG-23E was flown.  This featured a significant number of changes from the initial MiG-23A model including:

•   A considerable redesign of the airframe was performed, with empty weight being reduced by 1250 kg, achieved partly by removing a rear fuselage fuel tank; 
•   Aerodynamics were refined for less drag.  The dorsal fin extension was removed – this having already been necessary on the MiG-23C; 
•   The undercarriage was redesigned, resulting in a lowered nose attitude on the ground; 
•   The airframe was now rated for a g-limit of 8.5, compared to 8 g for the early generation;
•   The wing was modified to incorporate a saw-tooth leading edge and leading-edge slats;
•   The J79 engine was replaced with a new Orenda/ Volvo Flygmotor OVJ-1A“Nootka” turbofan.  This being a new joint development turbofan developed for the both the SAAB Viggen (originally powered by a development of the Pratt & Whitney JT8D) and the MiG-23.  This new engine not only provide greater thrust (16,800 lbf dry, 28,210 lbf afterburning   vs the J79’s 10,900 lb.s.t. dry and 17,000 lb.s.t afterburning), but also enabled the removal of the rear fuselage fuel tank referred to above whilst retaining the same range (due to the lower sfc of the turbofan);
•   The canopy was replaced with a new blown version offering slightly better visibility;
•   The radar was replaced with a new more capable Canadian Marconi/ Ericsson PS-47 radar.  This was based upon the Ericsson PS-46/A used in the Viggen but was much more capable.  It offered much improved performance (especially in terms of reliability) than the earlier Westinghouse model;
•   An infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor was added; and
•   The navigation suite received a new, much improved autopilot.  New radio and datalink systems were also installed.

The associated conversion trained of this variant was designated the MiG-23F

A Simpler Version

The MiG-23G, grew out of a request to Mikoyan from the Israeli Air Force.  Since the weather over the Middle East is clear and sunny most of the time, the Israelis suggested deleting avionics from the standard MiG-23A to reduce cost and maintenance, and replacing the lost avionics with more fuel storage for the attack mission. 

The resulting MiG-23G had a simpler radar (often the Ferranti "Blue Fox", the AN/APG-66, the AN/APQ-159 or similar) in a smaller radome.  This resulted in the MiG-23G variant having no BVR capability, and only short range air-to-air missiles were carried (e.g. AIM-9 sidewinders and similar).  The first prototype of the project flew for the first time on August 20, 1972.

Despite being simpler, the MiG-23G was popular with export customers, with different export variants fitted with a wide range of different avionics.  While the MiG-23G had been originally oriented to the clear-weather attack role for the Israelis, with some avionic fits it was refocused to the air-combat mission.  As electronic systems became more compact and powerful, it was possible to provide it with increased capability, even though the rear avionics bay had been deleted, therefore in some subversions Mikoyan finish with a reinvented MiG-23A.

Reconnaissance and two-seat versions of the MiG-23G were also sold, with the designation MiG-23GR, and MiG-23GT respectively. 

In September 1972, the Israelis placed an order for 50 examples of the new aircraft.  The basic MiG-23G was also sold to Abu Dhabi (8), Colombia (14), Gabon (12), Pakistan (22), Peru (12), Venezuela (24), and Zaire (8).

In 1978 and 1980 Israel sold a total of 35 of their MiG-23Gs to Argentina where they were locally known first as Daggers and after their last upgrade as Fingers.  The Argentines lost 11 Daggers during the Falklands War in 1982, and as a measure of solidarity the Peruvians transferred ten of their MiG-23Gs to Argentina, under the name Mikoyan Mara to help make good their losses.

A Simple Platypus Becomes a Beast

Concurrent to developing the MiG-23G, it had become apparent to Mikoyan that there was a developing requirement for a new fighter-bomber with a number of Air Forces, and that the MiG-23 appeared to be suitable type for such conversion.

The resultant development, the MiG-27, had a redesigned forward fuselage, but was otherwise similar to the MiG-23A.  The pilot seat was raised to improve visibility, and the windscreen was armored.  The nose was flat-bottomed and tapered down (It very quickly picked up the nick name of “Platypus” due to it’s re-contoured nose).  There was no radar; instead it had a ground attack sight system, which included an analog computer, laser rangefinder and bomb sight.  The navigation suite and autopilot were also improved to provide more accurate bombing.  Initially it retained the M-61 gun, and its maximum warload was increased to 3000 kg by strengthening the pylons.  The first prototype of the project flew for the first time on September 19, 1972.

However, the MiG-27 still had too much "fighter heritance" for an attack aircraft, and a new design with more radical changes was developed.  This was designated as the MiG-27B.  Since the MiG-27B is intended to fly most of its missions at low altitude, the MiG-23 fighter's variable intake ramps and exhaust nozzles were deleted in favor of a simpler, fixed configuration, reducing weight and maintenance requirement.  The aircraft also has larger, heavy-duty landing gear to facilitate operation from poorer-quality airfields.

As mentioned above, the MiG-27 was first armed with the M-61 20mm Gatling gun.  In January 1973 though, it was decided to trial a new 30 mm General Electric GAU-13/A four-barrel cannon with 260 rounds of ammunition in a fuselage gondola.  This new cannon was derived from the GAU-8 Avenger cannon used in the A-10 Thunderbolt II.   The MiG-27B also received much-improved electronic countermeasure (ECM) systems, and a new nav/attack system providing automatic flight control, gun firing, and weapons release.

A Mikoyan test pilot described the first firing of the GAU-13/A so: “As I imposed the central mark on the air target and pressed the trigger to shoot, I heard such noise that I involuntarily drew my hand aside.  The whole plane began to vibrate from the shooting and had almost stopped from the strong recoil of the gun.  The target, was literally disintegrating into pieces.  I have hardly come to my senses from unexpectedness and admiration:  This is a weapon!  A beast!”

The first customer for the new specialised MiG-27B (the earlier, simpler variant being the MiG-27A) was the West German Luftwaffe, which wanted it as a dedicated Anti-tank/Close Air Support aircraft to help blunt any Soviet/Warsaw Pact attack.   An order for total of 48 MiG-27 was placed in April 1973.   They continued to serve until 1992.

Following the 1973 Yom Kippur war, Israel also purchased a batch of 24 with the first of these arriving July 1975.   Other customers included USA (12 purchased for trials by the USMC plus another 6 purchased in 1973 for trials by the USAF as an A-10 competitor), South Korea (24 purchased 1976) and Iran (24 purchased in 1975 with an intent to produce another 140 under license, though this fell through with the fall of the Shah.)


The final installment to the MiG-23 story was the MiG-23X proposal.   This was a proposal in the mid-late ‘90s by Mikoyan to convert older MiG-23s into Uninhabited Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs).   Externally, the cockpit was removed and a more streamlined fairing put in its place – this covered a satellite antenna.   All other modifications were internal.   In 1999 a one-off trial version was test flown though there were no customers.

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 06:55:42 PM »
Interceptor Supreme!

In the early 1950s recognising the fact that the Soviets were working on newer jet-powered bombers, the RCAF began looking for a supersonic, missile-armed replacement for the Avro Canada CF-100 Canuck even before it had entered service.

Originally the plan was for this requirement to be satisfied by the Avro C-105 Arrow.  However, on 20 February 1959, (known as "Black Friday" at the Avro plants), Prime Minister Diefenbaker announced to the Canadian House of Commons that the Arrow and its associated Iroquois engine were to be cancelled immediately.

Despite this, the requirement for an interceptor still existed, not only with the RCAF, but also with the USAF (joint partner with the RCAF in NORAD) and with the RAF (under their F.155 project).

As part of the NORAD agreement, BOMARC nuclear-tipped anti-aircraft missiles were to take up role of defending against Soviet bombers.  However, the controversy surrounding this acquisition, and especially Canada's acquiring nuclear weapons for the BOMARCs (which would potentially be exploding over major Canadian cities) eventually contributed to the collapse of the Diefenbaker government in 1963.

Into this environment strode Mikoyan.  Mikoyan had already been studying a variety of concepts for high Mach aircraft, including cruise missile carriers, and even a small five- to seven-passenger supersonic transport, but the main impetus was a new high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft and heavy interceptor.  If a high Mach bomber were to enter Soviet service (and it was believed they were under development), it would have been nearly invulnerable to the Western air defenses.

Therefore, on 10 March 1964, a new project was started for an interceptor to replace the aborted Arrow.  Mikoyan personally took the lead for the new design having already allocated responsibility for the replacement of the MiG-21 to his deputy Belyankov (refer MiG-23 above).
Building a high-performance interceptor like the MiG-25 was a major challenge.  Getting a big aircraft with large fuel capacity up to such speed implied advanced aerodynamics and engines, and keeping it at that speed implied the ability to tolerate high temperatures caused by to air friction.  Finding and destroying a high-speed intruder dictated powerful radar, and long-range Air to Air missiles with heavy hitting power.

The MiG-25 design that emerged had twin engines on each side of the fuselage, with wedge-style engine intakes and variable inlets using hinged ramps; thin, high-mounted swept wings; and an all-moving tailplane.  The cockpit was pressurized, though pilot and weapons system operator still generally wore full pressure suits for high-altitude operations.  The crew were placed in tandem under individual rear-hinged clamshell canopies, though the design team did consider a side-by-side arrangement as well.  The crew sit on ejection seats, which have built-in massage pads to keep the crew more comfortable on long patrol missions.  The rear cockpit features a simple set of flight controls and a retractable periscope, to allow the back-seater to get the aircraft home in an emergency, as well as to provide flight training without requiring a specialized trainer variant.

The wings were "wet", containing substantial fuel tankage.  The slab-sided appearance of the fuselage undoubtedly had something to do with the fact that 70% of the aircraft's internal volume was occupied by fuel tanks, giving the MiG-25 a total internal fuel capacity of 17,660 liters (4,666 US gallons).  Production versions also were fitted with either a retractable refueling probe or (in the case of USAF models) a boom receptacle to enable aerial refuelling.

Because of the thermal stresses that would be incurred in flight above Mach 2, the MiG-25 could not be constructed with traditional aluminium alloys.  Whilst Lockheed had utilized titanium for their YF-12 and SR-71 series aircraft and North American used a honeycombed steel material for the XB-70, both American companies struggled with the materials used to construct their respective aircraft.  However, whilst there had been substantial advances made in the use of these materials, they were still extremely expensive to work with.  Wanting to keep costs down (knowing that there would be no buyers if it was too expensive), Mikoyan decided the MiG-25 would largely be constructed of nickel alloy steel.  The steel components of the MiG-25 where formed by a combination of spot-welding, automatic machine welding and hand arc welding methods.  Initially there was concern that the metal welds would crack when the aircraft experienced the normal jolting of a landing.  This did not prove to be the case, and any cracks that developed in service were easily welded in the field.  Small amounts of titanium and aluminum alloy were used in the construction of the MiG-25 as well though.

The MiG-25 made substantial design sacrifices in capability for the sake of achieving high speed, altitude, and rate of climb.  It lacked maneuverability at interception speeds, was difficult to fly at low altitudes, and its thirsty turbojet engines resulted in a very short combat range at supersonic speeds.  The MiG-25's PS-13B Iroquois (an advanced development of the Orenda engines originally planned for the production Arrow Mk.2) turbojet engines also had to be exchanged after a flight in which its maximum speed of Mach 3 had been achieved.

The MiG-25 carried the Hughes AN/ASG-18 radar, the world's first pulse doppler radar set.  It was to have look-down/shoot-down capability, but could only track one target at a time (though later versions corrected this deficiency enabling up to 8 targets to be tracked).  It was a massive 2,100 lb (950 kg) installation filling most of the long nose.  The radar was also built under license by Canadian Marconi.

The radar was used to guide the Hughes GAR-9 (later redesignated AIM-47) air-to-air missile.  The GAR-9 was a very large, long-range weapon with its own radar set for terminal homing.  It was intended to fly at Mach 6, with a range of almost 115 miles (185 km).  An alternative version with a heat-seeking terminal homing mode was also developed.  The missiles were 12 ft 6.5 in (3.82 m) long with a 33 in (84 cm) wingspan, weighing 818 lb (371 kg) for the radar version, 998 lb (453 kg) for the IR version.  Later in service, the AIM-47 would be replaced with a further development – the AIM-54.

The first prototype, made its first flight on 9 September 1967.  Following extensive testing (including the loss of 2 machines), the first MiG-25A entered production in 1969.  The first aircraft subsequently entered service with the both the RCAF and USAF (Air Defense Command (ADC)) in 1972.

In order to fill in the void left by the cancellation of the Arrow, in 1959 the Canadian government had been forced to adopt the F-101B Voodoo as an interim interceptor supplementing the MiG-19As already in service. 

In the first of a total of 54 CF-110As (RCAF designation for the MiG-25A) started to replace these interim machines.  The first entered operational service No. 410 "Cougar" Squadron based at Ottawa began conversion to the type.  Other RCAF squadrons to acquire the CF-110 were No. 409 "Nighthawk" Squadron based at Comox, British Columbia and No. 414 "Black Knight" Squadron based at North Bay, Ontario.

Canadian Armed Forces CF110A Thunderbolt, 414(I) Squadron, CFB North Bay, 1974

United States of America:
In USAF service, the MiG-25A eventually entered service with over 20 squadrons gradually replacing the F-106A Delta Dart in ADC squadrons from 1972 onwards.  The MiG-25A was designated F-17A and mainly served in the continental United States, in Alaska, Iceland, and in Canada, but it did serve for short spells in Germany and South Korea.  The USA pilots very quickly adopted the name of Lightning II for their aircraft, partly as a play on words against the British name of "Thunderbolt".

USAF F-17A Lightning II, 171st FIS MI-ANG, Selfridge ANGB, Mount Clemens, MI, 1974

Iran:  In May of 1972, President Richard Nixon had visited Iran and the Shah had mentioned to him that Su-15 aircraft of the Soviet Air Force had regularly been flying unimpeded over Iranian territory.  The Shah asked Nixon for equipment which could intercept these high-speed intruders, and Nixon told the Shah that he would support the transfer of MiG-25As from USAF stocks.

An initial order signed in January of 1974 covered 30 MiG-25As, but in June 50 more were added to the contract.  The first of 80 MiG-25As arrived in Iran in January of 1976. By May of 1977, when Iran celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Royal House, 12 had been delivered.  At this time, the Soviet Su-15s were still making a nuisance of themselves by flying over Iran, and the Shah ordered live firing tests of the Phoenix to be carried out as a warning.  In August of 1977, IIAF crews shot down a BQM-34E drone flying at 50,000 feet, and the Soviets took the hint and Su-15 overflights promptly ended.

Imperial Iran Air Force MiG-25A, 1 Squadron, Isfahan AB, 1976

Toward the end of the 1970s, there was increasing chaos in Iran.  On January 16, 1979, the Shah fled the country and on April 1, an Islamic republic was declared, with the Ayatolla Khomeini as the head of state.  The Imperial Iranian Air Force was renamed the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF).  The new government rapidly took on an anti-Western stance.  Following the Islamic revolution, massive numbers of contracts with Western arms suppliers were cancelled by the new government, including an order for 400 AIM-54A Phoenix missiles.  The West responded with a cutoff of all political and military ties to Iran and the imposition of a strict arms embargo.

This embargo was to have a especially severe long-term effect on the MiG-25A fleet, since the embargo prevented the delivery of any spares.  In addition, by August of 1979, all 79 of the MiG-25As had supposedly been sabotaged so that they could no longer fire their Phoenix missiles.  According to various accounts, this was done either by departing Mikoyan technicians, by Iranian Air Force personnel friendly to the West shortly after the fall of the Shah, or even by Iranian revolutionaries in an attempt to prevent operations by an Air Force perceived to be too pro-Western.
Great Britain:  In 1972, the RAF also selected the MiG-25A.  This was seen as the perfect (indeed only viable) candidate to fulfil the long standing requirement for a modern interceptor (the search for which having been initially began under Operational Requirement F.155).  Eventually, 72 MiG-25As were purchased from Canada effectively replacing the EE. Lightning in service as the RAF’s prime interceptor.  In RAF service, they were designated Thunderbolt F.1s).

RAF Thunderbolt F.1 "XV695", 56 Squadron, RAF Wattisham, 1972

RAF Thunderbolt F.1 "XV651", 92 Squadron, RAF Leconfield, 1973

  In June-July of 1975, Japanese officers carried out two flight evaluations of the MiG-25A at Edwards AFB.  In December of 1977, the Japanese National Defense Council announced that the MiG-25A had been selected to supplement the MiG-21J and F-4J Phantom II serving with the Nihon Koku Jietai (Japanese Air Self Defense Force, or JASDF).  The Japanese MiG-25A was to be designated MiG-25J.
A license was acquired for manufacture of the MiG-25J in Japan, with Mitsubishi being selected as the prime contractor. Japan eventually acquired 120 MiG-25Js.

In 1997, the JASDF began a program to upgrade its MiG-25J fleet. This included primarily radar and central computer upgrades.
Sadly, the MiG-25 would be the last aircraft that Artem Ivanovich Mikoyan designed.  On December 9, 1970 he died at his desk.  He was succeeded by his deputy Rostislav Belyakov.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 06:56:10 PM »
A New Era

At the same time as the MiG-23E/F was being developed, Belyakov (who was just as forward looking as his mentor) started to give thought to it’s eventual successor.
Detail design work on what would become the MiG-29 began in 1974.  The first example was flown on the 6th October 1977.  The second prototype flew in June 1978. Eventually the 2nd and 4th prototypes, propulsion test beds, would be lost in accidents due to engine failures.  The third prototype (03) was the first dual-seater MiG-29B trainer and first flew on 28th April 1981.

The new MiG-29 had a mid-mounted swept wing with blended leading-edge root extensions (LERXs) swept at around 40°.  There are swept tailplanes and two vertical fins, mounted on booms outboard of the engines.  Automatic slats are mounted on the leading edges of the wings.  On the trailing edge, there are manoeuvring flaps and wingtip ailerons.

The MiG-29 has a fly-by-wire control system enabling it to be very agile, with excellent instantaneous and sustained turn performance, high alpha capability, and a general resistance to spins.  The airframe is stressed for 9-g (88 m/s²) maneuvers.  The controls have "soft" limiters to prevent the pilot from exceeding the g and alpha limits, but these can be disabled manually.

The MiG-29 was fitted with two widely spaced Orenda Huron turbofan engines, each rated at 50.0 kN dry and 81.3 kN in afterburner.  The space between the engines generates lift, thereby reducing effective wing loading, to improve maneuverability. The engines are fed through wedge-type intakes fitted under the LERXs.  As an adaptation to rough-field operations, they can be closed completely for takeoff, landing and low-speed flying, thereby preventing ingestion of ground debris.  In those cases, the engines receive air through louvers on the LERXs which open automatically when intakes are closed.  This feature was added due to the perceived possibility of main runways being inoperable during war thus necessitating the use of rough semi-prepared runways.  Later variants replace these dorsal louvers with simple mesh screens in the main intakes.

The sensor fit included a Canadian Marconi “MapleFox” radar – this being a development of the development of the AI-24 Foxhunter radar used in the Panavia Tornado F.3.  The APG-65 radar (as was also fitted to its main rival, the F/A-18A) was also offered to potential customers.  An IRST sensor in a ball in front of the cockpit was also fitted.

Armament for the MiG-29 includes a single Mauser Bk-27 27mm cannon in the port wing root.  Three pylons are provided under each wing.  The inboard pylons can carry either a 1,150 liter (300 US gallon) fuel tank, one AIM-7 Sparrow or later AIM-120 AMRAAM medium-range air-to-air missile as well as ground attack ordnance.

As soon as the new MiG-29 was in production, Belyakov started designing an improved variant – this would become known as the MiG-29E/F.  It featured:
•   New Orenda Huron-200  turbofans, providing greater thrust as well as the option of thrust vectoring;
•   Redesigned LERXs, with the intake louvres on top eliminated and FOD protection provided by intake screens; 
•   Removal of the louvres was part of a redesign of the internal fuel tank arrangement, which was enlarged to provide the MiG-29E/F with a third more range.  The larger fuel tanks led to a reduction in size of the ammunition box for the 27 millimetre cannon from 149 to 100 rounds, but this was not felt to be much of a penalty, since the cannon had proven both accurate and hard-hitting in practice, and 100 rounds was felt to be plenty;
•   Modified flight surfaces, with a distinctive small dogtooth between the LERX and the wing, and the top-bottom airbrakes replaced by a single enlarged ventral airbrake.  The result was an aerodynamically cleaner and even more agile aircraft;
•   New airframe assemblies of lithium-aluminium alloy and composite materials to reduce weight, simplify manufacture, and increase the useful internal volume of the aircraft;
•   A new Canadian Marconi “MapleFox II”, Hughes APG-73 or Ferranti "Blue Vixen" multimode radar system; and
•   A total of eight stores pylons, four under each wing, as opposed to the total of six of previous MiG-29 variants.  The wings were strengthened to carry a total warload of 4,500 kilograms (9,920 pounds).  The two inboard pylons on each wing could carry a maximum of 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) each, while the two outboard pylons could carry up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) each.


Canada:  As with the earlier MiGs, the first customer for the MiG-29 was Canada.  In March of 1977, the Canadian government authorized the Department of National Defense to start looking for a New Fighter Aircraft (NFA) to replace the CF-111s and CF-116s with the Canadian Forces.

Canadian officers looked at several different fighter designs, but very rapidly the primary competitors for the Canadian order narrowed down to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet and the MiG-29A.

Maintaining it’s tradition of choosing home grown products, on April 10, 1980, Canada announced that the MiG-29 had been selected as the winner of the contest. The initial order was for 113 MiG-29A single-seaters and 24 MiG-29B two seaters, with options being taken for 20 more.  Later, another 11 single-seaters were ordered.

The aircraft is designated CF-152A (single seat) and CF-152B (two seat) in Canadian Armed Forces service.

The first production CF-152 aircraft for Canada took off on its first flight on July 29, 1982, and was delivered on October 27.  Canada had planned to order 11 of the aircraft on which it had options, but allowed its option to lapse on April 1, 1985.  At the same time, the original contract was modified to 98 single seaters and 40 two-seaters, for a total of 138.

The first Canadian Armed Forces unit to be equipped with the CF-152 was the No 410 "Cougar" Operational Training Squadron based at Cold Lake, Alberta, this unit receiving its first planes on October 30, 1982.  The first year of service was spent training instructors on the new aircraft in preparation for the conversion of other squadrons to the type.

The CF-152 has served with No 416 "Lynx" and No 441 "Silver Fox" Tactical Fighter Squadrons based at Cold Lake, Alberta, with No 425 "Alouettes" and No 433 "Porcupine" Tactical Fighter Squadrons based at Bagotville, Quebec, and with No 409 "Nighthawk", No 421 "Red Indian", and No 439 "Tiger" Tactical Fighter Squadrons stationed at Baden-Sollingen in Germany.

The CF-152s of No 409 Squadron were transferred from Baden-Sollingen to Qatar on October 7, 1990 during the buildup of Coalition forces for Desert Storm - 24 aircraft were involved.  Personnel from No 439 Squadron took over in mid-December.  Concurrent to this, the new Aircraft Carrier HMCS David Hornell also deployed to the region with it’s MiG-29C fighters (discussed further below).

Following the end of the Cold War, Baden-Sollingen closed down in 1994, and all the CF-152s based there were returned to Canada.  Two squadrons however are always on notice for a quick return to Europe if an emergency breaks out.  The primary role of all squadrons, however, will be the aerial defense of Canada.

In 1995, The Canadian Forces Air Command announced that 24 CF-152s would be withdrawn from active service and placed into ready reserve storage these would then be rotated amongst the squadrons to help extend the lifetime of the CF-152 until 2014.  An upgrade program was also initiated and included upgrading the MapleFox radar to MapleFox II standard, modification of the ALR-67 radar warning receiver, and expanded capability for the mission computer and stores management system.  The Loral AN/AAS-38B NITE Hawk pod has been acquired for precision guidance munitions delivery.

In 1982, the decision was made to replace the long-serving HMCS Bonaventure with two new carriers based upon the American CVV design.  The first of these ships, the HMCS Hampton Gray entered service in 1984.  One year later it was joined by the HMCS David Hornell.  Both carriers were able to carry up to 60 aircraft, the largest component of which would consist of a naval version of the MiG-29, the MiG-29C (service designation CF-152C) and it’s associated two seat version, the MiG-29D (CF-152D in Canadian service).

Canadian Armed Forces CF152A (MiG-29A), 427 Sqn, CFB Bagotville 1983

Canadian Armed Forces CF152E (MiG-29E), 409 Sqn. "Nighthawks", CFB Comox, 2001

In 1991, as part of Operation FRICTION (Canada's contribution to the 1991 liberation of Kuwait) the HMCS David Hornell escorted by the destroyers HMCS Terra Nova and HMCS Athabaskan and the supply ship HMCS Protecteur joined the coalition fleet in the Persian Gulf.  In addition No. 433 and No. 434 squadrons were deployed to Saudi Arabia.  When the air war began, both the CF-152As and Cs were integrated into the coalition force and provided air cover and attacked ground targets. This was the first time since the Korean War that Canadian forces had participated in offensive combat operations.  Overall during the operation the CF-152As and Cs flew a total of 3400 hrs.  They also accounted for 3 Iraqi Su-21s plus a single Mirage 2000.

United States of America:  In January of 1985, the US Navy announced that it was going to purchase the MiG-29A as an adversary aircraft for service with dissimilar air combat training (DACT) in a program designed to enhance Navy air combat operations and to emulate Soviet aircraft capabilities and tactics.  The designation applied was MiG-29N.

26 MiG-29N adversary aircraft were built for the US Navy in 1987/88.  The MiG-29N was based on the standard MiG-29A (as opposed to the naval MiG-29C), though was fitted with APG-65 radar.  The MiG-29N did however have a strengthened wing and was capable of carrying an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation (ACMI) pod on the starboard outer wing pylon.  The ACMI pod allows details of air-to-air engagements to be transmitted to a ground station.  In order to save weight, the MiG-29N carried no internal cannon and could not be fitted with air-to-air missiles.  Although the MiG-29N retained the runway arrester hooks of the standard versions, it was not carrier capable.

Deliveries of the MiG-29N to the Navy began in early 1987 and ended in May 1988.  The first Navy squadron to receive the MiG-29N was VF-126 "Bandits", based at NAS Miramar, which is near San Diego in California. IOC at Miramar was achieved in April of 1987.  The squadron's six aircraft carried a Soviet-style red star inside a yellow border painted on the tail.  Next to get the MiG-29N was VF-45 "Blackbirds", based at NAS Key West, which was equipped with MiG-29Ns in October of 1987. They originally flew 12 MiG-29Ns, but six of their planes were later transferred to VF-43.  Like the Miramar MiG-29Ns, the Key West planes carried a Soviet-style red star on their tails.  The third Navy squadron to receive the MiG-29N was VF-43 "Challengers" based at NAS Oceana at Virginia Beach, Virginia, which operated six examples of the type in conjunction with F-5E, F-5F, A-4E and T-2C aircraft.

US Navy F-24 (MiG-29N), VF-126 "Bandits", NAS Miramar, 1988

The MiG-29N also equipped the Naval Fighter Weapons School (better known as Top Gun) based at NAS Miramar, California, which took delivery of its first MiG-29Ns in June 1987.  Eight MiG-29Ns served at Top Gun.  One of them carried the "MARINES" title on its side, which represented that service's participation in the program.

A total of 26 MiG-29Ns were ordered by the Navy.  Because of its lighter weight, the MiG-29N was the best-performing variant of the original MiG-29 series and was reportedly a real pleasure to fly.

In spite of the defense drawdown following the end of the Cold War, the Navy/Marine Corps still succeeded in maintaining a large adversary program for several years thereafter.  In contrast, the USAF all but deactivated its own aggressor units immediately after Desert Storm.  However, the budget cuts did eventually catch up to the Navy's adversary program, and Oceana-based VF-43 was deactivated in July of 1994.

In service, the MiG-29N suffered from fatigue cracks in its wings as a result of its violent maneuvers during training, and the fleet was grounded for a time in 1991 while these problems were attended to.  As a result, the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-14 Tomcat began to take on an increasingly-important role in adversary training.  All the MiG-29Ns were eventually permanently grounded because of the cracks in their wing structures, there being no money available in the budget to fix them.  In 1994, the Navy announced that the MiG-29N fleet would be retired.  The last MiG-29N was retired to AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB in January of 1995.

After a six-year evaluation period, on October 20, 1981, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) announced that they had selected the MiG-29 as the replacement for the Dassault Mirage IIIO.  The MiG-29 was selected over its chief rivals, the F-16 and the F/A-18. 
The initial order was for 57 MiG-29A single seaters and 18 MiG-29B two-seaters.  As part of the Australian MiG-29 deal, a complex offset arrangement was arranged, with as much as 40 percent of the components being manufactured in Australia.  Mikoyan was to be responsible for the manufacture of the first few examples, with the Government Aircraft Factory (later renamed Aerospace Technologies of Australia, or ASTA) at Avalon, Victoria being responsible for the assembly of the remainder out of parts supplied by both Canadian and Australian factories.  There was to be extensive local input, with ASTA being responsible for final assembly, as well as the manufacture of forward fuselage installations, trailing edge flaps, and shroud assemblies, radome assemblies, and all transparencies.  Dunlop Aviation Australia was to make the wheel and brake assemblies as well as the airspeed indicator.  Software was to be done by Computer Sciences Australia, and electronic components were provided by Morris Productions, Philips, Thorn EMI Electronics Australia, and Standard Telephones and Cables.  The Huron turbofans were to be built under license by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, with the radar (an APG-65) and other avionics being built by British Aerospace Australia, Ltd.

In May of 1984, Mikoyan shipped components for the first two MiG-29As to Avalon.  The first two fully-assembled Hornets for Australia were manufactured by Mikoyan, and were handed over on October 29, 1984. These were both two-seat MiG-29Bs.  They were retained in Canada for training until May 17, 1985, when they were transferred to RAAF Williamtown.  The remaining planes on the order were all assembled in Australia.  The first Australian-assembled MiG-29 was flown on February 26, 1985 and was delivered on May 4.  The first completely all-Australian MiG-29 took off on its maiden flight on June 3, 1985.

The Australian MiG-29 has a conventional ILS/VOR, has landing lights, is equipped with a fatigue recorder, and has an added high-frequency radio for long-range communications, but is otherwise identical to the standard Canadian version. Australian MiG-29s are fully compatible with the AGM-65 Maverick air-to- surface missile and the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-shipping missile. 

The 57 single-seat MiG-29As are assigned RAAF serials A21-1 through A21-57.  The 18 two-seat MiG-29Bs were assigned RAAF serials A21-101 through A21-118.   The last example was delivered by ASTA on May 16, 1990.

First to receive the MiG-29 was No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit based at RAAF Williamtown in New South Wales, which began training MiG-29 pilots in the summer of 1985.  MiG-29s currently serve in the air defense role with No 3 and No 77 Squadrons at RAAF Williamtown in New South Wales and with No 75 Squadron in the ground support role at RAAF Tindal in the Northern Territory near Darwin.
In 1985, Australia also placed an order for 60 carrier capable MiG-29Cs plus 20 two-seat MiG-29Ds.  These were to serve aboard the two new CVV carriers - HMAS Kokoda & HMAS Gallipoli – ordered by the RAN.  These carriers were virtually identical to those also entering service with the Canadian MARCOM at the time and carry a similar air wing.  The first 4 MiG-29Cs were built within Canada whilst the remainder were built at Avalon.  They carry service designations N21-150 through to N21-230 and serve with four RAN Squadrons – VF 805, VF 806, VF807 and VF 808.  In addition the Carriers also carry a number of S-3 and KS-3 Vikings as well as E-3 Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft plus Seahawk and Sea King helicopters.

Almost immediately after the delivery of the last Australian MiG-29A, ASTA began an upgrade program for the entire MiG-29A/B/C fleet.  This included provision for carrying the AIM-120 AMRAAM, new mission computers, armament control processor, stick-top controls to enhance HOTAS capabilities, data storage and data transfer equipment, a revised flight management system, improved electronic countermeasures equipment, and target designation capability have all been incorporated.  RAAF/RAN MiG-29s have added the ability to integrate a Northrop AN/ALQ-162 radar jammer and to carry the new Loral AN/AAS-38 Nite Hawk FLIR pod equipped with Laser Target Designator/Ranging equipment that make it possible for the MiG-29 to do its own target marking for precision delivery of laser-guided weapons.

Currently the RAAF/RAN MiG-29s are being further upgraded.  This includes replacing the AN/APG-65 radar by the Ferranti "Blue Vixen" and upgrading of the Huron turbofans.  The navigation system will be upgraded to an EGI INS with embedded GPS.  AN/ARC-210 jam-resistant communications systems will be provided.  Electronic warfare software packages will be fitted and mission computers will be added.  These changes should keep the RAAF/RAN MiG-29s operational until the year 2015.

Spain:  The first European customer for the MiG-29 was the air force of Spain, the Ejercito del Aire Espanol.
In December of 1982, Spain announced that they had selected the MiG-29, and made plans to order 72 MiG-29A single-seaters and 12 MiG-29B two-seat versions.  However, this proved more than the Spanish government could afford, and the order was reduced to only 60 MiG-29As and 12 MiG-29Bs on May 31, 1983.  An option was taken for 12 additional MiG-29s, but due to budgetary restrictions, they were not taken up.

As part of an offset agreement reached with Spain, Construcciones Aeronauticas SA (CASA) at Gefale is responsible for the maintenance of EdA MiG-29s.  CASA is also responsible for major overhauls of Canadian MiG-29s based in Europe.

The Spanish Hornets are sometimes referred to as MiG-29AEs and MiG-29BEs, the "E" standing for "Espana" (Spain).   They have local EdA designations C.15 and CE.15 respectively. Serial numbers are C.15-13 thru C.15-71 and CE.15-1 thru CE.15-12 respectively.

The first EdA MiG-29B, MiG-29BE CE.15-01, was presented in a formal ceremony in Canada on November 22, 1985, and made its initial flight on December 4.  The first two-seater was flown to Spain on July 10, 1986.  By early 1987, all 12 two-seaters had been delivered to Spain, after which the single-seaters were delivered.  A total of 60 MiG-29AEs and 12 MiG-29BEs were delivered to Spain, the last planes being delivered in July of 1990.

The MiG-29 serves with Escuadron 151 and Escuadron 152 of Ala de Caza 15 at Zaragoza-Valenzuela and with Escuadron 121 and Escuadron 122 of Ala de Caza 12 at Torrejon de Ardoz.  First was Escuadron 151, which was declared combat-ready in September of 1988.  In EdA service, the MiG-29 operates as a all-weather interceptor 60 percent of the time and as a fighter bomber attack day and night for the remainder.  In case of war, each of the four front-line squadrons is assigned a primary role--121 is tasked with tactical air support for maritime operations, 151 and 122 are assigned the all-weather interception role, and 152 is assigned the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) mission.

Ejercito del Aire C.15 (MiG-29AE), Ala 15 153 Esc, Zaragoza, 1989

Spain has ordered 80 Texas Instruments AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles and 20 McDonnell Douglas AGM-84 Harpoon anti-shipping missiles.  The Spanish MiG-29s carry the Sanders AN/ALQ-126B deception jammer and on the last 36 aircraft, Northrop AN/ALQ-162(V) systems.  For air-to-ground work, EdA MiG-29s carry low-drag BR and Mk 80 series bombs, Rockeye II cluster bombs, BME-300 anti-airfield cluster bombs, BEAC fuel air explosive bombs, GBU-10 and GBU-16 Paveway II laser bombs, AGM-65G Maverick air-to-surface missiles and AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles.  In the air-to-air mission, EdA MiG-29s carry the 27-mm Bk-27 cannon, AIM-9L/M Sidewinders and AIM-7F/M Sparrows.  The Sparrows were supplemented from late 1995 onward by AIM-120 AMRAAMs.  Spanish MiG-29s can carry AN/ALE-39 chaff/flare dispensers, ALR-167 radar homing and warning systems and ALQ-126B Jammers which have been supplemented in most of the aircraft by the more advanced ALQ-162.  EdA MiG-29s can carry the AN/AAS-38 Nite Hawk FLIR/laser designator pod on the port fuselage stores station.  Air refuelling for the Spanish MiG-29s is provided by KC-130Hs from Group 31 and Boeing 707TTs from Grupo 45.

In 1993, plans were announced for the EdA's fleet of MiG-29s to be upgraded to MiG-29E/F standards.  Mikoyan was to rework 46 of these planes, with the remainder being upgraded by CASA.  Most of the changes involved computer improvements and new software, although some changes were required to the weapons delivery pylons.  Following the rework, the planes were re-designated MiG-29AE+ and MiG-29BE+.

Japan: In 1982, the Japanese government announced that they were seeking a new warplane to succeed the Mitsubishi F-1 fighter support aircraft.  This led to a project known as the Next Fighter Support Aircraft, or FS-X.  The Japanese government contacted several foreign aircraft manufacturers to see if existing types could meet the FS-X requirement.  At the same time, the indigenous Japanese aircraft industry was approached to see if it were practical for them to come up with a solution.  Very rapidly, the contenders narrowed down to the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F/A-18 Hornet, the Panavia Tornado IDS, the MiG-29 and a possible indigenous aircraft.  An important requirement was the use of a Japanese-built datalink system and the ability to carry the ASM-1 anti-ship missile.

The formal requirement was issued on November 22, 1985.  The aircraft was to have the ability to carry up to four anti-ship missiles.  In addition, the aircraft had to be able to carry 2-4 short-range AAMs and 2-4 medium- range AAMs, although not necessarily at the same time as the anti-ship missiles were being carried.  An important requirement was a minimum combat radius of 450 nautical miles.

After looking over the responses, the Japanese Defense Agency concluded that no existing aircraft was able to meet these requirements.  Only an indigenously-developed aircraft would do.  The four foreign contenders complained bitterly about being ruled out in favor of an as-yet-nonexistent paper design.  In addition, US and European governments became involved because of the large trade inbalances that existed between Japan and the economies of the USA and Europe, and they pressured the Japanese government for a reconsideration.  As a result of the controversy, in April of 1986 the Japanese Defense Agency reissued its request, and all four foreign contenders issued revised proposals.

The question now came down to whether a co-development of an existing foreign aircraft would be selected, or if an entirely indigenous aircraft would have to be developed from scratch.  The choice of an entirely new indigenous design would of course have pleased the Japanese aviation industry, but the cost would have been quite high and the project might be subject to lengthy delays due to the need to start from scratch.  If a foreign design were selected instead, a considerable Japanese contribution to the project would be required.  The Tornado development was eliminated at an early stage because of vague and unspecified concerns about a co-development project with European aircraft industries being somehow incompatible with Japanese security concerns.  The revised F/A-18 and F-16 were dropped soon thereafter because of its high cost.  On September 11, 1987, it was announced that the choice had narrowed down to an indigenous aircraft, or a development of the MiG-29.

On October 21, 1987, the Japanese government announced that it had ruled out the solely indigenous option, and that it had selected a development of the MiG-29 as the choice for the FS-X.  The deal was rather controversial in Canada at the time, with critics charging that the government was giving away too much technology to a potential competitor.  Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) announced plans to acquire as many as 130 FS-Xs to replace the Mitsubishi F-1 fighter bomber.

The prime contractor for the FS-X was Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, in collaboration with Mikoyan Greater Aircraft.  Fuji Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries were important subcontractors.  It was agreed that 60 percent of the work would be done in Japan, with the remaining 40 percent of the work being done by Canadian industries.

Mitsubishi was assigned the responsibility for the forward fuselage and for all final assembly, with Kawasaki supplying the central fuselage, the landing gear doors, and the engine access doors.  Fuji is responsible for the radome, the air intake, the starboard wing (except for the leading edge flaps), wing root fairings, the starboard wing flaperon, vertical tail surface and horizontal tail surface.  Mikoyan was given the port wing (with the exception of the flaperon), the starboard wing leading edge flaps, and the rear fuselage.

The increased- performance Orenda Huron-200 turbofan was selected as the power plant, which is the engine used by the later MiG-29E/F.  The engine is to be built under license in Japan by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries.

Originally, the FS-X was to have had a pair of large canard fore planes.  However, these were deleted from the design on December 11, 1991, reducing weight and aerodynamic drag.

The FS-X is quite similar in appearance to the MiG-29E/F.  The new wing makes extensive use of co-cured composite technology to cut down on the weight and to reduce the radar signature.  The FS-X will be able to carry two or four Mitsubishi ASM-2 anti-shipping missiles. 

The primary difference between the FS-X and the MiG-29 is in the use of Japanese domestic technology for much of the avionics, including a new Mitsubishi Electric active phased-array radar, a Yokogawa LCD multi-function display, a Shimadzu holographic display and Mitsubishi Electric integrated electronic warfare system, plus an indigenous inertial reference system and mission computer.

Both single- and two-seat versions were planned.  The two seater has all the capabilities of the single seater but has somewhat less internal fuel (1043 US gallons as opposed to 1225 US gallons.  The rear seat does not have a holographic heads-up display.  The crew members sit on ACES II ejector seats.

The primary weapons of the FS-X were to be the AIM-7F/M Sparrow, the AIM-9L Sidewinder, and the Mitsubishi AAM-3 missiles.  There are as yet no plans to use the AIM-120 AMRAAM or the Mitsubishi AAM-4 that is currently under development.  The primary air-to-ground weapon was to be the Mitsubishi ASM-2 anti-ship missile. An internal 20-mm JM61A1 rotary cannon is also carried instead of the standard 27mm Bk-27.

The Japanese Defense Agency ordered two single-seat FS-X and two dual- seat TFS-X prototypes, plus two static test aircraft.  The prototype FS-X (bearing the temporary serial number 63-0001, befitting aircraft assigned to the Technical Research and Development Institute) rolled out of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries facilities on January 12, 1995. 63-0001 flew for the first time from Komaki air base near Nagoya on October 7, 1995 with Mitsubishi test pilot Yoshiyuki Watanabe at the controls. It stayed in the air for about 38 minutes.  The second prototype single-seater (63-0002) flew for the first time on December 13, 1996.

In 1996, the designation F-2 was officially assigned to the FS-X project, with the single seater being designated F-2A and the two-seater being designated F-2B.  The first prototype XF-2A (63-0001) was turned over to the JASDF Air Development and Test Wing at Gifu for flight testing on March 26, 1996, following official handover to the Japanese Defense Agency on March 22.  The two twin-seat XF-2B prototypes (63-0003 and 63-0004) were delivered in August and September of 1997. 

It had originally been planned that the flight test program would last until 1998, with first production deliveries beginning in 1999.  However, in July of 1998 it was announced that some wing flutter and cracking problems had been encountered during flight tests, and the test program for the four XF-2 prototypes would extend to December 1999.  It was also revealed that some problems had been encountered in roll characteristics and that some electrical problems needed to be corrected.

The JASDF originally planned to acquire up to 141 F-2A/B fighters if funding permitted.  74 examples were distributed among three combat squadrons (the 2nd and 8th Hikotai at Misawa and the 6th Hikotai at Tsuike), replacing the Mitsubishi F1 ground attack aircraft.  In addition, 21 examples will be operated by an operational conversion unit.  Eight will go to the Tactical Fighter Training Group. It was originally planned that 11 aircraft would be provided to the Blue Impulse aerobatic team, but these aircraft were cancelled when the program was reviewed in 1997.  The remaining F-2 aircraft will be held in reserve.  Current plans call for a total of 130 F-2 aircraft to be acquired, including those for training units and reserves.

In 1999, the JASDF began withdrawing the Mitsubishi F-1 close-support fighter from service, in anticipation of the arrival of the first of the planned 130 F-2s.

Switzerland:  In search of a new fighter aircraft, the Swiss government looked at the Dassault Mirage 2000, the Israel Aircraft Industries Lavi, the Northrop F-20, an improved MiG-29E/F and the SAAB JAS-39 Gripen.  In April/May of 1988, the Swiss government held a fly-off between the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and the MiG-29E/F.  In October of 1988, the government of Switzerland announced that the MiG-29 would be the next fighter of the Schweizerische Flugwaffe/Troupe d'Aviation Suisse (Swiss Air Force).  34 MiG-29E and F aircraft were to equip three squadrons of the Swiss Air Force beginning in 1993. 

Schweizer Luftwaffe MiG-29E, Fliegergeschwader 11, Fliegerstaffel 17, Payerne, 1999

In 1991, the competition was reopened so that the and the Dassault Mirage 2000-5 could be considered. However, even a personal appeal on the part of French President Francois Mitterand could not overturn the original plan to buy 26 MiG-29Es and 8 MiG-29Fs.  The formal contract was expected to be signed in 1992.  However, the MiG-29 order remained controversial, and was even the subject of a popular referendum held on June 6, 1993, which finally approved the program.

The delay allowed Switzerland to specify the Ferranti "Blue Vixen" radar for its MiG-29s, which were to be delivered between 1996 and 1999.  The Swiss MiG-29s are optimized for the air defense role and are armed with the AIM-120B AMRAAM and the AIM-132ASRAAM.  Three squadrons at Payerne, Sion, and Meiringen were scheduled to operate the MiG-29s in the air defense role, replacing the MiG-23.

The first MiG-29E (serial number J-5231) and the first MiG-29F (serial number J-5001) were to be built by Mikoyan in Canada and were to be used for preliminary trials and training, but the remainder of the order (7 MiG-29Fs and 25 MiG-29Es) were to be assembled in Switzerland by Schweizer Flugzeuge und System AG (Swiss Aircraft and Systems Company, formerly known as F+W) at Emmen.

The first MiG-29F for the Swiss Air Force (J-5231) took off on its maiden flight on January 20, 1996.  The first MiG-29E (J-5001) flew for the first time on April 8, 1996.  Both planes underwent weapons system testing before being delivered to Switzerland.

The first Swiss-built MiG-29, a MiG-29F (J-5232) was formally handed over to the Schweizerisch Luftwaffe on January 23, 1997. T he first Swiss-built MiG-29E (J-5002) made its maiden flight on October 3, 1996.  First to be issued with the MiG-29 was No. 17 Squadron based at Payerne.  This squadron was commissioned in September of 1997. 

The final MiG-29E(serial number J-5026) of the order for 34 MiG-29s was delivered on December 2, 1999.  Funding is planned for a second batch of Swiss MiG-29s.

The government of Switzerland is interested in acquiring 8-11 more MiG-29s to replace the Swiss Air Force MiG-23s which are currently being retired.  However, the MiG-29 production line has now been closed to make way for MiG-31 production, and it will be difficult for new builds to be acquired.  However, a leasing option may be explored.

Norway:  Norway was the second European country to select the MiG-29 having selected the MiG-29 to replace their Mig-21Ds in April 1983.
The first MiG-29A for the Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret (Royal Norwegian Air Force) took off on its maiden flight on December 12, 1984.  The first Luftforsvaret MiG-29 was delivered to Norway on January 15, 1985.  Norway acquired 60 MiG-29As and 12 MiG-29Bs from the Canadian production line between January of 1984 and June of 1988.

Luftforsvaret MiG-29AN, 331 skv, Bodo 1986

Norway's short and snowy runways which are often located at dispersed sites dictated that their MiG-29s be fitted with braking parachutes to handle situations where ordinary wheel brakes could not be used.  Norwegian MiG-29s also carry an identification spotlight for use during long, dark winters.

The MiG-29s replaced the MiG-21D as the primary interceptor and fighter bomber with the KNL.

The MiG-29s of all four squadrons perform the air defense role and are armed with AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles.  During the Cold War, Luftforsvaret MiG-29s carried out numerous interceptions of Soviet warplanes out over the North Atlantic and Barents Sea.  However, all MiG-29 squadrons also have an air-to-surface mission, and can carry CRV-7 unguided rockets as well as standard NATO iron bombs and cluster bombs.  These planes will later be capable of carrying AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles when the Mid-Life Update program is complete.

The Norwegian MiG-29s have an important anti-shipping role, and can also carry and launch the locally-built Kongsberg Penguin 3 anti-ship missile.  Deliveries of the Penguin 3 began in 1987, and these missiles are carried by the MiG-29s of Skvadron 334.

In 1989, attrition stood at six aircraft and Norway had hoped to buy six replacements comprising four MiG-29As and two MiG-29Bs.  In the end, this order was reduced to just two MiG-29Bs.

56 Norwegian MiG-29A/Bs ( 45 As and 11 Bs) are scheduled to go through a Mid-Life Update (MLU) program, in which they will be brought up to approximately MiG-29E/F status.  They will be provided with MapleFox II radar, GPS navigational aids, a wide-angle HUD, night-vision goggle capability, a modular mission computer, and a digital terrain system.  The first MLU MiG-29s are to be delivered to 338 Skvadron at Orland.

New Zealand:  In 1998, New Zealand considered purchasing MiG-29E/Fs to replace the RNZAF's MiG-23 in No.s 2 and 75 Squadrons.   However, the whole deal became bogged down over financing questions and over domestic political issues.  The Labour government of New Zealand felt that the cost of the MiG-29s was too high and that funds would be better spent on other areas of defense.  However, the New Zealand Ministry of Defense felt that the current fleet of MiG-23s would not remain viable much longer, and that New Zealand urgently needed a modern combat aircraft. The debate came to an end on March 20, 2000, when the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced that the plan to acquire MiG-29E/Fs had been dropped.  At least one MiG-29E was painted in RNZAF colours though. 
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 06:56:42 PM »
The Next Generation

In 1988, Belyakov began sketching what hopefully will become another successful MiG product – the MiG-31.  This began as an attempt to break into the USAF "Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF)" competition (being fought by the YF-22 and YF-23).  However, it quickly became obvious that only a US designed product would be chosen.  Around the same time, the UK, West Germany, Spain and Italy had just witnessed the collapse of their Future European Fighter Aircraft (FEFA) programme.  However, out of the ashes of this collapse, a new programme centred upon the MiG-31 design rose – it was quickly given the appropriate name of “Phoenix”.  Over the next 3 years, these countries were also joined by Australia, Sweden, Japan, Israel, and Singapore.

The resultant MiG-31B (the MiG-31A designation being given to the earlier purely Mikoyan design) Phoenix is a large aircraft nearly 22m long with a wingspan of 16.4m.  It is of canard-delta configuration with twin underslung engine intakes.

The wings are of cropped-delta configuration, with a 45-degree sweep and no LERXs.  They have full-span leading edge flaps and big two-section elevons in the rear.  The large canards are placed behind the canopy and have a dogtooth leading edge.  There are also twin tailfins with a slight outward cant and ventral fins under the tailfins.

The MiG-31B is constructed of steel alloy, aluminium-lithium alloy, and advanced composites.  Its lines reflected some degree of "stealth" design, and production versions will reportedly also include "radar absorbing material (RAM)" to improve stealth capabilities.

The MiG-31B is powered by two EuroCanada (a consortium of Rolls Royce, MTU, Avio, ITP, Volvo Aero and Orenda) ECJ-1000 afterburning, thrust vectored turbofan jet engines, each generating 175 kN (39,340 lbf) of thrust.  Both engines are fed by a single air intake placed under the fuselage.  The engines give the MiG -31B a "supersonic cruise" capability; and also have thrust-vectoring nozzles for added agility.  During trials, the 35-ton MiG-31 reportedly exceeded Mach 2.6 though this is not confirmed by any of the partners.

Avionics on the MiG-31B are considered cutting-edge.  An advanced Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) ECA-2000 radar with an active electronically scanned array antenna based upon the ECR-90, formerly developed as part of the FEFA programme.  The radar system is linked to a fire control system that allows the fighter to reportedly engage up to twenty separate targets at the same time.  Passive infrared target detection and tracking (air-to-air and air-to-surface) is provided by PIRATE (Passive Infra-Red Airborne Track Equipment), serving also as a navigation and landing aid.  An advanced, integrated defensive aids system merging the features of EW jamming, missile detection, expendable countermeasure (chaff, flares and towed decoy) is also fitted.

In the production versions, the armament includes a 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon (similar to that in the MiG-29) as well as a weapons bay in the centre fuselage able to carry 4 AIM-120 AMRAAM or MBDA Meteor medium/long range air-to-air missiles, plus 4 AIM-132 ASRAAM or IRIS-T short range air-to-air missiles.  Munitions may also be carried on external stores pylons.

Flight trials are currently underway and production has begun for the partner nations.  The officially announced numbers for each operator are:

Canada – 120;
UK – 180;
Germany – 180;
Spain – 80;
Italy – 120;
Australia – 100;
Sweden – 120;
Israel – 120;
Japan 120;
Singapore – 80.

Interest is also being shown by South Korea, Taiwan, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.  There is also speculation that a carrier capable variant is being designed.

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 07:00:03 PM »

BTW, you too can make a CF-111 as in this story:

 OMEGA Models produce 1/72 versions of some of these. (note that neither I or Jeremy benefit financially from this so please don't think that I am simply trying to make money here).

By the way,  having our idea taken up by a model manufacturer raises us to a new level of Whiffer status...demigod perhaps :D


All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Doom!

  • Slayer of pixels and plastic!
  • Glad to be here!
    • Doom Island 2
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2011, 05:57:27 AM »
Greg, the missing images in the MiG-A Canadian Success Story can be found here: sorry about the extra work but when i changed hosts for my website it kinda messed things up a bit. I tried to PM you but it keeps erroring out on me.
Jeff G.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 03:07:54 PM »
Yeah I did get the PMs - just had to find the time to update links.  Should all be good now.  Thanks.
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Doom!

  • Slayer of pixels and plastic!
  • Glad to be here!
    • Doom Island 2
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2011, 10:17:35 PM »
DOH! Didn't think they went through because every time I hit send they gave me an error message....glad you got them.
Jeff G.

Offline elmayerle

  • Its about time there was an Avatar shown here...
  • Über least that is what he tells us.
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2012, 01:26:58 PM »
Well, this is highly plausible given the number of other Russian emigres who did well in the new world (Sikorsky and Seversky quickly come to mind).  I love the alternate approaches and schemes here and find them very, very tempting.

Offline kitnut617

  • Measures the actual aircraft before modelling it...we have the photographic evidence.
  • Holding Pattern
  • *
  • I'd rather be dirtbike riding...
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2012, 10:10:53 PM »
I've got a quick 'what if' Mig 21 to do some time in the near future, I had given some things to Mike Grant and when he asked what did I want in return, I just said something military and in 1/72. 

He sent me this below. He had made a custom order for someone else some time ago and had made a few extras and I got one of them.  He doesn't sell it on his website though, but he calls it a CF-121F

Offline The Big Gimper

  • Any model will look better in RCAF, SEAC or FAA markings
  • Global Moderator
  • Cut. Cut. Cut. Measure. Cut. Cut. Crap. Toss.
    • Photobucket Modeling Album
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2012, 05:30:17 AM »

Okay. You know I cannot resist anything in PRU Blue. Now I have build this one too. Stop the torture.  >:(
Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

User and abuser of Bothans...

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2017, 02:53:27 AM »
Swedish Sk-38 (MiG-23B):

« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 02:55:15 AM by GTX_Admin »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline tankmodeler

  • Wisely picking parts of the real universe 2 ignore
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2018, 12:01:43 AM »
Yeah, that's a great April fools article.

Offline GTX_Admin

  • Evil Administrator bent on taking over the Universe!
  • Administrator - Yep, I'm the one to blame for this place.
  • Whiffing Demi-God!
    • Beyond the Sprues
Re: MiG - A Canadian Success Story!
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2020, 03:07:55 AM »
USMC trialed MiG-27B:

All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.