Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23MF/BN/UM "Vikram" & "Rakshak"
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NATO Codename: Flogger.
Indian Name: Vijay (Victory - BN variant), Rakshak (Saviour - MF variant).
Type: Single-seat, variable geometry, multi-role fighter.
Current versions in IAF service:
MF; The air defence variant fitted with a R-29 jet engine, a J-Band radar, a Sirena-3 RWR system, Doppler navigation and a small IRST sensor pod under the cockpit. First Russian combat aircraft, which has the ability to track and engage targets flying below its own altitude.
BN; The ground attack version with a laser rangefinder in the nose, a raised seat, cockpit external armour plate and large low pressure tires. On the bottom of each side of the fuselage a RWR system has been added.
UM; Tandem two seater suitable for both operational training and combat use with individual canopy over each seat. The rear seat is slightly higher than forward seat, with a retractable periscope sight for the occupant.
Accommodation: Pilot on zero/zero ejection seat in A/C and pressurized cockpit under small hydraulically actuated rearward hinged canopy. Has bullet proof windscreen and small electrically heated rear view mirror on top of canopy.
Avionics: One J-band radar dish which has a search range of 85 km; 53 miles and a tracking range of 54 km; 34 miles behind the dielectric nosecone. A suppressed UHF antennae and AoA sensor is on the port side. An ILS antennae is fitted under the radome and at the tip of the fin. A SRO-2 IFF antennae is fitted immediately forward of the windscreen. Also has an infra-red sensor pod which is under the nose.
Armament: Both MF and BN versions are fitted with one 23mm GSh-23L twin barrel gun in the fuselage belly pack. The MF version is primarily used for the air defence role and carries air-to-air missiles like the R-23, the R-27, etc. The BN version is primarily used in the ground attack role and carries air-to-surface missiles, bombs, rocket pods and other ordnance.
Engine: One R-29B turbojet, rated up to 27,500 lbs. of maximum thrust.
Maximum Speed: Mach 2.35
Service Ceiling: 18,000 meters (59,055 ft.)
Combat Radius: 485 - 700 nautical miles (900 - 1300km; 560 - 805 miles).
Maximum External Stores Load: MiG-23MF; 1600 kg (3527 lbs)
..........................................MiG-23BN; 3000 kg (6613 lbs)
..........................................MiG-23UM; 1600 kg (3527 lbs)
Self Defence: Sirena-3 Radar Warning Receiver system.
Comments: The MiG-23 forms two operational squadrons, with the last MF squadron (No.224) and BN Squadron (No.221) due to retire by 2006. An indigenous RWR developed by DRDO, called Tranquil, has been fitted. The same system is being re-fitted on the IAF's MiG-27s. The MiG-23UMs are expected to soldier on as the type trainers with the MiG-27 Squadrons.