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Indian Air Force retires MiG-23BN "Vijay"

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) will on Friday bid adieu to its MiG-23 'swing wing' ground attack fighter jets after nearly 30 years in service.

 

The MiG-23 BN aircraft, which were bought from the erstwhile Soviet Union to counter Pakistan's then newly acquired F-16 jets, will take to the sky for its last sortie from the Halwara airbase in Punjab on Friday.

 

"The jets, renamed in the IAF as Vijay (victory), were designed to replace the ageing fleet of MiG-21. They were once known as a formidable supersonic combat jets and it is going to be a nostalgic moment for us," a senior IAF official said on Thursday.

 

The single-seater aircraft, which was also used in Kargil War, was inducted in 1981 to meet the IAF's requirement of a tactical air strike aircraft. It also participated in operations in Siachen from 1985-86 and has operated from Leh, the highest airfield in India. It was also the first fighter aircraft to operate from the high altitude airfield Thoise in Jammu and Kashmir.

 

"Most of the IAF's MiG-23s have already been phased out. Its superior version the MiG-23 MF was phased out in 2007. Now we are left with only eight MiG-23 BN," the official added.

 

With a dubious safety record and besotted with engine troubles, the aircraft's phase-out comes because of burgeoning maintenance costs and problems relating to non-availability of spare parts.

 

Of the four squadrons the IAF had -- over 70 aircraft -- half of them were lost in air crashes and other accidents.

 

"Maintaining the aircraft fleet is very expensive for the IAF, so we have to phase out the aircraft, which has served us well over two decades-and-a-half. The aircraft incurs heavy financial costs for repairs and spares," the official added.

 

The last IAF squadron that was flying the MiG-23BN was No. 221 "Valiants" . I have their sqdn history book titled "Valiant to the last".

Edited by ghostrider883

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I read in World Air Power journal that the BN generally proved kind of disappointing in service. It wasn't till the 27 arrived did the jet sturmovik (sp?) role was filled to satisfaction for the USSR, CIS clients and other favoured customers.

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I read in World Air Power journal that the BN generally proved kind of disappointing in service. It wasn't till the 27 arrived did the jet sturmovik (sp?) role was filled to satisfaction for the USSR, CIS clients and other favoured customers.

 

Yeah. It was actually the MiG-23BN that HAL was supposed to license manufacture in India. But India went to acquire license & manufacture the MiG-27M as the "Bahadur" in India.

However, the BNs which were fitted with countermeasure dispensers first. The 221 sqdn was IAF's dedicated Wild Weasel sqdn. The MiG-23BNS were the first fighters(along with MIG-21s) which dropped bombs on Pak positions in the 1999 Kargil War.

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No plane can replace it :biggrin:

Too bad that one of the last 23's goin' to history.

 

Russian MiG-23BN were removed from service in 1988. 624 MiG-23BN were producted in 1972-1983, MOST on export {60-70%}

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the few users of mig 23 bn claimed the high cost of mantaining in service, as the first excuse that caused the retirement of their fleet.asicaly, the mig 23 was a complicated flying machine, with elevated costs of maintenance, something that became worse in the early '90s.the mig27 variant was a mecanically simplified version.i have to admitt, if the india had problems of mantaining the fleet, having all these years a production line for mig 23 and 27, immagine other countries such as Bulgaria which were based only in russian supplies....

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I always thought the MRCA program was set up to replace the 23BN?

 

 

There left a long way to MRCA/LCA..

 

So I guess, the muti-role part of Su-30MKI replaced the 23BN

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There left a long way to MRCA/LCA..

 

So I guess, the muti-role part of Su-30MKI replaced the 23BN

 

In soviet AF BN were replaced by Mig-27 Family

Replacenent MiG-23BN -> Mig-27 started in 1975, in 1986 last AP's removed MiG-23BN to storage. in 1988 MiG-23BN Duty were ended officially.

 

When I was the child my family had a rest in the summer near to military aerodrome, I took a bicycle and went to look as airplanes come in the land, they flew by over very low, it was possible to view all details. At first it were a Su-17, then an MiG-27, now there Su-24.

Edited by lindr2

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In soviet AF BN were replaced by Mig-27 Family

Replacenent MiG-23BN -> Mig-27 started in 1975, in 1986 last AP's removed MiG-23BN to storage. in 1988 MiG-23BN Duty were ended officially.

 

The MiG-27M replaced the MiG-23BN in IAF service as well. The MiG-23BN was selected to replace the Su-7BMK. In December 1980, the first of 90+ MiG-23BNs were inducted in IAF. The No. 10 "Winged Daggers" sqdn was the first MiG-23BN unit. No.31"Lions" , No. 220 "Desert Tigers" and No.221 "Valiants" followed suit. Another SU-7 unit - No. 222 'Tigersharks" were supposed to convert to the MiG-23BN when the MiG-27 was selected for license production in India. No. 10 Sqdn became the first MiG-23BN to convert to MiG-27 after a relatively short period of flying MiG-23BNs. No. 31 converted to 27 soon after. However The 221 Sqdn continued to fly the 23BN till now.

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I always thought the MRCA program was set up to replace the 23BN?

 

Just one sqdn was flying the MiG-23BN and apparently it had only six airworthy MiG-23BNs on the flight line. All former MIG-23BNs converted to MiG-27M much earlier. The Sqdn will probably convert to another fighter type pr be nameplated an re-raised again..

An interesting tidbit....the No. 224 "Warlords" which flew the air defence MiG-23MF until 2005 converted to ground attack role with the upgraded Jaguar IS/IBs. No.221 could do this as well.

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