Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23ML Flogger-G (20+13) as used by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) at the Luftwaffenmuseum, Berlin-Gatow (Germany)
This MiG-23ML flew from 1983 to October 1990 in the East German Air Force (Luftstreitkräfte der Nationalen Volksarmee) as 333 Red
and belonged to the Jagdfliegergeschwader 9 (9th Fighter Squadron) "Heinrich Rau" at Peenemünde.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 (NATO reporting name: Flogger) is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau in the Soviet Union. It is considered to belong to the Soviet third-generation jet fighter category, along with similarly aged Soviet fighters such as the MiG-25 "Foxbat". It was the first attempt by the Soviet Union to design look-down/shoot-down radar and one of the first to be armed with beyond visual range missiles. Production started in 1970 and reached large numbers with over 5000 aircraft built. Today the MiG-23 remains in limited service with some export customers. The early "Flogger" variants were intended to be used in high-speed missile attacks, but it was soon noticed that fighters often had to engage in more stressful close-in combat. Early production aircraft had actually suffered cracks in the fuselage during their service career. Maneuverability of the aircraft was also criticized. A considerable redesign of the airframe was performed, resulting in the MiG-23ML (L – Lightweight), which made it in some ways a new aircraft. Empty weight was reduced by 1250 kg (2756 lb), which was achieved partly by removing a rear fuselage fuel tank. Aerodynamics were refined for less drag. The dorsal fin extension was removed. The lighter weight of the airframe resulted in a different sit on the ground, with the aircraft appearing more level when at rest compared to the nose-high appearance of earlier variants. This has led to a belief that the undercarriage was redesigned for the ML variant, but it is identical to earlier variants. The avionics set was considerably improved as well. The S-23ML standard included Sapfir-23ML radar and TP-23ML IRST. The new radar was more reliable and a had maximum detection range of about 65 km against a fighter-sized target (25 km in look-down mode). The navigation suite received a new, much improved autopilot. New radio and datalink systems were also installed. The prototype of this variant first flew in 1976 and production began 1978.
The Luftwaffenmuseum, now known as the Militärhistorisches Museum (MHM) der Bundeswehr - Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow
(Bundeswehr Museum of Military History - Berlin-Gatow Airfield), is the Berlin branch of the Bundeswehr Military History Museum. The museum acts as an independent military department. Entrance to the museum is free. The museum is in Berlin at a former Luftwaffe and Royal Air Force (RAF) airfield, RAF Gatow. The focus is on military history, particularly the history of the post-war German Air Force. The museum has a collection of more than 200.000 items, including 155 aeroplanes, 5.000 uniforms and 30.000 books. There are also displays (including aeroplanes) on the history of the airfield when it was used by the RAF. Although there are also several helicopters and MiG fighters used during the Cold War by East German forces.