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Mikyoan-Gurevich MiG-23PD 'Faithless' (1967)
The MiG-23PD follows the largely unsuccesful MiG-21PD of 1966. With only two RD-36-35 lift engines, the MiG-21PD could not achieve a true vertical take-off or landing. It also had the poor handling at low speed. The development of the Tumanskii R-27 engine allowed MiG to develop a new tactical fighter to replace the MiG-21. The Kremlin directed that the first R-27-equipped MiG should also have a bay for two lift engines.
The MiG 23-01 or MiG-23PD first flew with Pyotr Ostapenko on 3 April 1967. Like the MiG-21PD, it could not operate vertically and stayed above 150km/h (93mph) during flight. At the same time Mikoyan was tasked with developing a variable geometry ('swing-wing') version of the same basic design. This was designated the 23-11m or MiG-23S, and went on to become a successful family of interceptors and ground-attack aircraft.
Powerplant: one 76.5kN (17,196lb-thrust) Tumanskii R-27-300 afterburning turbofan and two 23.0kN (5,181lb-thrust) Koliesov RD-36-35 lift jets
Max Speed: unknown
Max Altitude: unknown
Span: 7.72m (25ft 4in)
Length: excluding boom 16.8m (55ft 2in)
Height: 5.15m (16ft 8in)
Weight: loaded 16,000kg (35,273lb)
1. The MiG-23 had only a brief career, as variable geometry wings offered better take-off and landing characteristics than did marrying a delta wing with extra lift engines.
2. The 23-01 was displayed at the 1967 Moscow air show with a dummy gun, two types of missiles and a large tactical number painted on the nose. These measures aimed to convince the Western observers that the MiG-23PD was in or nearing service.
3. The thrust of the lift jets was only about a quarter of the empty weight of the 23-01, ruling out VTOL operations. Use of the jets gave a take-off run of 180-200m (591-656ft) in a lightly loaded condition.
4. Although in profile the MiG-23PD resembled the MiG-23S 'Flogger', the latter's intake system variable ramps was quite different and allowed much higher maximum speeds.