MiG-23 MLD vs F-16 and contemporary fighter aircraft

asianobserve

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The Mig-23 could not outperform F-4 especially the D and E versions in a dogfight. Mig-21 is actually better than Mig-23. Mig-23 simply was an overcomplicated design that was mostly manually operated.

Mig-23's lackluster performance was further compounded by the fact the almost immediately after its introduction US 4th gen fighters started coming out.
 

ashdoc

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The Mig-23 could not outperform F-4 especially the D and E versions in a dogfight. Mig-21 is actually better than Mig-23. Mig-23 simply was an overcomplicated design that was mostly manually operated.

Mig-23's lackluster performance was further compounded by the fact the almost immediately after its introduction US 4th gen fighters started coming out.
Generally swing wing fighters' swing wings made them more difficult and expensive for maintenance. That's why we decommissioned our mig 23 MF aircraft .
 

MiG-29SMT

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The Mig-23 could not outperform F-4 especially the D and E versions in a dogfight. Mig-21 is actually better than Mig-23. Mig-23 simply was an overcomplicated design that was mostly manually operated.

Mig-23's lackluster performance was further compounded by the fact the almost immediately after its introduction US 4th gen fighters started coming out.
typical assessment without proves, the MiG-23 had different versions, the MiG-23MS was equivalent to early F-4s, the MiG-23MF was a viggen equivalent able to be on par with and F-4E, the MiG-23ML was superior to the F-4E and other versions in fact the proof is in 1982 over the bekka Valley , the F-15 and F-16 clashed with the MiG-23, the F-4 were uses in other types of missions, the F-15 was the only fighter superior to the MiG-23 in 1982 and the eagle, the only fighter in IDF air forces able to beat it.

Another typical western misunderstanding is consider the Flogger variants the same aircraft, the MiG-23BN is an early MiG-27 an attack aircraft, the MiG-23MS a limited fighter able to hunt A-4s Skyhawks or Mirage IIIs, aka Kfirs, able to fight versus early F-4s.
Many of the MiG-23s shot down by Israel were MiG-23BNs, in fact 2/3 of the Floggers downed in 1982 were attack aircraft MiG-23BNs.
 
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StealthFlanker

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typical assessment without proves, the MiG-23 had different versions, the MiG-23MS was equivalent to early F-4s, the MiG-23MF was a viggen equivalent able to be on par with and F-4E, the MiG-23ML was superior to the F-4E and other versions in fact the proof is in 1982 over the bekka Valley , the F-15 and F-16 clashed with the MiG-23, the F-4 were uses in other types of missions, the F-15 was the only fighter superior to the MiG-23 in 1982 and the eagle, the only fighter in IDF air forces able to beat it.

Another typical western misunderstanding is consider the Flogger variants the same aircraft, the MiG-23BN is an early MiG-27 an attack aircraft, the MiG-23MS a limited fighter able to hunt A-4s Skyhawks or Mirage IIIs, aka Kfirs, able to fight versus early F-4s.
Many of the MiG-23s shot down by Israel were MiG-23BNs, in fact 2/3 of the Floggers downed in 1982 were attack aircraft MiG-23BNs.
I would disagree, Israel F-16 shot down Mig-23MF plenty of times
21 April 1982, Israel F-16 shot down 2 Syrian Mig-23
9 June 1982, Syrian MiG-23MF piloted by Nazakh was shot down by Israel F-16, pilot recovered
9 June 1982, Syrian MiG-23MF piloted by Sofie was shot down by Israel F-16, pilot killed
9 June 1982,Syrian MiG-23MF piloted by Yasin was shot down by Israel F-16, pilot killed
 

asianobserve

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typical assessment without proves, the MiG-23 had different versions, the MiG-23MS was equivalent to early F-4s, the MiG-23MF was a viggen equivalent able to be on par with and F-4E, the MiG-23ML was superior to the F-4E and other versions in fact the proof is in 1982 over the bekka Valley , the F-15 and F-16 clashed with the MiG-23, the F-4 were uses in other types of missions, the F-15 was the only fighter superior to the MiG-23 in 1982 and the eagle, the only fighter in IDF air forces able to beat it.

Another typical western misunderstanding is consider the Flogger variants the same aircraft, the MiG-23BN is an early MiG-27 an attack aircraft, the MiG-23MS a limited fighter able to hunt A-4s Skyhawks or Mirage IIIs, aka Kfirs, able to fight versus early F-4s.
Many of the MiG-23s shot down by Israel were MiG-23BNs, in fact 2/3 of the Floggers downed in 1982 were attack aircraft MiG-23BNs.
I don't know what you're reading but in the Iran-Iraq War, a war between peer adversaries, Iranian F-4s shot down 4 Iraqi Mig-23 while Iraqi Mig-23 only shot down 1 Iranian F-4. Remember that Mig-23 was the newer fighter developed to counter F-4 Phantom.
 
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MiG-29SMT

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I would disagree, Israel F-16 shot down Mig-23MF plenty of times
21 April 1982, Israel F-16 shot down 2 Syrian Mig-23
9 June 1982, Syrian MiG-23MF piloted by Nazakh was shot down by Israel F-16, pilot recovered
9 June 1982, Syrian MiG-23MF piloted by Sofie was shot down by Israel F-16, pilot killed
9 June 1982,Syrian MiG-23MF piloted by Yasin was shot down by Israel F-16, pilot killed
Syrian or Russian sources do not deny MiG-23MF or MiG-23MS were downed in 1982, however it has been exaggerated that the MiG-23 was a bad aircraft, Iranian F-4s were also downed by Saudi F-15s, further more MiG-21s and MiG-23BN and SU-22 were downed in 1982, of the 90 aircraft claimed by Israel, Syria acknowledged only 62, of these only 6 were MiG-23MF downed not by F-4s but by F-16s and F-15s, 4 were MiG-23MS, and 14 were MiG-23BNs so the so called superiority is called into question because most fighters downed were MiG-21s and MiG-23BNs.



The MiG-23 was in 1982 pretty much a fighter would had had victories over A-4s, F-4s, Mirage IIIs or Kfirs, the Israelies sent remember F-15s and F-16s to down them, not F-4s.
 

MiG-29SMT

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I don't know what you're reading but in the Iran-Iraq War, a war between peer adversaries, Iranian F-4s shot down 4 Iraqi Mig-23 while Iraqi Mig-23 only shot down 1 Iranian F-4. Remember that Mig-23 was the newer fighter developed to counter F-4 Phantom.
there are differences between MiG-23 variants for example the MiG-23BN is a Sepecat Jaguar equivalent while the MiG-23MF is Tornado ADV, Viggen or F-4 equivalent.


in war is hard to know what was the true because authors favor some accounts over others, if you go to manual data the MiG-23 was in its MiG-23MLD superior to the F-4 but by slight margin, inferior to some extent to the F-16A, but by no means as bad as you claim, go and get the numbers and you will see F-4 never was superior, specially regarding acceleration and rate of climb
 

StealthFlanker

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Syrian or Russian sources do not deny MiG-23MF or MiG-23MS were downed in 1982, however it has been exaggerated that the MiG-23 was a bad aircraft, Iranian F-4s were also downed by Saudi F-15s, further more MiG-21s and MiG-23BN and SU-22 were downed in 1982, of the 90 aircraft claimed by Israel, Syria acknowledged only 62, of these only 6 were MiG-23MF downed not by F-4s but by F-16s and F-15s, 4 were MiG-23MS, and 14 were MiG-23BNs so the so called superiority is called into question because most fighters downed were MiG-21s and MiG-23BNs.
The MiG-23 was in 1982 pretty much a fighter would had had victories over A-4s, F-4s, Mirage IIIs or Kfirs, the Israelies sent remember F-15s and F-16s to down them, not F-4s.
Mig-23 MF and F-4E performer are quite similar, the difference is negligible. F-16 agility is a world apart from both though
Mig-23 sustain load limit at 1 km altitude and 2 R-23 missiles:
Mig-23 sustain.JPG


Mig-23ML sustain turn rate at different altitude
Mig-23Ml sustain turn rate.PNG


F-4E sustain G limit at difference altitude while carrying 4 AIM-7
F-4E-sustained-turn.gif


F-4E vs F-16A at 15k feet:
F4 at 15k.jpg
 
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StealthFlanker

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Summary of these charts above: so let say the reference altitude is 15000 feet:
The STR of Mig-23ML will be about 9 degrees/second
STR of slatted F-4E will be about 10 degrees/second
STR of F-16A will be a whopping 14.2 degrees/second
that almost 50% advantage
 

MiG-29SMT

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Summary of these charts above: so let say the reference altitude is 15000 feet:
The STR of Mig-23ML will be about 9 degrees/second
STR of slatted F-4E will be about 10 degrees/second
STR of F-16A will be a whopping 14.2 degrees/second
that almost 50% advantage
The chart page you are using is for the MiG-23ML and MiG-23MLA, consider the MiG-23MLD has improved performance and maneuverability
1588304715187.png


if you see the MiG-23MLD had a secondary dogtooth in the wing fixed part glove, this and the AA-11 gave it superiority over the F-4E and some parity over the F-16 by increasing lift with the vortices generated by it

In 1982 no F-16 was armed with AIM-7s or AIM-120, they were armed with AIM-9L only while the MiG-23MF/ML had AA-7/R-23/R-74 which had longer range and had IRST trackers.


So the F-16 without AWACs and cover of F-15s basically were in disadvantage


It is like the Su-35 is to Su-57
 
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asianobserve

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The chart page you are using is for the MiG-23ML and MiG-23MLA, consider the MiG-23MLD has improved performance and maneuverability
View attachment 46673

if you see the MiG-23MLD had a secondary dogtooth in the wing fixed part glove, this and the AA-11 gave it superiority over the F-4E and some parity over the F-16 by increasing lift with the vortices generated by it

In 1982 no F-16 was armed with AIM-7s or AIM-120, they were armed with AIM-9L only while the MiG-23MF/ML had AA-7/R-23/R-74 which had longer range and had IRST trackers.


So the F-16 without AWACs and cover of F-15s basically were in disadvantage


It is like the Su-35 is to Su-57
Mig-23 only has the advantage of dash speed over F-16. The combat record of F-16 vs Mig-23 is lopsidedly clear.
 

MiG-29SMT

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Mig-23 only has the advantage of dash speed over F-16. The combat record of F-16 vs Mig-23 is lopsidedly clear.
fan assessment, without manuals you are talking american propaganda, no aerodynamic configuration is the best in everything, there are more than turn rates or climb rates, acceleration, there is a wide range of speeds and altitudes, the MiG-23 has areas of the flight envelop where is better or worst to F-16, to give you an example zero vs hellcat, a better turner is not always a better diver or climber, when you see that you will be able to give a better analysis


1588489936718.png
 

bhramos

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The chart page you are using is for the MiG-23ML and MiG-23MLA, consider the MiG-23MLD has improved performance and maneuverability
View attachment 46673

if you see the MiG-23MLD had a secondary dogtooth in the wing fixed part glove, this and the AA-11 gave it superiority over the F-4E and some parity over the F-16 by increasing lift with the vortices generated by it

In 1982 no F-16 was armed with AIM-7s or AIM-120, they were armed with AIM-9L only while the MiG-23MF/ML had AA-7/R-23/R-74 which had longer range and had IRST trackers.


So the F-16 without AWACs and cover of F-15s basically were in disadvantage


It is like the Su-35 is to Su-57
Soviet MiG-23MLD shot down 2 F-16 of pakistan
 

StealthFlanker

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The chart page you are using is for the MiG-23ML and MiG-23MLA, consider the MiG-23MLD has improved performance and maneuverability
View attachment 46673

if you see the MiG-23MLD had a secondary dogtooth in the wing fixed part glove, this and the AA-11 gave it superiority over the F-4E and some parity over the F-16 by increasing lift with the vortices generated by it
But then on the other hand, we don't exactly have any EM diagram of Mig-23 MLD to compare it to F-16
The closest thing we have to compare is Aide-Memoire for the MiG-23MLD Pilot on Air Combat vs F-15A, F-I6A, F-4E and Kfir C.2 manual which Soviet created after the Bekaa Valley event in the early 80s, this was then translated by Mladenov back in 2003 for airforces monthly.com. You already read it so I will just quote the relevant parts for others: (the part inside the red box is from the manual while the part outside is from Mladenov's opinion.
1.PNG

So according to Soviet intelligent, Mig-23mld will have better STR than F-16 at speed close to the maximum and at altitude higher than 15000 ft, given that the top speed of Mig-23 is Mach 2.3 and top speed of F-16 is Mach 2 and F-16 has a fixed inlet, I think this is quite understandable, but have little tactical relevant, because no one dogfight at the region near top speed as the turn radius will be huge and they will run out of precious fuel in no time. The part where Mladenov think Mig-23 MLD would have a slight edge in energy maneuverability at speed above 900 km/h is basically just his opinion rather than what the soviet said. Mig-23 super good acceleration at high speed mainly came from the fact that it can fully sweep its wing back, which give it lower Cd, which is better for accelerating, but also worse Cl for turning.
Other than that, looking at Soviet chart, Mig-23 MLD is still pretty much inferior to F-16 in dogfight parameters
comparative performance.PNG



In 1982 no F-16 was armed with AIM-7s or AIM-120, they were armed with AIM-9L only while the MiG-23MF/ML had AA-7/R-23/R-74 which had longer range and had IRST trackers
So the F-16 without AWACs and cover of F-15s basically were in disadvantage
Yes F-16 didn't have BVR weapon at the time, however, Mig-23MLD didn't have any internal jamming pod or internal jamming system, the only self protection system on exported Mig-23 MLD is the PKiBP-23 chaff / flares dispenser, while the VVS-FA Mig-23 MLD has the additional BVP-50 chaff/flare dispenser. On the other hand, F-16 could carry the ALQ-119 and somes were equipped with the internal Rapport jammer. And add to the fact that F-16 RCS is smaller than Mig-23 and radar of that time isn't exactly good dealing with low altitude target in lock down mode, then F-16 can easily deny the BVR capability of Mig-23.



You can argue that the TP-26-Sh IRST tracker on Mig-23 will be immune to jamming, however, that system has very short range, barely 11 km in tail aspect if target have afterburner on, if target is in mil power then you can say good bye to 70% of that range, if the target is in head on aspect, then we can safety knock another 50% off, or it may not even work. Overall the system is mostly a supplement tail chase sensor



It is like the Su-35 is to Su-57
Well if we think of F-16 as Su-57 of that time and Mig-23MLD as Su-35 of that time then yes.
The main disadvantage of F-16 was that it is still a very new aircraft at that time and haven't got all the bell and whistle yet.
 

StealthFlanker

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The combat record of F-16 vs Mig-23 is lopsidedly clear.
Well, but here we are comparing Mig-23 MLD to F-16A so essentially the latest version of Mig-23 to the earliest version of F-16. Sp quite reasonable that Mig-23 can have some advantage in some aspect.
 

MiG-29SMT

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But then on the other hand, we don't exactly have any EM diagram of Mig-23 MLD to compare it to F-16
The closest thing we have to compare is Aide-Memoire for the MiG-23MLD Pilot on Air Combat vs F-15A, F-I6A, F-4E and Kfir C.2 manual which Soviet created after the Bekaa Valley event in the early 80s, this was then translated by Mladenov back in 2003 for airforces monthly.com. You already read it so I will just quote the relevant parts for others: (the part inside the red box is from the manual while the part outside is from Mladenov's opinion.

So according to Soviet intelligent, Mig-23mld will have better STR than F-16 at speed close to the maximum and at altitude higher than 15000 ft, given that the top speed of Mig-23 is Mach 2.3 and top speed of F-16 is Mach 2 and F-16 has a fixed inlet, I think this is quite understandable, but have little tactical relevant, because no one dogfight at the region near top speed as the turn radius will be huge and they will run out of precious fuel in no time. The part where Mladenov think Mig-23 MLD would have a slight edge in energy maneuverability at speed above 900 km/h is basically just his opinion rather than what the soviet said. Mig-23 super good acceleration at high speed mainly came from the fact that it can fully sweep its wing back, which give it lower Cd, which is better for accelerating, but also worse Cl for turning.
Other than that, looking at Soviet chart, Mig-23 MLD is still pretty much inferior to F-16 in dogfight parameters




Yes F-16 didn't have BVR weapon at the time, however, Mig-23MLD didn't have any internal jamming pod or internal jamming system, the only self protection system on exported Mig-23 MLD is the PKiBP-23 chaff / flares dispenser, while the VVS-FA Mig-23 MLD has the additional BVP-50 chaff/flare dispenser. On the other hand, F-16 could carry the ALQ-119 and somes were equipped with the internal Rapport jammer. And add to the fact that F-16 RCS is smaller than Mig-23 and radar of that time isn't exactly good dealing with low altitude target in lock down mode, then F-16 can easily deny the BVR capability of Mig-23.



You can argue that the TP-26-Sh IRST tracker on Mig-23 will be immune to jamming, however, that system has very short range, barely 11 km in tail aspect if target have afterburner on, if target is in mil power then you can say good bye to 70% of that range, if the target is in head on aspect, then we can safety knock another 50% off, or it may not even work. Overall the system is mostly a supplement tail chase sensor




Well if we think of F-16 as Su-57 of that time and Mig-23MLD as Su-35 of that time then yes.
The main disadvantage of F-16 was that it is still a very new aircraft at that time and haven't got all the bell and whistle yet.
Well, but here we are comparing Mig-23 MLD to F-16A so essentially the latest version of Mig-23 to the earliest version of F-16. Sp quite reasonable that Mig-23 can have some advantage in some aspect.
The proof of the pudding is Afghanistan; where no MiG-23MLD was lost to F-16s, and a F-16 was lost on a fight with MiG-23MLDs, remember the western press originally said the F-16 was lost to MiG-23
 

StealthFlanker

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The proof of the pudding is Afghanistan; where no MiG-23MLD was lost to F-16s, and a F-16 was lost on a fight with MiG-23MLDs, remember the western press originally said the F-16 was lost to MiG-23
Then that isn't very strong proof, given that from the Pakistan perspective, it was a friendly fire incident where the F-16 got hit by his wing men's AIM-9


However, the Pakistani fighter jock’s luck turned two weeks later when two No.9 Squadron F-16s ambushed four MiG-23s of the Soviet 120th Fighter Regiment as they plastered a mujahideen supply bases in Djaware, Pakistan with cluster bombs. As Soviet Lt. Col. Pochitalkin led his unit in evasive maneuvers he saw an airplane plummet towards the earth in flames below him.


This was not a MiG, but the F-16 of Lt. Shahi Sikander, who had inadvertently been acquired by an AIM-9L fired by his wingman. Sikander parachuted down to Afghan soil, where he and the wreckage of his plane were smuggled back to Pakistan by Mujahideen. Some Russian sources claim Sikander was actually shot down by a Soviet jet—though the MiGs were not carrying air-to-air missiles—or had somehow plowed into the rain of cluster bomblets.




Another incident involved F-16A and Mig-23 MLD is on September 1987
A formation of twelve Soviet MiG-23s—eight loaded with bombs, and four carrying R-24 air-to-air missiles, zipped into Pakistani airspace near the Kunar valley at 32,000 feet—probably seeking to lure PAF F-16s into an ambush.

Obligingly, two F-16s raced towards the swing-wing fighters at only 11,000 feet. However, the Soviet radars failed to detect the lower-flying F-16s amidst the ground clutter. A Sidewinder fired at a steep angle by Squadron Leader Khalid Mahmood managed to riddle one MiG-23 with shrapnel, which limped back home for a crash landing. Two MiGs peeled away to engage the F-16s in a dogfight. But while Pakistani pilots claimed two MiG-23 kills, Soviet records show no additional aircraft were lost.




At 06:06AM of 12 September 1988, two F-16As of the 14th Squadron, flown by Sqn.Ldr. Khalid Mahmood (on F-16A 85728) and Sqn.Ldr. Anwar Hussain took off from Kamra AB in order to set up a CAP over the Nawagai area. Around 06:40AM, they were vectored by the GCI to intercept two contacts which were closing the Pakistani border at high level in eastern direction. Both F-16s were soon in proper position, but the contacts then turned to the north flying parallel to the border. In fact, there were not only two, but a total of 12 MiG-23MLDs of the 120. IAP in the air that morning, eight of which were loaded with bombs and have got the order to attack certain targets in the Kunar Valley, while four - split in two pairs (Lt.Col. Sergey Bulin with Maj. N. Golisienko, and Maj. S. Petkov with 1st Lt. V. Danchenkov) - acted as escorts. Detecting four additional contacts, the GCI swiftly turned the F-16s towards the new threat, and Sqn.Ldr. Mahmood acquired a total of six contacts, of which four in the forward formation were trailed by additional two coming from behind.

The only problem for Pakistanis now was, that the F-16s were still at the level of 3.500 meters, while their targets flew at more than 10.000 meters, and the rear pair of the targets was flying much faster than the first four aircraft. Indeed, the Soviet GCI detected Pakistani F-16s, and advised Petkov and Danchenkov to block them, while the rest of the formation was to turn back towards West. But, the Pakistanis were faster: closing to a distance of 12km, Mahmood achieved a radar lock-on, but his Sidewinders failed to track the target, as the Soviet pilots engaged their IR counter measures. Mahmood started no less but three attempts to acquire, but failed to do so and, after closing to a distance of less than three kilometers, tried for a fourth time. Finally, he was successful, and fired one AIM-9L from a low-to-high/left-to-right conversion attack and 135° aspect angle. His target was MiG-23MLD „Bort 55“, flown by Capt. Sergey Privalov, which engaged his IRCM. The Sidewinder closed, however, and exploded over his aircraft, sending dozens of hot splinters into the wings and the fuselage.

The whole Soviet section executed a turn to the West now, with Privalov in tow and Petkov and Danchenkov joining the formation without - as it seems - trying to engage F-16s with their R-24s, while Bulin and Golisienko closed from the north and certainly tried to acquire a lock on. However, Mahmood was already executing a hard port turn underneath the enemy formation, rolling out directly behind it and in a perfect attack position behind no less but six MiG-23MLDs! His radar immediately achieved another lock-on, but Mahmood rejected the lock and switched over to an auto-lock, which automatically selected his two AIM-9P missiles, considered better for stern attack. Closing to a distance of three kilometers, the Pakistani fired another missile at the MiG-23MLD flown by Maj. Petkov, when the GCI warned him of two Soviet aircraft directly behind. Mahmood broke hard into the threat, but found nothing there, only to - upon a turn back to the west - realize that the rest of the Soviet formation was already too far away to be intercepted and almost over the Afghani border.

For two F-16 pilots there remained nothing else but to return back to their base. According to Pakistani reports, this warning of two Soviet aircraft behind Mahmood and Hussain was caused by a radar controller, Sqn.Ldr. Irfan-ul-Haq, misinterpreting a clutter on his scope. In fact Lt.Col. Sergey Bulin and Maj. N. Golisienko were closing from that side, however, their Sapheer-23ML radars were not able to pick-up the lower flying F-16s (probably due to a ground clutter), thus denying them a chance to attack with R-24 missiles. Subsequently they turned towards the West and joined the rest of the formation. Privalov’s MiG-23MLD „55“ managed it back to Bagram
The second incident is also quite famous, there are a few photo of the damaged Mig-23MLD Bort 55 around the net, while you can argue that Bort 55 didn't get destroyed, therefore, that doesn't count as a lost. However, we can't deny that it did get damaged by the AIM-9 warhead, and the fact that it did survive the warhead is more or less base on luck. Then the very important fact that we shouldn't ignore is that 2 F-16 engaged a Mig-23 MLD formation with significant number superiority, 2 F-16 vs 12 Mig-23 MLD

PoKC42c.jpg
 

MiG-29SMT

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Then that isn't very strong proof, given that from the Pakistan perspective, it was a friendly fire incident where the F-16 got hit by his wing men's AIM-9
do you understand you are quoting a western source what do you expect to admit they lost a fighter?
1588657832123.png


are you really not biased?

1588657906558.png

they lost an F-16 and as typical propaganda, they said we shot it down, it tells you how idiotic was their pilot but the MiGs were flying but even by more stupid Russian pilots

1588658037692.png



that website is as good for a movie from Hollywood
 

StealthFlanker

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do you understand you are quoting a western source what do you expect to admit they lost a fighter?
View attachment 47095

are you really not biased?

View attachment 47096
they lost an F-16 and as typical propaganda, they said we shot it down, it tells you how idiotic was their pilot but the MiGs were flying but even by more stupid Russian pilots

that website is as good for a movie from Hollywood
They certainly didn't have any issue when admitting F-18 got shot down by Mig-25 or when F-16 got shot down by SA-3. And friendly fire aren't an exactly rare occurrences on the battlefield, for example: AH-64 did destroy a friendly APC, F-16 did launch HARM at a PAC-2 site, India did shot down their own Mi-17 ..etc
. Besides, talking about propaganda would be the pot calling the kettle black, let not pretend like Soviet sources have no propaganda themselves. Let say Pak was indeed got shootdown by friendly force, do you seriously think Soviet won't claim they shot it down? I think not. The bottom line is that the incident still have much controversy around it till today unlike most other cases where both sides confirms.
For the sake of the argument, let say that PaK F-16A was indeed shot down by Mig-23MLD, it still doesn't show the superiority of Mig-23MLD over F-16A, because in the 2 incident in that war when they meet, Mig-23MLD did have significant number superiority
April 1987 => 2 F-16A vs 4 Mig-23 MLD => 1 F-16A lost
September 1988 => 2 F-16A vs 12 Mig-23 MLD => 1 Mig-23 MLD damaged but managed to return to base

Does that look like Mig-23 MLD was superior? I don't think so.

Nationalinterst.org is an american propaganda website.
No, it was sort of a magazine with a sensational headline, somewhat like a tabloid, but not a propaganda website at all. A propaganda site wouldn't have articles like these:

Now compare those to what often on Sputnik.
 
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