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Author Topic: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?  (Read 1060 times)

Offline lancer21

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Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« on: August 13, 2017, 06:02:27 am »
Hi everyone,

I wasn't really sure where to put this, i hope it's in the right place. Basically my question to  the knowledgeable folks here is, if suppose history might have been a bit different and the USSR somehow got the idea to use ski-jumps on the Kiev Pr.1143 class carriers (think something akin to Pr.1143.42 or Vikramaditya)- as i understand, the ski-jump idea was proposed as far back as 1952 in US!- would the MiG-23 make a reasonably good ski-jump launched fighter? As you know in OTL there were two catapult launched MiG-23A and MiG-23K projects to be used from the defunct Pr.1160 or 1153 CVNs.
 
Now  based on what i have read before (some claims that only fighters with a TW over 1 can be used from a carrier ski-jump), i was wondering if the TW ratio of the MiG-23 would have been insufficient, but i recalled that the Su-25UTG operates quite well from Kuznetsov, and surely a MiG-23 would have a much better TW ratio compared to Su-25UTG?
 
Thank you for any input.

Offline TomcatViP

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2017, 06:29:41 am »
T/W>1 is necessary only for vertical T.O.
Ramp assisted (short) Takeoff use a non negligible frwd and thrust vector rotation to create the normal component  usually created by either lift OR thrust. It's a mix. And like all melanges it depends only of the blend of components.
The key factor here is accelerations , (given the usually short lenght of the runway, power of ship, drag at a given speed and, more or less, T.O weight.

I don't doubt the 23 could have achieved such but at what operational value? ;)

Plus, don't forget (like I just did ::) ) that you'll generally have to land back on the ship after...

« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 06:43:17 am by TomcatViP »

Offline lancer21

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 08:00:36 am »
It's operational value would be that it would offer a capability light years away from that of the Yak-38, even if there will be somewhat reduced characteristics compared to the baseline MiG-23  (a bit less range, payload etc.). This would be a Mach 2, BVR capable fighter which would be far, far more useful, useable and survivable compared to the Yak-38. What the soviets would have to also develop in this scenario is the arresting gear, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Like i mentioned, the carrier based versions had streghthened and modified airframe and landing gear, arresting hook etc. Here is a pic nicely showing both versions (top MiG-23A of 1972, bottom MiG-23K of 1977):

http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/Gal3/2201-2300/Gal2236-MiG-23K-Biggs/04.jpg

Offline lastdingo

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2017, 04:34:44 am »
The Yak-38 was fine against P-3 Orions, and any Soviet CVBG would have been overpowered by a USN CVBG that united 2 CVN/CVB ships anyway.

The MiG-23 might have been limited to a poor wing sweep for take off and landing on Soviet carriers because with normal slow velocity wing setting it has a huge wing span. It's also questionable whether the deck landing gear of the Soviet ships would have sufficed for the landing of a MiG-23.

There were MiG-21 derivatives with proper radar and one with double delta wings. Maybe that combo would have been suitable for the job (it would unite a better airframe and better radar for frontline fighter duties than the regular MiG-21 as well).

Offline PlanesPictures

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2017, 05:01:16 am »
Mig-23's start from Bartini's ecranoplane. One from more ways

Offline kaiserd

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2017, 10:33:14 am »
To add some more potentially problematic issues;
Would the MIG-23 even remotely fit in the Kiev classes hanger or (especially) the lifts. Would the MIG-23 been to heavy for the lifts and or deck (especially with the forces when landing.
Also early MIG-23s didn't have forgiving low speed handling (somewhat rectified in later versions and projected "proper" carrier versions).
As such all in all maybe a virtually empty MIG-23 may just get off the Kiev's flight deck with the aid of a ski jump but God help whoever would try to land on that small deck in a MIG-23 and there seems to many issues to ever make it a worth while ongoing endeavour.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2017, 10:47:21 am by kaiserd »

Offline GTX

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 10:56:09 am »

Would the MIG-23 even remotely fit in the Kiev classes hanger or (especially) the lifts.

Doing a comparison with Yak-38:

Yak-38M
Length: 16.37 m (50 ft 1 in)
Wingspan: 7.32 m (24 ft 0 in)
Height: 4.25 m (14 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 18.5 m² (199 ft²)
Empty weight: 7,385 kg (16,281 lb)
MiG-23MLD
Length: 15.65 m (51 ft 4 in)
Wingspan:
With wings spread: 13.965 m (45 ft 10 in)
With wings swept: 7.779 m (25 ft 6 in)
Height: 4.82 m (15 ft 9.75 in)
Empty weight: 9,595 kg (21,153 lb)

Offline falcon

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2017, 12:21:28 pm »
I will just leave these here.........


Offline Pioneer

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2017, 01:27:59 am »

Would the MIG-23 even remotely fit in the Kiev classes hanger or (especially) the lifts.

Doing a comparison with Yak-38:

Yak-38M
Length: 16.37 m (50 ft 1 in)
Wingspan: 7.32 m (24 ft 0 in)
Height: 4.25 m (14 ft 5 in)
Wing area: 18.5 m² (199 ft²)
Empty weight: 7,385 kg (16,281 lb)
MiG-23MLD
Length: 15.65 m (51 ft 4 in)
Wingspan:
With wings spread: 13.965 m (45 ft 10 in)
With wings swept: 7.779 m (25 ft 6 in)
Height: 4.82 m (15 ft 9.75 in)
Empty weight: 9,595 kg (21,153 lb)

Thank's for the comparison figures Greg!

Im guessing, if the Soviet’s were serious enough, and deemed it a serious enough operational requirement (especially after the demonstrated shortcomings of the Yak-38’s performance), they could/would have at minimum kept Kiev as a proof-of-concept V/STOL heavy aviation cruiser; but incorporating structural changes into the design and building of Minsk (or at minimum Novorossiysk and Baku, had they been completed). These modifications could have incorporated the likes of a ski-jump, arrester gear/systems, larger and heavier capacity aircraft lift (or lifts) to facilitate the slightly larger dimensions of a heavier carrier-based MiG-23K and or MiG-27K variant(s).
Although saying this, I can only assume that the MiG-23K and or MiG-27K would be somewhat heavier, due to the necessity of structural and landing gear strengthening.
Im also thinking any MiG-23K/MiG-27K’s fuel and armament loads would have to be somewhat reduced to allow it to get of such a short deck, even with ski-jump assistance.
Im wondering if the naval variant would have necessitated pushing engine thrust to its limits.
One thing is for certain IMO, I wouldn’t be wanting to be barrelling down such a short runway, with everything depending on one engine!!

P.S. One think particully I liked with the 'proposed' MiG-23K, is the perceived vastly improved canopy/cockpit arrangement, which seems to have offered superior pilot visibility over the legacy MiG-23 'Flogger' series!!  :P 

 
Regards
Pioneer


« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 01:34:38 am by Pioneer »
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Offline lancer21

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2017, 07:19:28 am »
Thank you all for your input. To just briefly address more trivial matters, like i said initially of course the ships will have to be modified in the first place, but not a lot because as Vikramaditya shows, MiG-29K can operate off it very well, fits on the elevator, in the hangar etc. I see no issue with MiG-23A/K doing same, i am 98% certain the MiG-23A/K would have been just fine as a ski-jump fighter of a 280m modified Kiev-class, but to be absolutely sure of the feasability of this concept i am really looking for hard data (if there is any) from the tests made with MiG-27 no.603 operating from the ski-jump at NITKA to show one way or the other  whether the tests were indeed successful or not.

The matter of landing is also a non-issue, the MiG-23K/A was designed to land on carriers, and as a sidenote during the painful history of soviet CV development in the first half of the 1970s there were proposals for the third and fourth Kiev class to be modified with catapults and operating MiG-23K and Su-25K, but of course nothing came of that. 


Btw, here is the project 1143.42, which is how i imagine this  MiG-23 capable Kiev to look like in the first place:
 

Offline kaiserd

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Re: Ski-jump capable MiG-23?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2017, 11:39:26 am »
Thank you all for your input. To just briefly address more trivial matters, like i said initially of course the ships will have to be modified in the first place, but not a lot because as Vikramaditya shows, MiG-29K can operate off it very well, fits on the elevator, in the hangar etc. I see no issue with MiG-23A/K doing same, i am 98% certain the MiG-23A/K would have been just fine as a ski-jump fighter of a 280m modified Kiev-class, but to be absolutely sure of the feasability of this concept i am really looking for hard data (if there is any) from the tests made with MiG-27 no.603 operating from the ski-jump at NITKA to show one way or the other  whether the tests were indeed successful or not.

The matter of landing is also a non-issue, the MiG-23K/A was designed to land on carriers, and as a sidenote during the painful history of soviet CV development in the first half of the 1970s there were proposals for the third and fourth Kiev class to be modified with catapults and operating MiG-23K and Su-25K, but of course nothing came of that. 


Btw, here is the project 1143.42, which is how i imagine this  MiG-23 capable Kiev to look like in the first place:

This area is an interesting what-if re: Soviet navy aviation.
I agree that a radically modified Kiev class could have operated MIG-23s using the ski-jump and arrester gear but these modifications to the Kiev class ship would have to have been very deep, extensive, expensive and time consuming (just ask the Indians). The need to strip them of nearly all their missile armament would have been controversial in the Soviet Navy.
At this time the Soviet Navy would have been starting from scratch for many elements of an actual CTOL carrier (arrester gear etc).
All to operate CTOL aircraft that would then have been significantly impacted and impared by using the ski-jump versus steam catapult or versus non-carrier versions operating from normal runways, all in the context of it not yet being clear how dissappointing and limited the YAK-38 would prove to be (or that far more capable Soviet STOVL carrier fighter would never enter service).
 
All of these aspects increased the technical and "political" challenges and risks with a scenario of trying to turn the Kiev's in to ski-jump carriers with CTOL aircraft.
In retrospect because we know that their YAK-38 air component turned out to be next to useless operationaly (and with a horrible accident record) such a risk may look like it was obviously worth taking.
However without this advantage the decisions to press on with Kievs as they were is more reasonable.