|This page is about the Soviet jet fighter MiG-23M. For other versions, see MiG-23 (Family).|
The MiG-23M is a rank VII Soviet jet fighter with a battle rating of 11.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update "Red Skies".
The MiG-23M is the first version of the MiG-23 to see wide operational service. It is a very different plane from the preceding MiG-21bis, with variable sweep wings, side air intakes, sophisticated avionics, and access to R-23 missiles with good range. The MiG-23M is the first Soviet fighter with a real BVR capability and pilots can enjoy using R-23R missiles for long range radar-guided jousting or R-23T missiles for IRST-cued sneak attacks. It is no slouch in close quarter engagements either, where lower wing sweep settings give it great sustained turning capability and its all-aspect R-60M missiles can do good work. As to be expected however for an early variant of such a revolutionary aircraft, it is a bit rough around the edges: the thrust-to-weight ratio is worse than the MiG-21bis, it is not great at short-term turning, and it has a limited supply of only 12 large-caliber countermeasures. Still, it brings a lot of new features to the table, and Soviet pilots who master it will be very pleased with the succeeding MiG-23MLD.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 13,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear||Drogue chute|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 665||< 650||< 700||N/A|
|Engine name||Number||Wing loading (full fuel)|
|Tumansky R-29-300||1||11,155 kg||395 - 445 kg/m2|
|Engine characteristics||Mass with fuel (no weapons load)|| Max Takeoff|
|Weight (each)||Type||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||35m fuel|
|1,780 kg||Afterburning axial-flow turbojet||12,367 kg||13,462 kg||14,615 kg||15,195 kg||18,400 kg|
|Thrust to weight ratio @ 0 m (WEP)|
|Condition||100%||WEP||10m fuel||20m fuel||30m fuel||35m fuel||MTOW|
|Stationary||7,950 kgf||10,494 kgf||0.85||0.78||0.72||0.69||0.57|
|Optimal|| 8,268 kgf
| 12,987 kgf
Survivability and armour
Examine the survivability of the aircraft. Note how vulnerable the structure is and how secure the pilot is, whether the fuel tanks are armoured, etc. Describe the armour, if there is any, and also mention the vulnerability of other critical aircraft systems.
Modifications and economy
|CCIP (Guns)||CCIP (Rockets)||CCIP (Bombs)||CCRP (Bombs)|
The MiG-23M is armed with:
- 1 x 23 mm GSh-23L cannon, belly-mounted (200 rpg)
The MiG-23M can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
|100 kg OFAB-100 bombs||4||4‡||4‡||4|
|250 kg FAB-250M-62 bombs||1||1||1||1|
|500 kg FAB-500M-62 bombs||1||1|
|ZB-500 incendiary bombs||1||1|
|S-5K rockets||16, 32||16||16||16, 32|
|Large calibre countermeasures||12|
|Delta-NG targeting pod||1*|
|800 l drop tanks||1‡|
| * It is required to equip the Delta-NG targeting pod with the Kh-23M missiles |
† R-23R and R-23T missiles cannot be mixed, only one type may be carried across hardpoints
‡ The drop tank cannot be equipped in conjunction with quad bombs on adjacent hardpoints
|Default weapon presets|
Usage in battles
Two different tactics are recommended when flying the MiG-23M:
- Low altitude, high speed, side of the map. Try to get as much speed as possible maintaining a very low altitude and go to the right if you want a more head-on engagement or to the left if you want a side/back of the enemy attack position (in a majority of maps players go to their left). Use boom and zoom tactics to minimize danger and revert to dogfighting with manually unswept wings when the enemy team thins out. Better used with a squadron, the MiG-23M can eliminate several enemy aircraft if played right with 3 teammates and using the all-aspect IR-guided R-23T missile. More applicable in uptiers, with a heavy emphasis on boom and zoom as the manuverability of the MiG-23M is poor compared to top tier aircraft.
- High altitude, high speed, together with your team, BVR. Fly to the side of a map at an angle, accelerate up to Mach 1, then climbing up to 5-7km. Turn back to face the furball and use your radar to lock onto high altitude enemy targets (if any). Once all high altitude targets are eliminated or have dove down to the deck, dive down to the deck and use boom and zoom tactics with your R-60Ms to minimize danger. Once the enemy team has thinned out, manually unsweep your wings in order to enhance manuverability and dogfight individual planes in a ratefight. Not reccomended fighting this style when flying in an uptier, as the R-23R missile, radar, aircraft performance, and countermeasure count is not up to par for top tier BVR engagements or dogfighting.
No matter which tactic though, it is recommended to engage your enemy from their front hemisphere, since you can carry all-aspect IR missiles. This way it leaves your enemy less time to react and dodge the missiles.
Also, since both the R-60Ms and the R-23Ts have a relatively wide FOV, it is recommended to lock the enemy using your IRST before engaging the missile lock to slave the missile, and better utilise their wide FOV.
Only use the R-60Ms at close range, around 1.5 km. They perform best under such range, and it also gives your enemy less reaction time to release the countermeasures, since R-60Ms are easily tricked by flares. However, if the enemy target has no flares and you are closing in at high speed, ranges up to 2.5km can be reached even at the deck (under ideal conditions).
When firing R-60Ms in headons, try to wait until the last possible moment to launch and pull off the head on (pull off when you see enemy tracers) to minimize the amount of time your enemy has to react to drop countermeasures, maximizing probability of a hit.
When in a 1v1 situation, manually unsweep your wings and get into a ratefight to best utilize the performance if your aircraft. The MiG-23M is unable to pull off high AoA manuvers, so one circle fights are not reccomended unless it is against an unmanuverable enemy like a Phantom.
Pros and cons
- Very high low-altitude top speed, could outrun any of your opponents.
- Reasonably high acceleration for its size.
- Very good high speed acceleration.
- Variable swept-wing aircraft, allowing for decent performance at any speed.
- Amazing energy retention if wings are fully unswept.
- Contains IRST tracking system and decent radar that allows you to track aerial targets at ground level.
- HUD displays speed and altitude information, most useful in simulator mode.
- Varied armament preset selection.
- R-23T and R-60M all-aspect missiles.
- Good R-23R missiles for long range engagements.
- Can carry 6 x R-60M AAMs.
- Underwhelming instantaneous turn rate, cannot pull some extreme windows easily.
- Loses quite a lot of speed in turns if manual wing sweep is not properly utlized.
- Low countermeasures count.
- Low ammo count and low muzzle velocity for the GSh-23L cannon.
- R-60Ms are easily distracted by flares.
- R-23T/R-23R air-to-air missiles struggle in close combat.
- Radar is not on par with NATO counterparts.
The MiG-21 was the main Soviet fighter jet from the 1960's onward. However, the jet left much to be desired. The nose cone radar was too small and weak to be useful for BVR engagements, and the range of the MiG-21 was notoriously small. Compared to the American F-4 Phantom, the MiG-21 was far behind in avionics and missile armarment. To address these shortfalls, a new Soviet fighter jet was concived. The MiG 21 had a short take off run, which the Soviets were pleased by as it gave the MiG-21 the ability to use improvised runways in a potential Cold War gone hot situation, so the successor to the MiG-21 would also have to have a short takeoff run. One prototype of the MiG-23 was the Ye-8, which resembled a larger MiG-21 with canards, an underbelly air intake and a large radome. Another was the 23-01 or Izdeliye 92, which resembled a larger MiG-21 with side mouted air intakes, a large radome, and most notably, liftjets to shorten its takeoff run. In the end, a variable sweep wing system was chosen to give the MiG-23 a short takeoff run.
The first variants of the MiG-23 inherited the same avionics system as the MiG-21, lacking look down radars. Later, the MiG-23 was equiped with the Sapfir-23L radar, allowing it to fire the considerably more capable R-23R missile (compared to the R-3R missile), yet the Sapfir-23L still lacked look-down capabilities. Finally, the Sapfir-23D was equipped to the MiG-23, changing its designation to the MiG-23M. The Sapfir-23D had look-down capabilities, greatly enhancing the performance of the radar.
Although the MiG-23M came with revolutionary features to the Soviet Air Force, the MiG-23 had its shortcomings. Primarily, the performance of the airframe. The wing sweep mechanism was difficult to near impossible to operate in a dogfight, so Soviet pilots used 3 settings: no sweep for takeoff and landings, a 45 degree sweep for standard flight and dogfights, and maximum sweep for high speed flight. The 45 degree sweep was used in dogfights, greatly reducing the agility of the MiG-23. More experienced pilots would reduce the wing sweep to 33 degrees, increasing lift and agility, but this made the aircraft unstable and difficult to fly, as well as hampering acceleration. Additionally, at high angles of attack, the MiG-23 would become very unstable and difficult to fly. Due to these shortcomings in performance, the MiG-23 pilots were relegated to hit and run tactics, ofte not even engaging in a dogfight when merging with an adversery. The only manuver the MiG-23 excelled at was vertical loops, as the engine power could allow for steep climbs.
However, the MiG-23 was still a formidable aircraft in the right hands. The extreme acceleration and top speed allowed for great use of hit and run tactics, making it a formidable interceptor.
Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:
- reference to the series of the aircraft;
- links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.
- [Development] The MiG-23M and rank VII for aviation
- Official data sheet - more details about the performance
|Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau (Микоя́н и Гуре́вич Опытное конструкторское бюро)|
|Fighters||MiG-3-15 · MiG-3-15 (BK) · MiG-3-34|
|Jet fighters||MiG-9 · MiG-9 (l)|
|MiG-15 · MiG-15bis · MiG-15bis ISH|
|MiG-21F-13 · MiG-21PFM · MiG-21S (R-13-300) · MiG-21SMT · MiG-21bis|
|MiG-23M · MiG-23ML · MiG-23MLD|
|MiG-27M · MiG-27K|
|MiG-29 · MiG-29SMT|
|Export/Licensed||␗MiG-9 · ␗MiG-9 (l)|
|◊MiG-15bis · J-2*|
|MiG-17AS · J-4* · Shenyang F-5*|
|◊MiG-19S · J-6A*|
|◄MiG-21 SPS-K · ◊MiG-21MF · ◊MiG-21 "Lazur-M" · ▄MiG-21bis · ◊MiG-21bis-SAU · J-7II**|
|◊MiG-23BN · ◊MiG-23MF · ◊MiG-23MLA|
|*Licensed and domesticated with Chinese designations.|
|**Unlicensed, reverse-engineered and domesticated with Chinese designations.|
|See Also||Shenyang · Chengdu|
|USSR jet aircraft|
|Yakovlev||Yak-15 · Yak-15P · Yak-17 · Yak-23 · Yak-28B · Yak-30D · Yak-38 · Yak-38M · Yak-141|
|Mikoyan-Gurevich||MiG-9 · MiG-9 (l) · MiG-15 · MiG-15bis · MiG-15bis ISH · MiG-17 · MiG-17AS · MiG-19PT|
|MiG-21F-13 · MiG-21PFM · MiG-21S (R-13-300) · MiG-21SMT · MiG-21bis|
|MiG-23M · MiG-23ML · MiG-23MLD · MiG-27M · MiG-27K|
|MiG-29 · MiG-29SMT|
|Lavochkin||La-174 · La-15 · La-200|
|Sukhoi||Su-9 · Su-11|
|Su-7B · Su-7BKL · Su-7BMK · Su-17M2 · Su-17M4 · Su-22M3|
|Su-25 · Su-25BM · Su-25K · Su-25T · Su-39|
|Ilyushin||IL-28 · IL-28Sh|