Russian radar design house Phazotron is pushing for radar upgrades for the Mikoyan MiG-23 Flogger, and has held preliminary talks with several countries, including Vietnam. The upgrade would give the ability to carry the Vympel R-77 (AA-12 Adder) active radar guided medium range air to air missile.

Phazotron, with MAPO MIG, is proposing four radar upgrade options to the numerous MiG-23 operators remaining, despite the aircraft having been withdrawn from the Russian air force.

The simplest modification being offered is adapting the aircraft's Sapfir radar to allow it to operate with the R-77s, two of which could be carried in place of the semi-active R-23/24 (AA-7 Apex).

The second variant being proposed draws on work Phazotron has carried out for the Sukhoi Su-25TM (Su-39) Frogfoot. This aircraft uses a variant of Phazotron's Kopyo planar array antenna radar packed in a pod. In the case of the Flogger, the radar is mounted under the fuselage, allowing the aircraft to use the Zvezda Strela Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton) anti-ship missile.

The most radical of the proposed upgrades would involve replacement of the aircraft's Sapfir radar with either the Super Kopyo or the Moskit. The latter would be modified to allow it to support the semi-active R-24. Fitting the Super Kopyo would allow the aircraft to support a variety of air to surface weaponry.

India is regarded as a potential target for a MiG-23 upgrade, with licence production carried out by Hindustan Aeronautics.

Phazotron is already involved in the proposed upgrade of 125 of the Indian air force's Mikoyan MiG-21bis Fishbed aircraft. Two Indian air force MiG-21s are being modified at the Sokol Nizhny Novgorod production plant.

Phazotron says that both aircraft have been fitted with Kopyo radars, although other Indian and Western elements of the upgrade have yet to be delivered.

Source: Flight International