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The Soviet MiG-23 Flogger Show!

In the second half of the seventies, the Soviet leadership decided that it is necessary to demonstrate the Soviet Air Force abroad. At the beginning of 1978 a new Air Display unit was set up in the Soviet Union. The staff was formed by the 9th Fighter Division's two regiments.

At the spring of 1978 the 234th Guard Fighter Air Regimentís and the 32nd Guard Fighter Air Regiment's staff started retraining to the new MiG-23MLA type. The ground crews traveled to Moscow for retraining. A squadron of MiG-23MLA Flogger-G fighter was deployed at Kubinka. Here the selected pilots started the exercise of acrobatic flight. It was a very intense training!

Seven of the Air Display unit's MiG-23MLA Flogger-G version were painted with a special gloss camouflage paint. The MiG-23MLA Flogger-Gs used for these air shows where not standard Soviet front line aircraft and lacked several essential pieces of equipment, such as weapons pylons, IR detectors, weapon systems and some cockpit instrumentation. The modified machines: Red 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 and 07

USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G in formation above Kubinka Air Base Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G in formation above Kubinka Air Base
USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G acrobatic maneuver in the sky. Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G acrobatic maneuver in the sky.
Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G pilot acrobatic maneuver in the sky. USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G pilot acrobatic maneuver in the sky.
USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G in formation Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G in formation

Two visits were planned in 1978, to Rissala airbase in Finland in August and to Reims airbase in France in September. The staff was also trained in public restaurant protocol.

The first examples of this new MiG-23MLA Flogger-G were observed by the West at Rissala Air Base in Finland during a goodwill visit by a six fighter aircraft detachment under the command of LT. COL. J. Belenkov. The Soviets visited the Finnish silver MiG-21F-13 Fishbed-C fighter unit at Rissala between 1 and 4 August 1978, giving western intelligence agencies their first good look at this new Flogger variant, which was assigned the NATO reporting Fogger-G.

        Demonstration pilots:


234th Guard Fighter Air Regimentís jet pilots:
Lieutenant-colonel Jevgenyij Belyakov - Commanding Officer
Major Nikolai Rozhkov
Major Vladimir Petrov
Captain Alexander Verozubov

32nd Guard Fighter Air Regiment's display pilots
Captain Guzov Anatolij Belouszov
Captain Belousov Jurij

Reserve display pilots:
Captain Radchuk Juscsenko
Captain Desnitsky A.

Group of pilots 9th Fighter Air Division at the airport Rissala, Finland. Second left - Major NN Rozhkov, second right - Captain Guzov A.N. on August 1, 1978 Photo: A. N. Guzov MiG-23 Flogger Show at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978
Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978. Photo: Jukka Happunen USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978.
Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978 Photo: Roy Cochrun Collection USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978. Photo: Roy Cochrun Collection
Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978 Photo: Roy Cochrun Collection USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978. Photo: Roy Cochrun Collection
Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978 Photo: Roy Cochrun Collection USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rissala Air Base in Finland in 1978. Photo: Roy Cochrun Collection

The preparations for the visit of France began in August 1978. As planned the navigation was done by the Tu-124 Cookpot. The display pilots needed to follow this in a close this form. They practiced this all August.
 

The MiG-23MLA Flogger-Gs near the Tu-124 Cookpot during a training session in the air. Picture taken on board the Tu-124 Cookpot. Kubinka in August 1978. Photo: AA Desnitsky

On 2 September 1978, the Tu-124 Cookpot aircraft navigator moved to the Czechoslovak Milovice airport. A day later followed by the MiG-23MLA Flogger-G display aircrafts. They flew over to France on September 4. They often were followed by German F-104G Startfighters over GDR. They landed at Rheims airport in foggy, cloudy weather. For the experienced pilots it wasn't a problem.

The six MiG-23MLAs Flogger-G visited the French Air Force Normandie-Niemen fighter unit at Rheims. This French unit had been formed in the Soviet Union during the Second World War and over the years a tradition of exchange visit between both countries was maintained. Later, Mirage F.1Cs of the Normaindie-Niemen visited the Soviet Union.

The commander of the Soviet delegation, the Moscow Military District Air Force's commander was Lt. Gen. V.K. Andrejev. On September 6, airshow was held at Rheims airport. The Soviet pilots did not fly because of the bad weather. The Soviet Air Display team go to headed home on September 8th.
 

USSR MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rheims in 1978 Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Reims in 1978.
Captain Desnitsky AA against the background of French fighters Mirage F-1Cs in France, September 1978 Photo: AA Desnitsky Captains Desnitsky A.A. and. Belousov Y.F. on background French fighter-bomber Jaguar in France, the airfield Toul, September 1978 Photo: AA Desnitsky
Captain Yuri Belousov (left) and Anatoly Desnitsky (right) at the Eiffel Tower Paris in September 1978. Photo: AA Desnitsky Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Rheims in 1978. Photo: AA Desnitsky
Soviet and French pilots at Reims Air BAse on September 1978. Photo: AA Desnitsky

Finally these same MiG-23MLA Flogger-Gs visited Ronnebu airbase in Sweden during mid-August of 1981. The Soviet Air Force unit was led by General-Colonel V. Andreev, Air Commander of the Moscow Military Districís Air Force.

On August 12. Lt Col V. Belyakov and Maj V. Tikhenko demonstrated the MiG-23ís low and high-speed handling characteristics to Swedish Air Force pilots. The Swedes gave  aerobatic demonstrations of the Draken, Viggen and Saab 105.
 

The dissolution of the Rhombus on the Soviet MiG-23MLA Flogger-Gs in 1980s. Photo: A. Dzsusa Landing USSR Demonstration MiG-23MLA Flogger-G at Kubinka

In all three visits, it was apparent that the Soviet pilots and ground crews had been thoroughly briefed for their exposure to the West.

Tags:
Soviet Union, USSR, Soviet Air Forces, VVS, Cold War, Soviet Air Defence, Moscow Military District's Air Force, Soviet Tactical Air Force, 9th Fighter Air Division, 234th Guard Fighter Air Regiment, 32nd Guard Fighter Air Regiment, 9th Fighter Aviation Division, 234th Guard Fighter Aviation Regiment, 32nd Guard Fighter Aviation Regiment, MiG-23MLA Flogger-G, Kubinka, Display Team, Rissala airbase in Finland, Finish Air Force, MiG-21F-13 Fishbed-C, Rheims airbase in France, Reims airbase in France, French Air Force Normandie-Niemen fighter unit, Mirage F-1C, Jaguar, Mikoyan and Gurevich

Облако тегов:
Союз Советских Социалистических Республик, СССР, Холодная война, Военно-воздушные силы, ВВС МВО, ВВС Московского военного округа, 78-я воздушная армия, 78-я ВА, 9-я гвардейская Мариупольско-Берлинская ордена Ленина Краснознаменная ордена Богдана Хмельницкого истребительная авиационная дивизия, 234-й гвардейский Проскуровский Краснознаменный орденов Кутузова и Александра Невского смешанный авиационный полк, 32-й гвардейский истребительный Виленский орденов Ленина и Кутузова авиационный полк, Кубинка, МиГ-23МЛА, Показать Team, Рисаля авиабаза в Финляндии, финский ВВС, МиГ-21Ф-13, Реймс авиабаза в Франция, Реймс авиабазе во Франции, блок истребитель ВВС Франции Нормандия-Неман, Мираж F1, Ягуар, Микоян и Гуревич