Sunday, January 15, 2017

Libyan MiG-23 fighter jet shot down

A MiG-23 fighter jet flown by forces loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government was shot down today by Benghazi Shura Council (BSC) fighters while carrying out a ground attack mission in the Ganfouda region.

The aircraft crashed in the Bosnib district in western Benghazi, while the pilot Col. Younis Al-Dinali, managed to eject successfully.

A heat seeking man portable air defense (MANPAD) system was used to strike the low flying aircraft.

The MiG-23 wreckage that crashed today

This is the second MiG-23 crash in Libya within a month. On Dec 22, a MiG-23UB two seat trainer crashed while on training sortie killing the two on-board pilots.

Several MiG-23 fighters has crashed during the ongoing second civil war, at least five in 2016.

Chaos has engulfed Libya since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011, with several militant groups fighting each other.

Prior to the 2011 Libyan civil war, Libyan Air Force had 130 MiG-23 fighters with most of them in storage. Several of these has been restored to flying conditions by both government and militant groups.

The MiG-23 Flogger is a Soviet era swing wing fighter jet introduced in the early 1970s. Powered by a single R-35 turbojet jet engine, the aircraft had a maximum take off weight of 18,000 kg, including a weapon payload of 3,000 kg.

The variable geometry wing enable different wing sweep angle for different flight conditions, like a swept wing suitable for high speeds and an unswept wing suitable for lower speeds.

More than 5000 of the type were built when production ended in 1985.