Libyan MiG-23 Pilot Remembers Dogfights with U.S. Navy F-14’s and F-18’s

With total disclosure, I lifted these quotes from The Aviation Geek Club.

F-18

‘During the afternoon of 12 February 1986, three MiG-23MLDs from No. 1023 Squadron had engaged a pair of F/A-18 Hornets over the international waters, north-east Tripoli. They clearly outflew the Americans and ended advantageous position, at their “6 o’clock”. Hornets were forced to disengage and run away. After that we were all excited about our new mounts and looking forward for further engagements.’ -Abdelmajid Tayari, Libyan MiG-23 pilot

F-14

‘On 13 February 1986, I was scrambled as leader of a pair of MiG-23MLDs to intercept a pair of F-14s underway about 170 kilometres [92nm] north-west of Benina. Each of our aircraft was armed with one R-24R, one R-24T, four R-60MKs and a full load of ammunition for 23mm cannon. Prior to take-off, I was briefed to expect four Tomcats: two at medium altitude, clearly visible on our radar, and two at low altitude, invisible to our radars, and waiting to sandwich us. The GCI vectored us to intercept the pair flying at medium altitude, and we approached head-on.

‘My wingman and me were underway at an altitude of 3,000 meters [9,842ft]: Tomcats were slightly higher, at 4,000 meters [13123ft]. I obtained a radar contact from about 45 kilometers range [29nm] and requested a clearance to engage. The GCI took some time to react, but then cleared me when I was having a visual contact — at a range of about 25 kilometers [13.5nm]. At the moment, the bogies stopped closing in: I maintained radar contact with them, and had my R-24R missiles ready to fire, they were almost within the range of my R-24R, but they turned away. Suddenly, the GCI shouted on the radio: “Two bogies at your 6 o’clock!”

‘I turned my head around to check, and surely enough: two F-14s were zooming up, some 1.5-2 kilometres (0.8-1nm) behind us. I ordered my Number 2 into a full afterburner, and broke hard left. My speed was still high as I turned left, nose down, 800-900 km/h [431-495kts], pulling 5-6gs towards the target, intending to force them into failing to track at my 6 o’clock. My reverse maneuver was so hard that my Number 2 overshot, while I reduced the distance between the F-14s behind me to nil. No doubt, the Americans were surprised: they didn’t expect that hard a manoeuvre, and were not ready for my reaction. By the time they woke up, they lost their advantage while my Number 2 turned back and placed himself in an advantageous position behind the Tomcats and me. But, they were highly qualified: they knew what to do.

‘As I continued turning hard towards the two Tomcats, my eyes focused at their rears until I’ve got what I wanted! I noticed the Tomcats shifting outwards, and then I rolled out, pulled my nose hard up, pulling 7gs, with throttle on idle. I executed a high-g barrel roll, during which my speed decreased very fast, down to 350 km/h [189kts]. Then I pushed my throttle to full dry power while my aircraft went through the vertical and pointed at the Tomcats while still inverted. Both Tomcat crews were fantastic: they followed the manoeuvre and we met at the top, within 30 metres (30 yards/98ft) of each other, much too close for comfort!

‘I discontinued the barrel roll and went for scissor maneuver (or low speed yo-yo’): I knew I had the advantage because of MiG-23MLD’s better performance in this position. Thus we began the scissor turns towards each other, at very low speed: this was below 300km/h [160kts], still full dry power, maximum angle of attack. The `stick-shaker’ in my stick began to operate, informing me that my aircraft was at the edge of a stall and spin. I was between two F-14s, only two meters lower, almost line abreast. Our position was equal, except that my Number 2 was behind and above all of us, in a good position to hit the Americans if that would be necessary. Only our controller was screaming on the radio, ordering us to disengage and turn back to base. I replied, “not yet… not at this stage!

‘The F-14 pilots were certainly surprised by the low speed handling and high angle of attack of my MiG-23MLD. And, certainly enough, my speed was meanwhile down to 230 km/h [124kts]! Mind, according to the flight manual, the minimal maneuvering speed for MiG-23MLD with wing position 45 is 450km/h [242kts]!

‘During the second scissor, I noticed that the lead F-14 attempted to engage afterburners. That was a very dangerous undertaking at that speed and attitude: a big white balloon went out of one of his engine nozzles, meaning there was more fuel than air in his combustion chamber. That was a good sign for me: he was facing the risk of an engine surge just to get few extra knots of speed.

‘Now it was the question of one of us forcing the opponent to put his nose down first. At that point in time, I knew the MiG-23MLD had two advantages over the F-14: it is lighter, which means it has less inertia, and its thrust-to-weight ratio is higher. Thus, I continued through the third, and then the fourth scissors. The situation remained very critical: it was really a risky challenge between five men in three aircraft, and until now I have special respect for these F-14-pilots.

‘After the fourth scissor, I got what I want: the Tomcats couldn’t maintain their position anymore and decided to put their noses down. I was as happy as I was never before — but my happiness didn’t last for long. They both made an incredible manoeuvre, which remains in my memory until this very day. Imagine, they put the nose down, right bank with full rudder at very low speed, then turned almost in place, head-on towards me, barely 100 metres [109 yards] away and below my aircraft!

‘I did not take the risk of flying the same manoeuvre, but followed them nevertheless: I pushed my aircraft hard down, picked some speed, then smoothly banked right, and checked my fuel indicator for the first time since start of this engagement. My fuel was down to 1700 litres, which at this distance from Benina was too little. I was in serious trouble now. While still diving, I saw two other F-14s closing at very high speed, coming to support their other pair. They passed about 50 metres below my nose.

‘I called my wingman to rejoin, levelled my aircraft, put the wings into 16 degrees position and turned in direction of my base while maintaining the best cruise speed to extend my range. The Tomcats took the advantage to fly behind me at some distance. Then they turned back before we entered Libyan airspace again. I’ve just had the best dogfight of my life!”

THEN THERE’S THIS

Better luck next time.

THE F-14 IN COMBAT– The comments make this post Epic.Iranian and Iraqi pilots bitching at each other. Don’t flame them, you can’t read or write Farsi.

IRANIAN TOMCATS GET A NEW PAINT JOB.

IRAN VERSUS THE FLYING SAUCERS

FIRST LIVING IRAQ WAR VETERAN WILL RECIEVE THE MEDAL OF HONOR

The White House has announced that former Army Staff Sgt. David G. Bellavia will become the first living Iraq war veteran to be awarded the Medal of Honor. President Trump will present the medal to Bellavia on 25 JUNE in a White House ceremony.

On 10 November, 2004, Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia was serving as a Platoon Leader in Task Force 2-2 of the 1st Infantry Division. While clearing houses in Fallujah, Iraq, his platoon was pinned down by insurgents in another room.

CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE AWARD
OF
THE MEDAL OF HONOR
TO
STAFF SERGEANT DAVID G. BELLAVIA

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3rd, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on November 10, 2004, while serving as squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq.While clearing a house, a squad from Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s platoon became trapped within a room by intense enemy fire coming from a fortified position under the stairs leading to the second floor. Recognizing the immediate severity of the situation, and with disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Bellavia retrieved an automatic weapon and entered the doorway of the house to engage the insurgents.With enemy rounds impacting around him, Staff Sergeant Bellavia fired at the enemy position at a cyclic rate, providing covering fire that allowed the squad to break contact and exit the house.A Bradley Fighting Vehicle was brought forward to suppress the enemy; however, due to high walls surrounding the house, it could not fire directly at the enemy position. Staff Sergeant Bellavia then re-entered the house and again came under intense enemy fire. He observed an enemy insurgent preparing to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at his platoon. Recognizing the grave danger the grenade posed to his fellow soldiers, Staff Sergeant Bellavia assaulted the enemy position, killing one insurgent and wounding another who ran to a different part of the house.Staff Sergeant Bellavia, realizing he had an un-cleared, darkened room to his back, moved to clear it. As he entered, an insurgent came down the stairs firing at him. Simultaneously, the previously wounded insurgent reemerged and engaged Staff Sergeant Bellavia. Staff Sergeant Bellavia, entering further into the darkened room, returned fire and eliminated both insurgents. Staff Sergeant Bellavia then received enemy fire from another insurgent emerging from a closet in the darkened room.Exchanging gunfire, Staff Sergeant Bellavia pursued the enemy up the stairs and eliminated him. Now on the second floor, Staff Sergeant Bellavia moved to a door that opened onto the roof. At this point, a fifth insurgent leapt from the third floor roof onto the second floor roof. Staff Sergeant Bellavia engaged the insurgent through a window, wounding him in the back and legs, and caused him to fall off the roof.Acting on instinct to save the members of his platoon from an imminent threat, Staff Sergeant Bellavia ultimately cleared an entire enemy-filled house, destroyed four insurgents, and badly wounded a fifth. Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s bravery, complete disregard for his own safety, and unselfish and courageous actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.