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The Mikoyan MiG-27 (Russian: Микоян МиГ-27; NATO reporting name: Flogger-D/J) is a variable-geometry ground-attack aircraft, originally built by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau in the Soviet Union and later licence-produced in India by Hindustan Aeronautics as the Bahadur ("Valiant"). It is based on the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 fighter aircraft, but optimised for air-to-ground attack. Unlike the MiG-23, the MiG-27 did not have widespread use outside Russia, as most countries opted for the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23BN and Sukhoi Su-22 instead. It remains in service with the Indian, Kazakh and Sri Lankan Air Forces in the ground attack role. All Russian and Ukrainian MiG-27s have been retired.

MiG-27 (cropped).jpg
A MiG-27 of the Soviet Air Forces
Role Ground-attack aircraft
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Mikoyan-Gurevich / Mikoyan
First flight 20 August 1970
Introduction 1975
Status In service
Primary users Soviet Air Forces (historical)
Russian Air Force (retired)
Indian Air Force
Kazakh Air Force
Produced 1970–1986
Number built 1,075 including licensed production[1]
Developed from Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23

The MiG-27 is a minor exception (along with the Sukhoi Su-25) to the convention that Soviet/Russian attack aircraft are designated with even numbers.


Design and developmentEdit

Optical windows of the laser-television sighting system Kayra-23 MiG-27K (kayra [кайра] is Russian for guillemot). Bottom box under the TV channel with a laser rangefinder-designator, the top receiver for a laser rangefinder

The MiG-27 shares the basic airframe of the MiG-23, but with a revised nose – nicknamed "Utkonos" ("Platypus") in Russian service, first introduced on the MiG-23B. Dissatisfaction with the MiG-23BN led to the further development of the basic airframe to accommodate a stronger undercarriage, simpler intakes and a shorter exhaust nozzle,[2] without radar in favor of a downward-sloping profile for improved pilot visibility,[3] a laser rangefinder and marked-target seeker.[4] Among its test pilots, it was also called "Balkon" ("Balcony") because of the increased frontal view from the cockpit. Additional cockpit armor was installed, along with a totally new nav/attack system.

Since the MiG-27 was intended to fly most of its missions at low altitude, the MiG-23's variable intake ramps and exhaust nozzles were discarded in favor of a simpler fixed configuration, reducing weight and maintenance requirements. The aircraft also has larger, heavy-duty landing gear to facilitate operation from poorer-quality airfields. In accordance with the MiG-27's strike and low-level attack requirements, provisions were made to mount missiles and precision-guided munitions, as well as retaining a nuclear capability in line with other Soviet combat aircraft by introducing specialized navigation systems.[4]

Operational historyEdit

Soviet forces used the MiG-27 during the later stages of the Afghanistan conflict in 1987–89.

Although several Western observers considered the MiG-27 widely exported, confusing it with the MiG-23BN, the aircraft type was only exported to India and Sri Lanka which also utilized the MiG-27 in regional conflicts.[4]

Sri LankaEdit

Sri Lanka Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27M

MiG-27 aircraft entered service with the Sri Lanka Air Force in 2000. During the Sri Lankan Civil War, they saw considerable action bombing targets and providing close air support. In August 2000, a MiG-27 crashed near Colombo International Airport, killing its Ukrainian pilot. In July 2001, a second MiG-27 was destroyed and another damaged on the ground during an assault on the same air force base by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. A MiG-27 crashed into the sea near the airport in June 2004. Another MiG-27 fighter jet crashed on a routine training mission on 13 February 2012 near the Dummalasuriya area at around 1.35 pm. The pilot managed to eject from the jet without sustaining injuries.[5]


On 27 May 1999, during the Kargil War, one Indian MiG-27 was shot down by MANPAD missiles MiG-21 while attacking the Pakistan Army Positions in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Kashmir region.[6]

Since 2001, the Indian Air Force has lost more than 12 MiG-27s to crashes.[7] In mid-February 2010, India grounded its entire fleet of over 150 of the aircraft after a MiG-27 crashed on 16 February 2010 in Siliguri, West Bengal. The crash was attributed to defects in the R-29 engines of the aircraft, suspected to have occurred during the overhauling of the aircraft by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Another MiG-27 crashed in the Barmer area on 27 January 2015.[8][9]

India retired the last MiG-27ML squadron on 29 December 2017.[10] Two Squadrons [11] based in Jodhpur continue to fly on upgraded MiG-27UPG.


12 MiG-27 remains in service with the Kazakh Air Force.



The first Flogger attack variant was powered by the AL-21F. Only 24 were produced, due a lack of engines (the AL-21F was destined for the Sukhoi Su-17/22 and the Su-24 Fencer). It was armed with the GSh-23L cannon, carrying 200 rounds.


Derived from the MiG-23B, but powered by the R29B-300 engine. This gave the advantage of making this variant exportable (the AL-21F was a restricted engine at the time, unlike the R29B-300). The R29B-300 also offered commonality with the MiG-23MS and MiG-23MF fighter variants already sold to the rest of world. It was armed with the GSh-23L cannon, with 200 rounds.

MiG-27 (MiG-23BM)

This was the first in the MiG-27 family to have a canopy without the central frame, suggesting that the ejection seat was designed to directly break through the transparency. The dielectric head above the pylon on the MiG-23 was used on the MiG-27 to house electro-optical and radio-frequency gear instead. It was also the first variant armed with a Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-6-30M Gatling gun. Its NATO reporting name was Flogger-D.


NATO reporting name: Flogger-J2. The MiG-27K was most advanced Soviet variant, with a laser designator and compatibility with TV-guided electro-optical weapons. It carried the GSh-6-30 cannon. Around 200 were built.


NATO reporting name: Flogger-J. This model was a cheaper variant than the MiG-27K, but much better than the MiG-23B, MiG-23BN, and MiG-27 (MiG-23BM), with the electro-optical and radio-frequency heads above the glove pylons deleted. It was first armed with the GSh-6-23M Gatling gun, but this was later replaced by a new 30 mm GSh-6-30 six-barrel cannon with 260 rounds of ammunition in a fuselage gondola. It also received much-improved electronic countermeasure (ECM) systems, and a new PrNK-23K nav/attack system providing automatic flight control, gun firing, and weapons release. However, this modification was not very successful because of the heavy recoil from the new cannon, and bursts longer than two or three seconds often led to permanent damage to the airframe. Test pilot V. N. Kondaurov described the first firing of the GSh-6-30А:[need quotation to verify] "As I imposed the central mark on the air target and pressed the trigger to shoot, I heard such noise that I involuntarily drew my hand aside. The whole plane began to vibrate from the shooting and had almost stopped from the strong recoil of the gun. The pilotless target, which was just making a turn ahead of me, was literally disintegrating into pieces. I have hardly come to my senses from unexpectedness and admiration: This is a calibre! Such a beast! If you hit something — it will be plenty enough [to wipe it out]". A total of 200 MiG-27Ms were built from 1978 to 1983, plus 160 for India, and it is currently in service with the Sri Lanka Air Force.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27D

All MiG-27D are MiG-27s (MiG-23BMs) upgraded to MiG-27M standard. It is very difficult to distinguish from the MiG-27M. 305 were upgraded.


This was an export variant of the MiG-27M provided in 1986 to India in knock-down kits for license-assembly. It was the same as the MiG-27M, except the undernose fairing for the infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor had a single window instead of several, like the one on the original MiG-27M. A total of 150 were assembled by India. India refers to this model as the MiG-27M Bahadur, while MiG-27L is the Mikoyan export designation.[2]

MiG-27H[clarification needed]

This was a 1988 indigenous Indian upgrade of its license-assembled MiG-27L with French avionics, which provides the same level of performance, but with much reduced size and weight. The capabilities of the aircraft are being enhanced by the incorporation of modern avionics systems consisting primarily of two Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) Mission and Display Processor (MDP), Sextant Ring Laser Gyros (RLG INSI), combined GPS/GLONASS navigation, HUD with UFCP, Digital Map Generator (DMG), jam-resistant Secured Communication, stand-by UHF communication, data link and a comprehensive Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite. A mission planning and retrieval facility, VTR and HUD Camera will also be fitted. The aircraft retains stand-by (conventional) instrumentation, including artificial horizon, altimeter and airspeed indicator, to cater for the failure of HUD and the MFDs. The MiG-27s are also being equipped with the French Agave or Russian Komar radar. The installation of the radar would give the MiG-27 anti-ship and some air-to-air capability. It is expected that at least 140 of the 180 aircraft will be converted from MiG-27MLs.


Operators of the MiG-27 in blue (former operators in red).
Upgraded MiG-27 at Indian Air force Base camp.
  • Indian Air Force 165 MiG-27Ms licensed built by HAL. Total 86 Upgraded MiG-27ML active as of 2019.[12]

Former operatorsEdit

  Soviet Union
  Sri Lanka

Specifications (MiG-27K)Edit


Data from,[14][15]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 17.08 m (56 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 13.97 m (45 ft 10 in) wings spread
7.78 m (26 ft) wings swept
  • Height: 5 m (16 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 37.35 m2 (402.0 sq ft) wings spread
34.16 m2 (368 sq ft) wings swept
  • Airfoil: root: TsAGI SR-12S (6.5%) ; tip: TsAGI SR-12S (5.5%)[16]
  • Empty weight: 11,908 kg (26,253 lb)
  • Gross weight: 20,300 kg (44,754 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 20,670 kg (45,570 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Tumansky R-29-B-300 afterburning turbojet, 78.5 kN (17,600 lbf) thrust dry, 112.8 kN (25,400 lbf) with afterburner


  • Maximum speed: 1,885 km/h (1,171 mph, 1,018 kn) / M1.5 at 8,000 m (26,247 ft)
1,350 km/h (840 mph; 730 kn) / M1.09 at sea level
  • Combat range: 780 km (480 mi, 420 nmi)
540 km (340 mi; 290 nmi) with two Kh-29 missiles and three drop tanks
225 km (140 mi; 121 nmi) with two Kh-29 missiles and no external fuel
  • Ferry range: 2,500 km (1,600 mi, 1,300 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 14,000 m (46,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 200 m/s (39,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 605 kg/m2 (124 lb/sq ft)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.62


See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "MiG-27 Flogger/Q-6." Global security. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Frawley 1996, p. 115
  3. ^ "Mig-27 fighter bomber, Flogger, Russia, Soviet Union". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Winchester 2006, p. 169.
  5. ^ Labenskyj, Nicholas. "Sri Lanka To Buy MiG Aircraft From Ukraine." kievukraine, 11 December 2006. Retrieved: 18 October 2009. On 13 February 2012 a Mig 27 crashed in Hevana area without injuries.
  6. ^ "1999 Kargil Conflict." Global Security. Retrieved: 18 October 2009.
  7. ^ "India grounds MiG-27 fleet for investigation after crash." Rian, 24 February 2010, Retrieved: 28 February 2010.
  8. ^ "
  9. ^ "After fatal crash, Indian Air Force grounds 100 MiG-27s.", 23 February 2010, Retrieved: 23 February 2010.
  10. ^ "IAF bid farewell to MiG-27 ML Bahadur as India retires the strike aircraft".
  11. ^ "The Indian Air Force's Declining Squadron Strength – Options and Challenges".
  12. ^ List of active Indian military aircraft
  13. ^ "Міністерство". Міністерство оборони України. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  14. ^ [1] MiG-27K specs. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.


  • Eden, Paul, ed. "Mikoyan MiG-27". Encyclopedia of Modern Military Aircraft. London: Amber Books, 2004. ISBN 1-904687-84-9.
  • Frawley, Gerard and Jim Thorn. "Mikoyan MiG-27." The International Directory Of Military Aircraft 1996/97. Weston Creek, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd, 1996. ISBN 1-875671-20-X.
  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. The Great Book of Fighters. St. Paul, Minnesota, USA: Motorbooks International Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-7603-1194-3.
  • Wilson, Stewart. Combat Aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications, 2000. ISBN 1-875671-50-1.
  • Winchester, Jim, ed. "Mikoyan MiG-27 'Flogger d/J'." Military Aircraft of the Cold War (The Aviation Factfile). London: Grange Books plc, 2006. ISBN 1-84013-929-3.

External linksEdit