Two Cold War-Era MiG-23 fighter jets have already been brought to a hangar near the East Texas Regional Airport to be overhauled and restored for future flights.
The MiG-23s are just a few of 15 Floggers that were in storage in Borger, Texas, a city in the Texas Panhandle. They arrived at their destination after a seven-hour drive.
Dan Filer, with Unknown Aircraft Company, explained to KLTV that “These two were used in the Polish Air Force. The other one that I have here at the airport was used in the former Czech Republic. We have a total of eight airplanes that will be up and flying over the next few years. We are starting with these two right here. We have two more in Lakeland, Florida that we are doing the same thing. We built new maintenance hangars and doing a overall on them. So they are coming to an air show near you.” He also added that there is another one they own at a hangar in Gregg County that is flyable.
After they put some fuel in the MiG-23s and their engines fired up with no problems after being in storage for so long, they have been encouraged to restore the aircraft Filer explains. They will be opening up other panels and going more in-depth on the planes. He said they are hoping to have both of the Floggers up and flying again by next year.
The MiG-23 had its maiden flight on Jun. 10, 1967, and on Jul. 9 it was unveiled to the public at the Domodedovo airshow. The Flogger was designed to replace the widely-used MiG-21.
The MiG-23’s advanced radar and fire control system could fire missiles at targets beyond visual range. Variable “swing” wing geometry, similar to that of the General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark, and robust landing gear allowed the MiG-23 to operate from short, remote runways. The pilot could select the wing sweep for low-speed take-off and landing or for supersonic flight.
The US Air Force’s 4477th Test Squadron, the “Red Eagles,” flew several MiG-23s during Project Constant Peg. This highly classified program provided USAF, Navy, and Marine Corps fighter pilots with realistic combat training against then state-of-the-art Soviet technology.
Photo credit: CIA and Mark Ruff via KLTV