Friday, August 17, 2012

Mikoyan Gurevich Ye-152 Flipper

Even as the MiG-21, the Soviets' first Mach 2 interceptor, was nearing service entry, it was apparent that a heavier, more capable aircraft would shortly be needed to meet the threat of new strategic systems entering service with the USAF's Strategic Air Command, and in lesser numbers by RAF Bomber Command. When the MiG-21 had been conceived, the primary threat aircraft were the B-47 Stratojet and early model B-52s, which were  high subsonic aircraft that relied on gravity weapons. But by the late 1950s, SAC was close to bringing into service the AGM-28 Hound Dog cruise missile, which could allow stand off strikes, and the even more formidable Skybolt ALBM was under development. Additionally, the Mach 2 B-58 Hustler was nearing service, and the Mach 3 B-70 Valkyrie was still in the works. The Soviets needed interceptors that could attack these threats as far as possible from target areas, demanding aircraft with a good endurance, large radar, and long range AAMs.
Mikoyan Flipper model photo
Ye-152 Flipper model on display at the Air Force Museum

Using the same basic planform as the much smaller MiG-21, the Ye-150 of 1960 proved to have a very high performance, reaching speeds exceeding Mach 2.6, but the R-15 engine's useful life was so short as to make it virtually useless. The two Ye-152s had the R-15-300, but this was little better.

Actually preceding the R-15 powered aircraft into flight was the Ye-152A, which had an altered rear fuselage design incorporating a pair of R-11 engines. This was shown off to the West at the Aviation Day display at Tushino in 1961, receiving the NATO ASCC codename Flipper. The designation "MiG-23" was bandied about in western circles for a time, until it became evident that development was not proceeding. The prototype Flipper was seen armed with a pair of the large K-9/AA-4 Awl SARH missiles; the K-8/AA-3 Anab was also a potential armament.


"Modern Soviet Aircraft No.5: Mikoyan's Flipper"  John W.R. Taylor  Air Pictorial September 1962  p.280-281

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