Monday, September 21, 2009

Egyptian Air Force's Mig-23 in China.

A newly arrived and poorly maintained Egyptian Air Force Mig-23 is on display in the China Aviation Museum at Xiao Tang Hill, Beijing (here)

In 1983, 6 Mig-23 swing-wing fighters (2 Mig23 MC, 2 Mig-23BN, 2 Mig-23U) and 10 AS-5 missiles were “donated” to the PRC as part of a weapons package worth 60 first-generation J-7B fighters. The Sino-Egyptian military exchange started to take shape after President Anwar Sadat withdrew Egypt from the Soviet-Egyptian treaty commitments and turned to China for weapons and support. (Here) After Hosni Mubarak’s 1983 China visit, production lines of J-6 and J-7 fighters were setup with technical assistance by Chinese technicians. At the same time, Chinese reverse engineers were busy dissecting the Egyptian Mig-23. Those Mig-23s never entered PLAAF service; instead they were used as a model for the next generation of Chinese warplanes; its air intake and RP-22 radar were adapted to the J-8II project and its swing-wing and body became the base of the now abandoned Q-6 attacker.

Due to the close Sino-Egyptian military relationship, China received the AT-3 ATGM and the BMP-1 IFV and reverse engineered them to become the Red Arrow 73 and the Type 86 APC. The PLA was facing 40 Soviet Far-East Divisions during the cold war and the Soviet’s AT-3 ATGM’s impressive performance against Israel during the 1973 war seemed to address the PLA’s anti-armor needs. Throughout much of the 1980s and 90s, the Red Arrow 73 and Type86 would operate side-by-side with China’s Type59B MBT and Type 79 MBT sporting a 105mm Israeli tank gun, Israeli fire control suit and Israeli helmet. Welcome to the bizarre world of the international arms market.

J-8II's Air Intake.

Mig-23's air intake

The abandoned Q-6 Attacker.

Type 79 and the imported CVC helmet.

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