|MiG-23 MF SK-440 in the current grey scheme at AFTC Jalahalli.|
The most ‘modern’ fighter in AFTC’s collection is a MiG-23 MF fighter, also used as a Ground Instructional Airframe. The MiG-23 MF , SK-440 was in green-brown camoflage till end of 2003. Last flown by Flt Lt RS Jamdar in June 2000, it is believed to have been given to the college at about the same time. The aircraft was first noticed by Ashit Chakraborty and self at AFTC in October 2001, and later photographed by Shekar Rao in 2003.
|The details of the last flight are painted right under the main canopy of MiG-23 MF SK-440. These details have since been obilitrated after it was repainted.|
|The tail fin of MiG-23 MF SK-440 shows details of the rudder and various antennae.|
India acquired 46 MiG-23MFs in the early 80s and raised two Squadrons on this type. Nos 223 and 224. The MFs apparently faced a high attrition rate. One Squadron soon re-equipped with the MiG-29 and only No.224 Squadron was left to soldier on with the MiG-23MF. By 2000, the last year in which SK-440 flew, it must have been in service for nearly 18-20 years. It can be said without doubt that SK-440 served with No.224 ‘War Lords’ Squadron during its final flight.
|BEFORE AND AFTER: The photo on left shows the Green-Brown camoflage scheme SK-440 before its current avatar of grey and black (on Right).|
As with the MiG-21FLs, the MF is also kept as a ground runner – Its engine is serviceable and the aircraft forms one of the tools of instructions for the young engineering officers. As with the C-589, SK-440 lost its interesting Camoflage scheme when it was repainted with the standard Grey paint sometime in 2004/2005.
|Classic head-on view of SK-440 shows the variable sweep wings fully swept back.|
|Starboard three-quarters view of SK-440 stored outside the main hangar today.|