F-14 Tomcat vs MiG-23 Dogfight

On January 4, 1989, near the Libya coast, Two F-14s from the USS John F. Kennedy are alerted to a pair of Libyan MiG-23 Floggers. The MiG-23s had taken off from Al Bumbaw Airfield near Tobruk. The F-14 Tomcats locked the MiGs with their powerful AWG radar. Normally such a radar lock resulted in the MiGs retreating back to Libya, not this time. The Tomcats were threatened by AA-7 Apex missiles and were cleared to engage the MiGs. During a lengthy six to eight minute air battle, the MiGs continued to threaten the Tomcats and finally, after several attempts to evade the MiG radar threat, the incoming pair of MiG-23s were declared hostile and the F-14 crews were cleared to engage. The crew of the lead F-14A, fired an AIM-7 Sparrow missile which did not stike its target, while the second F-14A AIM-7 missile found its target, destroying one of the MiG-23s. The lead F-14 re-engaged the remaining MiG-23 firing an AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missile which detonated in the tailpipe of the MiG. Both MiG-23 pilots ejected safely from their destroyed jets. No future Libya MiG-23s ever engaged another U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat.

The Northrop Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a Navy long-range fighter interceptor and served the Navy well from 1974 - 2006, as a air superiority fighter. The F-14 Tomcat was retired by the Navy in December, 2006, and the F-18 Super Hornet is filling it's shoes today.

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Author hamdi said (2 months)

Author Tom Wolfe (3 months)
Reading some of the comments below, there's quite a bit of bad info out
there. The F-14 was designed to defend carriers from Russian bombers. It
was huge, extremely fast and had the hottest RX ever equipped to a fighter.
The AIM-54 was a bit of overkill. It stretched the range out to the point
of being ridiculous. Adding the E2c and the integrated Aegis network made
the multiple layers of defenses almost silly. There was no one with the
capability to penetrate even the outer periphery with attack aircraft. The
aim-54 was about to be upgraded when the last reasonable threat dissolved.
The Tomcat bit the dust soon after as it's origional mission was no longer
a likely senario.
The Russian plan was to nuke the carrier groups at the outset so, the fear
of bears and badgers launching a barrage of alcm's from 200 nm at american
carriers was never really a true possibility. Either way, the Korean War
style dogfights everyone imagines were never going to happen. The Russians
bet everything on acrobatics and airframes. The US bet on radar, superior
intercepting missiles and overlapping systems. 

Author Robert Black (2 months)
BTW, the F-14 Tomcat was designed in the 1960's, and first flew in 1970, so
yes, by now it would be 44 yrs old. The last one was made (according to
wikipedia) in 1991. Certainly, with equal pilots, such an old warplane
would be outclassed by a modern plane, even the Soviet Mig-31. However,
pilots are NOT equal, and US, UK, and Israeli pilots get much better
training than those from most countries using Russian hardware.

Author craig christon (5 months)
This was a different time for the United States. We had leadership both in
the White House and the military. The F-14, and the pilots were second to
no one, especially the Jolly Rogers Squadron. The F-14 could track 14
SU-23s at the same time. The US is the joke of the World now because of
the Food Stamp Golfer-In-Chief, in the White House

Author mdkefren (1 day)
U.S. beats russian crap once again!

Author Aivar Krisenko (1 month)
The Migs in this video have the markings of the SovieT Air Force, not
Lybian. Secondly, the F-14 was a great figher-interceptor with its powerful
radar & Phoenix missile ( which was never tested in real training or combat
btw because it was too expensive at over 1 mil apiece ) but not a true dog
figher. In any real dog fight scenario it would loose to more maneurable
opponent, it was simply not designed for this type of combat. Tom Wolfe, as
far as nobody able to penetrate the outer perimeter of the carrier battle
group defences. You can tell this story to the pilots of the Russian AF who
overflew the Kitty Hawk & it's escorts in the fall of 2002 in the West Pac
& then emailed the pictures of its deck crew to its captain. That would
make them laugh. I also know of several similar incidents from my friends
that served in the US Navy ( most notably on the USS Enterprise ) that were
never mentioned in the US media. You can also see Norman Polmar's comments
on this subject. After all, the carrier lobby in the US Navy is very
strong. Thirdly during NATO Northern Wedding 1999 exercices the Dutch disel
sub Walrus had "sunk" US carrier Theodore Roosevelt & 7 of its escorts
without getting detected. That tells you how "formidable" sometime the
carrier's outer ( AAW & ASW ) defences are. They are fine if you go to
fight someone like Iraq or North Korea. But in the peer-to-peer fighting
scenario all those big floating ships would not fare very well my friend.
Especially against hypersonic ( Mach 5 & up ) anti-ship missiles. 

Author Lumotaku (11 months)
The F 22 replaced the Tomcat??? Really. Try F 18 super hornet.

Author Mike383HK (7 days)
Machined parts, built them, and repaired parts for them. The fastest, most
heavily armed and overbuilt fighter plane ever. Downside was 40 to 1
maintenance to flight time and very expensive to build. Radar was powerful
but needed a lot of maintenance. A lot of titanium for structure, armor and
lower skins. EB welded skins. Just incredible technology at the time. I
think they were about 40 million or more by the time they were
discontinued. A beautiful plane and an honor to have been part of it's
history. I used to love seeing them take off from Bethpage and climb
straight up, go out to sea, hit the afterburners and be in Calverton in a
few minutes. Incredible!!
I will never forget it!!!

Author Cody Maranto (2 days)
The F14 is the best Plane the Navy ever had,now and forever. That F18 isn't
nothing in comparison,the F4 Phantom II has better thrusters. The F14
exceeds the speed of the F18 by about 520 mph!

Author Wassup Waddup (18 days)
It was an easy kill against Libya but against a real Russian would be

Author Craig Manning (2 days)
Who filmed this?

Author Markus Marchase (7 months)
The Russian MiGs are very clunky and very unmanageable even though its a
jet...Thats why our american mid 50s-to now our jets have always been

Author joe0813 (10 months)

Author rossmum (21 day)
Two of the most beautiful and impressive aircraft of their era.

Author Gökhan YILDIZ (3 months)
Sorry but, there are a lot of silly commments here.
Yes, maybe F-14's radar can engage Russian jets earlier.
But, F-14 has long range effective misseles?
Will it hit the Russian warplanes by Tomahawk? :))))))

Author Doku Pol (17 days)
Iranian Air Force is the only one Mig Killer with F-14 Tomcat in the
World!. in 8 Years War with Irak over 100 Kills! MIG21 MIG23 MIG 25 and
Mirage Fc1 from France.

Author Buzzbox3rd (20 days)
Excellent composure under great pressure , good on these boys and the U.S.
Navy , they do a fantastic job.

Author Sportwing1800 (26 days)
So, I've been watching some old Filmation He-man and I swear the announcer
sounds like the voice of Adam.

Author JENS DAEMS (1 month)
The ghosrider squad exists, awsome

Author jeff nicholls (3 months)
I have the full dvd that this came from documenting the engagement ..the
footage is put together for visual effect to accompany the radio recording
of the event ...the opening sequence in the motion picture Top Gun with the
dog fight (although very exagerated ) and the migs were F5s was supposed to
represent this encounter with the migs

Author YWKMNITLWILMVAT (2 months)
People. The F18 had been around for years when this incident happened.
You're arguments over "Soviet VS US" seams kinda silly to me. Firstly, yes,
the USSR has a long history of dumping their junk on smaller and dumber
countries who hate the US. And it's NOT a dumb strategy either as slugging
it out with these smaller dictatorships can weigh us down and hurt us
financially as we have all felt very heavily since 9/11. This incident DOES
NOT prove that US aircraft are better or that Russian aircraft are. All it
proves is that the Libyans were being idiots.

Secondly, just because the US has historically been successful against the
MiG 29 does not mean it's an impotent fighter aircraft. It means the pilots
we've been up against had inferior training and poor support. US pilots who
have fought against MiG 29s in real combat as well as those who've trained
against well trained and skilled German pilots all agree and have allot of
respect for the aircraft.

Save for the new raptors, I don't think US and Russian aircraft really
have a clear overall superiority over one or the other. Each fighter is
good for different things and; as is usually the case in war, superiority
in the real world comes down to numbers, skill and experience of the pilots
and how well the forces involved integrate and play their cards. Need an
example? Who made the biggest and baddest tanks in WW II? Who Lost WW II?

Author Fitzliputzli23 (3 months)
All this arguing about what jet is "newer" and thus "better" than the other
is childish bullshit. The actual age of a fighter is totally overestimated.
Much more crucial ist the supporting awacs system, the skills of the crew,
their well trained teamwork and finally what the fighters are equipped
with. Of course you can equip an old jet like F4 Phantom or MIG 21 with
modern radar systems and long range AA-missles turning it into a serious
thread for modern fighters.

Author cbhooi330 (4 months)
I like to play the Tomcat F14 VIDEO GAME in my childhhod in the 60an .I saw
this in the dream .
The Tomcat dog fighter was too superior compare to the MIG 23 bomber .
However I believe the MIG 23 can took down the Tomcat F14 if armed with the
Advance Optical missile .

Author mehrdade (2 days)
I read the Tom Copper book on Iranian F-14 in action many years ago.
However I knew about the success of F-14 in combat back in 1980. I had a
contact with a high ranking Iranian air force officer who explained to me
how the Iraq pilots were disengage anytime an F-14 was in the operation
he told me an engagement over Bobian island that end-up with loses of seven
Iraqis Mg 21 and F-1 mirage by two F-14 tomcats.
This engagement was kept secret for two reasons. First, the Bobian Island
belongs to Kuwait and not Iraq. Second, Iranians were not sure if the
planes, specially the F-1 mirage were iraqi’s fighter jets. Some of the
shoot down jets could have been kuwait’s planes
it is astonishing to me how F-14 combat effectiveness has been down played,
which led to the retirement of this great plane and being replaced with a
less effective F-18 super hornet.
back in 1979 the major concern over F-14 was its extremely high maintenance
cost. this might have been the decisive factor for retiring F-14. but
this is not an excuse to cover up a F-14 successes and all negative
publicities on F-14 and its AIM-54 Phoenix missiles 

Author Dominik MJ (5 months)
+Abreu Fernando Not sure what you mean... the F-14 was ruling the skies in
the mid 70's to the 90's.
The Su-27 was only introduced mid 80's - 10 years after the F-14.
And the original Su-27 wasn't that advanced - especially if it comes to
The Mig-29 had to be lucky to stay in a dogfight in the air - might be the
plane with the shortest ability to dogfight [ca. 15 min combat]. Other than
that, it is a class behind [more a match to the F-16 and original F-18].
Anyway - variants of the Flanker, were introduced only after the
millennium... when the US Tomcat was almost [or already] retired. Nowadays
only the Iran has a couple of more or less operational F-14's.
Even though, the Mig-23 were just lucky, that the Tomcats just came close
enough... the Phoenix missile is definitely right out of their radar
Not sure, why the Migs didn't used flares and chaffs, though...!?

Author djuro mico (27 days)
Ovo je priča za male bebe!!!!

Author 22steve5150 (5 months)
by the way for those who try to disparage the aircraft by saying that it
was US pilots versus non-russian pilots flying export models of the Mig-23
and therefore not a fair fight, note that Iranian pilots flying export
model F-14's downed 50 Iraqi fighters to the loss of one Tomcat early in
the Iran-Iraq war, and in the later stages of the war the Iraqi air force
refused to engage Tomcats any longer unless they outnumbered them. In
total Iranian F-14's shot down 160 Iraqi aircraft in the war, including 58
MiG-23s, 23 MiG-21s, nine MiG-25s, 33 Dassault Mirage F1s, 23 Su-17s, one
Mil Mi-24, five Tu-22s, two MiG-27s, one Dassault Mirage 5, one B-6D, one
Aérospatiale Super Frelon, and two unknown aircraft.

Author TheKeithvidz (7 months)
the libyans lost because Ghadaffi would not professionalize teh military
for fear of a coup. Look at the Chad war. The F14 were not up against real
pilots. One tactic i would have is terrain masking, get up close and loose
a missile.

Author Kenneth Combs (9 days)
This is a very cool video.

Author Nick G (2 months)
only thing missing on the usa air craft was the Swastika . they copy the
German Fascists very well.

Author Harlequin43 (3 months)
So where's the dogfight?

Author Daniel Monette (1 month)
I enjoy Dr. Pepper.

Author un briar (3 months)
haha 1989! they didn't even have cell phones back then. people had to drop
a bag of nickels to make a pay phone call. mtv barely had yo mtv raps and
no one knew what the hell hip hop was back then

Author breckandy (8 months)
From what I understand, Iran has many of them. and has been successfully
been buying parts from us.

Author Chris Morton (6 months)
Im amazed at the ignorance of so many of the comments on this video...Most
of obviously dont read or even read Tom Clancy novels...if you
would not make such uniformed comments about aircraft and weapons you have
never seen, touched, or read about beyond what you may have seen in Ace
Combat 27 or Hawx...get a copy of F 15 Strike Eagle 1, 2 or 3...or Falcon
3.0 PC based air combat sims...or just read Tom Clancy's book..Air
Wing...or even Red Storm Rising...his second novel...You'll
be embarrassed by the ignorance of your comments...

Author babalooey100 (3 months)
There was no declaration of war. They murdered a pair of Libyan pilots on
air patrol.

Author EnhanceRaptor (1 month)
Well done, Baby.

Author Abreu Fernando (8 months)
I have no time to research about if the related event is true or not, but
supposing it's true, i can say that those F-14 got lucky to face 2 old
Mig... if those were Mig 29 or SU (27, 30 or 35) the end of video would be
inverted for sure... no chance for F-14... of course the video above is a
sequence of videos composed only to ilustrate the narrative of event...
that's it... ;-)

Author Joe Guichon (9 months)
How would you get footage of the MIGs? They probably wouldn't let a camera
man take that footage even with the Tom Cats.

Author Mark C (3 months)
I hear isis are training up.pilots for a few captured mig 23 from the dis
gruntled iraqi army of saddams forces that were russain trained. Isay dis
gruntled because they were made reduntant by america and britain after the
gulf 2. War. Looking back removing saddam was a bad move its turned that
country into a mess. He may of been a fucker but nobody fucked around in
his back yard. Well in theory american jets would mop the floor with them.
But if the american amd british jets are carryjng bombs only and the mig is
rigged for an air combat mission they coukd cause a problem. 

Author Angel Rosario (3 months)
All good statements. At the end of the day technology will only get you so
far. Its up to the individual aviator to make the best use of his equipment
and acquired training.

Author Christian Truth (2 months)
5:58 thats a mig 15 not a mig23 propaganda fail

Author kenns9 (1 month)
so the migs fired first?

Author Angel Lichev (1 month)
Ridiculous video.

Author Robert Black (4 months)
No kidding. Almost any modern fighter would outclass the 50-yr old F-14. A
better test against the SU35 would be the F-22 or YF-23, the plane that
"lost" the fly-off for the USAF stealth fighter.

Author Dipankar Biswas (3 months)
russia is best and russian fighter are also best

Author Amirhossein Beheshti (4 months)
All I can say as an Iranian, we owe our country to F-14 and AIM-54 although
you guys don't believe it and persist to deny how great they were. in that
8 years period of Iran-Iraq war Russians couldn't give Saddam anything to
beat F-14 so they got highest tech fighter Mirage F-1 from France and still
couldn't do anything that great. the only thing stopping Iranian F-14 to do
better was that there was no technical support from states. imagine 8 years
eroding war and newer and newer tech supports from all over world for
Saddam and (no wonder) with no tech support from states for Iran, F-14 were
ruling in sky. what a shame that in Persian gulf war Iraqi pilots never
dared to engage the American F-14 to let the Americans know what a legend
they had made. 

Author Holly Wood (6 months)
Shouldn't have had any BUSINESS near or around Libya! The Libyans saw the
US as a threat as well, and they're at home for gosh sake? There was far
much more gained when to of our own planes devastated an entire city - so,
instead of a stalemate situation an emotional adolescent decision is made
to go to War. Ya, brilliant - not...

Author nasch assur (1 month)
Isso é cena de topgam

Author 大久保みほ (3 months)

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