Off Season Action at Kunovice
The 2021 season for outdoor museums in the Czech Republic ended on October 31, but that doesn’t mean the museums are idle.
In my 2021 update post of the Kunovice Air Museum in September, I mentioned that the museum had made an agreement to restore and display a former Czech air force MiG-23 fighter that the Prague based LOM Praha company had on display at their Prague-Malešice facility for many years.
Recently, a crew from the museum went to Prague to dismantle the aircraft and prepare it for transport to Kunovice. December 4 is the sceduled date of transport.
The following is an English translation of the museum’s press release:
Supersonic fighter with variable geometry wing “flies” from Prague to Kunovice
In a very brief period of time, a crew from the Kunovice Air Museum successfully disassembled a MiG-23 MF (NATO codename “Flogger B”) variable geometry wing, supersonic fighter which was located in the area of LOM Praha s.p. They prepared the “Twenty-three”, with hull number 7184, in a short time for land transport from Prague-Malešice to Kunovice. This was possible due to a loan agreement between LOM Praha s.p. and the Kunovice Air Museum which was recently signed by the directors of both institutions, Jiří Protiva and Martin Hrabec.
“It helped us a lot that it was not necessary to dismantle the aircraft into smaller pieces. The carrier, Universal Transport Praha, has agreed to provide us with equipment that will allow the fuselage to be transported as a whole. Thanks to them, we didn’t have to disassemble the aircraft too much.” explains museum director Martin Hrabec.
The transfer of the aircraft is planned for Saturday, December 4. Jiří Tůma describes the action plan from Universal Transport: “We still have to remove the wings and remove the plane from its pedestal before we move it to the transport vehicle. After that, we will set out on a journey to Kunovice.”
“Our thanks go out to the aircraft owner, the state-owned company LOM Praha. Big thanks also go to Universal Transport, who will take care of the transport of the aircraft. Last but not least, the company Hanyš Crane Work, who took care of loading the aircraft and its parts. Without them, this event could not take place.” adds the director of the Kunovice Air Museum.
The MiG-23 MF (fuselage number 7184) will be the first aircraft in the Kunovice Air Museum that belongs to the so-called third generation of fighters, and also the first with variable geometry wings. At the same time, it was an important type of aircraft in the inventory of the former Czechoslovak Air Force. Additionally, it will be the first in the museum to represent the Žatec air base, where the aircraft served in the 11th Fighter Air Regiment.
7184 was the last example of the MiG-23 MF delivered to Czechoslovakia. Together, with two other aircraft, it arrived from the USSR on December 3, 1979. During its active career, it served at bases in Bechyně, České Budějovice and Žatec with the 1st and 11th Fighter Air Regiments, which belonged to the PVOS (State Air Defense) units. The aircraft was retired at the end of June 1994 and has been owned by LOM Praha s.p. since 1996.
The MiG-23 was created in the late 1960s as a successor to the better known MiG-21. In the end, however, both types were produced simultaneously. In the Czech Air Force, the last MiG-21s were retired later than their “successors” due to the challenging maintenance and lower reliability of the structurally complex MiG-23.
The MF version of the MiG-23 ended its Czech Air Force service in 1994, the last MiG-23 versions in Czech service, the BN and ML, were retired from the Czech Air Force in 1998.
You can see a bit of the disassembly work in this gallery the museum posted online.