An adept interceptor with fighter capabilities a level above those featured in the MiG-21 preceding it, especially range, the MiG-23 was nicknamed the "Flogger" by NATO for it could easily engage (and down) the best fighters the west had to offer. Like many Soviet fighters, it was developed in a multitude of variants, some of which still serve today. MiG-23s also belong to the elite club of aircraft that have seen continuous combat, and "Floggers" have preyed on MiG-21s, Mirage F1s, Northrop F-5s, F-4 Phantoms, and even several of Iran's fabled F-14 Tomcats (Floggers saw much less success against American F-14s) in the middle eastern theatre. The one time muscle of the entire Soviet Air Defence (SAD) command, the MiG-23 is slowly being phased out of service but still remains in service with many air forces lacking the funds for modern fighters. Several upgrade programmes were offered to remedy this and certain countries may keep their examples in service up until 2015.