YouTube – MiG-21
1 x 30 mm
51 ft. 9 in.
23 ft. 6 in.
The MiG-21 produced by Mikoyan-Gurevich is the world’s most produced supersonic jet fighter with over 11,500 of all types built.
The origins of the MiG-21 can be traced back to the experiences of Russian jet aircraft over Korea. Although maneuverability was still an important attribute in a fighter aircraft, so was the need for speed and climb performance. With that in mind, engineers designed the airplane to fly at almost 1,400 MPH and climb at 58,000 feet per minute.
The greatest shortcoming of the first production aircraft were their relatively short range. The model F added a 108 gallon center line drop tank in recognition of the problem. Other upgrades included a redesigned forward fuselage to accommodate more powerful radars and a more efficient and powerful engine. In 1959 a modified MiG-21, the Ye-66, set a speed record of 1,484 mph. The MiG-21 soon became a pilot favorite. It was sold to Soviet allies throughout the world.
Czechoslovakia and India produced it under a license agreement with the Soviet Union. China reverse engineered a copy that they manufactured.
During the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, Indian Air Force MiG-21 aircraft downed eight Pakistan Air Force aircraft, with no loses. During the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1972 the North Vietnamese Air Force claims 56 U.S. aircraft downed vs. U.S.A.F. claims of 92 MiG-21 aircraft downed in air to air combat.
In various conflicts ranging from 1960 to 1980 between Egypt, Iraq and Syria against the Israeli Air Force, MiG-21 aircraft were generally outclassed by more advanced Israeli aircraft and had heavy losses.
During the Iran – Iraq War from 1980 to 1988, Iraqi MiG-21 aircraft had 43 air to air victories against Iranian fighters while losing 49 of their own aircraft
Since 2012, Syrian Air Force MiG-21 aircraft have been used for ground attack against insurgents.
MiG-21 aircraft have had a long service career and are still being flown by a number of nations around the world.