18 Facts About MiG-21


Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter and interceptor aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.

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MiG-21 jet fighter was a continuation of Soviet jet fighters, starting with the subsonic MiG-15 and MiG-17, and the supersonic MiG-19.

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Development of what would become the MiG-21 began in the early 1950s when Mikoyan OKB finished a preliminary design study for a prototype designated Ye-1 in 1954.

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MiG-21 was the first successful Soviet aircraft combining fighter and interceptor characteristics in a single aircraft.

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Several Russian, Israeli and Romanian firms have begun to offer upgrade packages to MiG-21 operators, designed to bring the aircraft up to a modern standard, with greatly upgraded avionics and armaments.

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In 1964, the MiG-21 became the first supersonic fighter jet to enter service with the IAF.

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In view of the several incidents that have occurred after the 1999 Kargil War, the modernized MiG-21 Bison seems to have at present the role of an interceptor and possibly a limited role of a fighter aircraft.

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Expansion of the IAF MiG-21 fleet marked a developing India-Soviet Union military partnership, which enabled India to field a formidable air force to counter Chinese and Pakistani threats.

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The capabilities of the MiG-21 were put to the test during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

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One MiG-21 was shot down by a Pakistani soldier using a shoulder-fired MANPADS missile during the Kargil war.

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One MiG-21 was shot down on 21 February 1972 by a USAF F-4 Phantom based at Udorn RTAFB, Thailand and piloted by Major Lodge with 1st Lt Roger Locher as his weapon systems officer.

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MiG-21 was used extensively in Middle Eastern conflicts of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s by the Egyptian Air Force, Syrian Air Force and Iraqi Air Force.

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The MiG-21 first encountered Israeli Mirage IIICJs on 14 November 1964, but it was not until 14 July 1966 that the first MiG-21 was shot down.

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Part of the 2019 Western Libya offensive, on 9 April 2019, a Libyan National Army MiG-21 made a low altitude diving rocket attack, probably firing S-24 rockets on Mitiga airport in Tripoli, making limited damages to one of the runways.

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Video evidence confirmed the MiG-21 came under fire from anti-aircraft guns, small arms and two SAMs, one of which apparently hit the target.

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Ethiopian pilots who had flown both the F-5E and the MiG-21 and received training in both the US and the USSR considered the F-5 to be the superior fighter because of its manoeuvrability at low to medium speeds, its superior instrumentation and the fact that it was far easier to fly, allowing the pilot to focus on combat rather than controlling his airplane.

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On 12 June 2017, a MiG-21 crashed in Constanta County, with Adrian Stancu, the pilot, managing to escape in time.

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On 7 July 2018, Florin Rotaru died during an airshow in Borcea with some 3,000 attendants while piloting a MiG-21 that suffered technical difficulties, choosing to deflect the plane and die to protect the attendants rather than ejecting himself in time.

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