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Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 "Fishbed"

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-21), named "Fishbed" by NATO, is a supersonic jet fighter developed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). It was introduced in 1959, and is still being used by many countries to date (2009). In fact, the MiG-21 was used by some 50 countries spread out over 4 continents. The MiG-21 holds the record of the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and the longest production run of a combat aircraft, from 1959-1985.

Technical Description...

Probably the reason for the MiG-21s wide use is its low field costs. There was hardly any maintenance required after a flight so mission after could mission could be flown with little or no maintenance at all. However, the MiGs produced by Russia were of low quality.


The MiG-21 had a delta wing. The sweep angle of the leading edge is 57 degrees. The angle of incidence is 0 degrees. The dihedral angle is -2 degrees.


The MiG-21s fuselage is semi-monocoque with an elliptical profile. The air intake has a cone that regulates the air flow to the engine, and it is three-staged up until the MiG-21PF. When the MiG-21 reaches speeds of Mach 1.5 to Mach 1.9, it is in the middle position and as the speed goes over 1.9, it is in the maximum forward position. Both sides of the nose have gills that supply the engines with more air while in the ground. The pitot tube is located on the bottom of the nose, but after the MiG-21P and every other version after that, it is located on the top of the air intake. There are three air brakes on the bottom of the plane. However, when there is an external fuel tank, the last air brake can't be used. Behind the brakes are the bays for the main landing gear. Under the fuselage, just behind the trailing edge of the wing, 2 Jet-fuel Assisted Take Off (J.A.T.O.) rockets can be attached.

The MiG-21 has a tricycle type undercarriage with a nose gear.