Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (NATO reporting name Fishbed) is a fighter aircraft, originally built by the Mikoyan and Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.
It is the most common post-World War II aircraft, with the exception of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

The MiG-21 saw frequent action in the Vietnam War and was one of the most advanced aircraft at the time.
However, many North Vietnamese aces preferred flying the MiG-19, due to the wingload on the MiG-21's wings. Employing a delta wing configuration, it was the first successful Soviet aircraft combining fighter and interceptor in a single aircraft.

It was a lightweight fighter, achieving Mach 2 speed using a relatively low-powered afterburning turbojet, and is thus comparable to the American F-104 Starfighter and French Dassault Mirage III.

It was also used extensively in Middle East conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s, by the air forces of Egypt, Syria and Iraq against Israel. It was used also in early stages of the wars in Afghanistan but soon outclassed by the newer MiG-23 and MiG-27.

The first prototype (called Ye-4, written E-4) flew in 14 June 1956, entering service in 1958.

Development

The first generation of MiG jet fighters was based on designs similar to late-WWII German jet designs, starting with the subsonic MiG-15, MiG-17, and the low supersonic swept-wing MiG-19. A number of experimental Mach 2 Soviet designs were based on nose intakes with either swept-back wings, such as the Sukhoi Su-7, or tailed delta wings, of which the MiG-21 would be the most successful.

The E-5 prototype of the MiG-21 was first flown in 1955 and made its first public appearance during the Soviet Aviation Day display at Moscow's Tushino Airport in June 1956. The first delta-wing prototype, named "Ye-4", (also written as "E-4") flew on 14 June 1956, and the production MiG-21 entered service in early 1959. Employing a delta-wing configuration, the MiG-21 was the first successful Soviet aircraft combining fighter and interceptor characteristics in a single aircraft. It was a lightweight fighter, achieving Mach 2 speed using a relatively low-powered afterburning turbojet, and is thus comparable to the American F-104 Starfighter and French Dassault Mirage III.

When the MiG-21 was first introduced, it exhibited several flaws. Its early version air-to-air missiles, the Vympel K-13 (NATO reporting name AA-2 'Atoll'), were not successful in combat, and its gyro gunsight was easily thrown off in high-speed maneuvers, making the initial version of the MiG-21 an ineffective aircraft. These problems were remedied, and during the Middle Eastern and Vietnam wars, the MiG-21 proved to be an effective aircraft. Subsequent MiG-21 models added design modifications to incorporate lessons learned in these wars.



Our museum aircraft

For a long time we've had the wish to have a MiG 21 in our museum, so that the former enemies of the Cold War (Starfighter and MiG 21) can be admired in peaceful togetherness now. Our MiG 21 is a present of the Hungarian Airforce to our museum. We were very delighted to learn that this aircraft was one of the four machines of the Hungarian Aerobatics Team "Hungarian Sky Hussars". In 1993 they flew an excellent display in Fairford, England. Here you can see a short film in which you can also discover our museum aircraft: Film (found at Patrick's Aviation).