Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 / I-310
Aero Vodochody S-103
Aero Vodochody CS-102
The I-310(S) was designed to meet a March 1946 requirement for a high-altitude day interceptor. The Mikoyan/Gurevich, Lavochkin and Yakovlev design bureau competed for the production contract, striving to meet the specification of a Mach 0.9 top speed, high rate of climb to 10000 m (32800 ft), good manoeuvrability at this height and above, a minimum of one hour's duration and cannon armament, combined with simplicity of design and operation.
The need for a near-sonic speed demanded the adoption of wing sweep, and the design team was able to draw on the expertise of Gurevich himself, in addition to other work carried out by Russian and German engineers. A swept-forward wing layout was examined but discarded in favour of the swept back solution. The aircraft was designed around the RD-10A turbojet of 1000 kg (2205 lb) thrust, based on the German Jumo 004. A Russian-designed powerplant with twice the thrust was in the pipeline and was expected to become available within a year, but the Anglo-Soviet trade agreement of 1946 offered a more attractive possibility.
The trade pact included the supply of 25 Rolls-Royce Nene turbojets, most of which were allocated to the Klimov engine design bureau or to research establishments. One was supplied to the Mikoyan/Gurevich team and the MiG-15 was redesigned to accommodate the fatter Nene, which had a centrifugal compressor compared with the axial unit or the Russian engine under development, and which also produced greater thrust. The Rolls-Royce Nene immediately went into production at No 45 production factory in Moscow, designated RD-45 after the factory.
The layout involved air fed from a bifurcated nose intake via four ducts which passed either side of the cockpit and then over and under the unbroken wing centre section. The wing, of almost parallel chord, was swept back by 35 degrees at the leading edge and was built up from two main spars skinned with light alloy. The upper surfaces carried two full chord fences on each side and large Fowler flaps, set at 20 degrees for takeoff and 55 degrees for landing, were attached to the wing, just forward of the trailing edge. The ailerons were the only power-operated aerodynamic controls.
The circular-section fuselage was constructed in two halves which could be separated by means of quick-release bolts at the attachment point for the rear wing spar, exposing the complete engine for maintenance. Air brakes were fitted on either side of the rear fuselage. The tailplane was swept back by 40 degrees and its incidence could be adjusted manually before takeoff. Two fuel tanks in the rear fuselage carried 90 litres (19.8 Imp gal) each, but the majority was contained in a 1225-litre (269-Imp gal) tank fitted between the wing spars. The undercarriage had a wide track - 4 m (13 ft 1.5 in) to allow operation from rough fields; the levered-suspension mainwheels retracted inwards to lie within the fork of the front main spar.
Navigation, communication and fire-control equipment was extremely simple but this solution proved to be the correct solution when the type was blooded in combat. A gyro gunsight (copied from the British GGS Mk 2) with a maximum range of 800 m (875 yards) was used to aim the two 23-mm (0.90-in) NS-23 cannon mounted in a pack under the nose. This arrangement was later replaced by a single 37-mm (1.46-in) N-37 cannon with 40 rounds on the right-hand side and a pair of NS-23s with 80 rounds each on the left. The wing hardpoints were stressed to carry up to 500 kg (1102 lb) of bombs, although two weapons of 100 kg (220 lb) each were more usual, and rockets were also fitted. Alternatively, auxiliary fuel tanks could be carried to increase endurance.
It seems likely that the first prototype of the MiG-15, designated I-310, made its maiden flight in July 1947, but crashed during low-speed trials. Several design changes were introduced as a result, including the adoption of 2 degrees of wing anhedral in place of the dihedral layout, installation of wing fences and several changes to the back end. The rear fuselage was shortened and the jet pipe cut back to reduce the amount of engine power being lost, the tailplane was removed from the top of the fin and repositioned two-thirds of the way up, and the fin itself was swept back by 56 degrees. The first of two replacement prototypes, the S-01, was flown on 30 December 1947. As the I-350 prototype, it flew for the first time in September 1953.
The revised design was far from perfect - it tended to enter a spin from a tight turn, necessitating the fitting of recovery rockets - but it was apparent that the layout was basically sound. The Mikoyan/Gurevich team had six months' headway over their competitors, and this proved decisive, although both the La-168 and Yak-30 proceeded to the flight-test stage and the former entered limited production.
Reverse engineering of the Nene by Vladimir Klimov’s bureau had paralleled design development of the I-310, and as the RD-45 of 4,850 lb st (2 200 kgp), this engine powered the initial series fighter, which, as the MiG-15, was cleared for production in March 1948 (NATO Fagot), the first pre-series aircraft being delivered to the NII for evaluation seven weeks later, on 10 May.
Early production MiG-15s powered by the RD-45, copied from the Nene, reached the squadrons before the end of 1948. The RD-45F (Forsirovanny, meaning boosted), uprated from 2200 kg (4850 lb) to 2270 kg (5000 lb) thrust for take-off, soon replaced the earlier powerplant at an early production stage. Armament comprising one 37-mm N-37 and two 23-mm NS-23KM cannon.
Production under licence was begun in Poland as the LlM-1 and in Czechoslovakia as the S-102.
Variants of the RD-45F-powered fighter included the MiG-15PB escort fighter with two 132 Imp gal (600 lt) underwing slipper tanks, the MiG-15P with a pre-series Izumrud (Emerald) radar and the MiG-15SV with faster-firing NR-23 cannon, none of these being built in quantity.
A structural reappraisal of the basic MiG-15 resulting in a 198 lb (90 kg) weight reduction, minor aerodynamic changes, upgraded equipment and a Klimov-developed VK-1 turbojet (origi-nally designated RD-45FA) rated at 5,952 lb st (2 700 kgp) for takeoff, or 3000 kg (6615 lb) with water injection produced the MiG-15SD flown in September 1949. With some further changes (which included modifications to the ailerons and air brakes) this was placed in production in the following year as the MiG-15bis. The engine's external dimensions remained the same, but the mass flow was increased and the larger diameter hot end resulted in dry weight rising from 870 kg (1918 lb) in the RD-45 to 875 kg (1930 lb) in the VK-1. Fuel capacity was increased by 160 litres (35 Imp gal) and improved equipment was fitted. Perforated flaps were therefore adopted to save airframe weight, offsetting increases in other areas. Late production models of the MiG-15bis, which was the variant built in the largest numbers, carried 23-mm (0.90-in) NR-23 revolver cannon in place of the slow-firing NS-23s. Polish and Czech versions were designated LIM-2 and S-103.
The MiG-15bis was followed by the two-seat MiG-15UTI, code-named Midget, with the instructor sitting behind and slightly above his pupil. Some fuel capacity was sacrificed, and the top speed dropped slightly. The principal production version of the basic design, with several thousand being built until late 1951, plus others licence-built in Czechoslovakia and Poland (as the LIM-3).
The MiG-15bis standardised on an armament of two 23-mm NR-23 cannon and one 37-mm N-37 cannon.
Limited all-weather versions with Izumrud radar included the MiG-15SP-1 and SP-2. The two-seater was also used for ejection-seat experiments and formed the basis of the SP-5, the first all-weather fighter variant. An Izumrud (Emerald) fire-control radar (NATO code-name Scan Fix) was fitted, the antenna being mounted in a bullet fairing in the centre of the intake splitter. A complementary ranging radar was installed in the top lip of the intake. The definitive all-weather fighter variant, the MiG-15P, was, however, a single-seater derived from the MiG-15bis.
Other experimental models were the MiG-15SU for ground attack and featuring a pack containing cannon angled to fire downward, the MiG-15bisSB (ISh) intended for the shturmovik role and the MiG-15bisS escort fighter with 132 Imp gal (600 1t) slipper tanks, reduced armament and other changes.
A reconnaissance version, the MiG-15bisR with full armament and fitted with a single nose-mounted vertical camera below the gun magazines was developed for high -altitude sorties over Korea and was additionally employed in Europe.
A further variant was the MiG-15SB, which had twin beams extending from the wing leading edges to carry two 100-kg (220-1b) bombs, eight 55-mm (2.16-in) rockets or auxiliary fuel tanks. Rockets were fitted to reduce the takeoff run and a braking parachute similarly shortened the landing roll.
Production in the Soviet Union ended in 1953.
One of the most widely used jet fighters of all time, the MiG-15bis was also manufactured in China (as the Shenyang F-2, and the MiG-15UTI as the Shenyang FT-2), Czechoslova-kia (Mig-15bis as the Aero Vodochody S-103 and the Mig-15UTI as the CS-102) and Poland Czechoslova-kia (Mig-15bis as the PZL-Mielec Lim-2 and the Mig-15UTI as the SBLim-1) in considerable num-bers and it is known to have served with close to 30 air arms throughout the world as a front-line fighter and as an advanced trainer.
Large numbers (over 1,000) of early versions were supplied to China and North Korea, entering combat in 1951. No Allied fighter could stay with it and even the technically superior F-86 had inferior climb, ceiling and high altitude turn radius. Many thousands (14,000+) of all versions were built, and the MiG-15 remained an invaluable aircraft for air forces with little jet experience, being supplied to at least 18.
The MiG-15 took part in the first ever all jet air combat when one was destroyed by a Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star of the US Air Force over Korea on November 7, 1950, some six days after the Russian type was deployed to that theatre. The Soviet aircraft was more manoeuvrable and had a higher ceiling than its US adversaries, and the slow -firing but hard-hitting cannon carried a heavier punch than the machine-guns of the opposing fighters. The USAF's response was to introduce the North American F-86A Sabre, which scored its first MiG kill on December 17, 1950. The North Korean and Chinese pilots could not hope to match the experience of their adversaries, and on May 20, 1951, Capt James Jabara bagged his fifth and sixth MiG-15s to become the first jet ace. The USAF alone claimed 792 MiG-15s destroyed over Korea, while the US Navy also notched up a creditable score, bringing the claimed kill-to-loss ratio to about 12:1.
Engine: 1 x Klimov RD-45F, 5,005 lb st (2270 kgp)
Max speed, 648 mph (1043 km/h) at 9,845 ft (3000 m)
Max initial climb, 8,268 ft/min (42 m/sec)
Range (clean), 882 mls (1 420 km) at 236 mph (380 km/h) at 39,370 ft (12 000 m)
Empty weight, 7,456 lb (3 382 kg)
Loaded weight (clean), 10,595 lb (4 806 kg)
Span, 33 ft 1 in (10,08 m)
Length, 32 ft 1¼ in (10,04 m)
Height, 12 ft 1 2/3 in (3,70 m)
Wing area, 221.75 sq ft (20,60 sq.m).
Engine: 1 x VK-1 turbo-jet, 26.5kN
Max take-off weight: 4960 kg / 10935 lb
Wingspan: 10.1 m / 33 ft 2 in
Length: 10.1 m / 33 ft 2 in
Height: 3.7 m / 12 ft 2 in
Wing area: 20.6 sq.m / 221.74 sq ft
Max. speed: 1076 km/h / 669 mph
Ceiling: 16000 m / 52500 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 2000 km / 1243 miles
Range w/max.payload: 1400 km / 870 miles
Armament: 1 x 37mm cannon, 2 x 23mm machine-guns, 400kg of bombs or missiles
Equipment: Izumrud (Emerald) radar.
Type: escort fighter
Fuel cap: two 132 Imp gal (600 1t) underwing slipper tanks
Armament: faster-firing NR-23 cannon
Powerplant: one 2700-kg (5,952-lb) thrust Klimov VK-1 turbojet / later models one 6990-lb thrust Klimov VK-1A turbojet.
Maximum speed 1100 km/h (684 mph) at 12000 m (39,370 ft)
Initial climb rate 3500 m (11,800 ft) per minute
Service ceiling 15550 m(51,015 ft)
Ferry range 2000 km (1,242 miles)
Empty weight 3400 kg (7,495 lb)
Maximum take-off 5785 kg(12,756 lb)
Wingspan 10.08 m (33 ft 0¾ in)
Length 11.05 m (36 ft 3¼ in)
Height 3.40 m(11 ft 1¾ in)
Wing area 20.60 sq.m (221.7 sq.ft)
Armament: one 37-mm NR-37 cannon and two 23-mm NR-23 cannon, plus up to 1000 kg (2,205 lb) of external stores.
Max speed, 692 mph (1114 km/h) at 7,220 ft (2 200 m)
Time to 16,405 ft (5 000 m), 2.1 min.
Range (clean), 826 mls (1330 km)
Empty weight, 8,115 lb (3 681 kg)
Loaded weight (clean), 11,175 lb (5069 kg)
Span, 33 ft 1 in (10,08 m)
Length, 35 ft 7½ in (10,86 m)
Height, 12 ft 1 2/3 in (3,70 m)
Wing area, 221.75 sq ft (20,60 sq.m)
Armament: two 23-mm NR-23 cannon and one 37-mm N-37 cannon.
Engine one 7,452-lb Klimov VK- 1F turbojet
Gross wt. 12,000 lb
Empty wt. 8,115 lb
Max speed 668 mph
Range 450 nm
Ceiling 50,855 ft
Engine: LIS-2, 5500 lb thrust.
Fuel cap: Internal: 1000 lt, external 2 x 400 lt.
ROC: 6000+ fpm.
Service ceiling: 48,000 ft.
Loading: Clean, +8g, With drop tanks full, +4g.
Max speed: 570 kts (M 0.92), with drop tanks, 430 kts.
Stall: 110-103 kts.
Type: Two seat fighter/trainer
Engine: One Klimov RD-45 turbojet, 5,005 lbs thrust
Empty weight: 7,900 lb
Loaded weight: 10,935 lb
Wing Span: 33 ft 1 in
Length: 33 ft 2 in
Height: 12 ft 2 in
Ceiling: 50,580 ft
Speed: 668 mph
Range: 1,225 miles (ferry)
Armament: 2 x 23mm cannon, 1 x 37 mm cannon, 2 x 100 kg bombs or rockets