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Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
Xian Aircraft / Shenyang J-7
Xian Aircraft / Shenyang F-7



Designed in the 18 months following the Korean War, the Mikoyan-Gurevich bureau concentrated on a small day interceptor of the highest possible performance. Prototypes were built with both swept and delta wings, both having powered slab tailplanes, and the delta was chosen for production. At least 30 preproduction aircraft had flown by the time service delivery started.

The definitive prototypes with R-11 engines were the Ye-2A with swept wings and the Ye-5 with delta wings, these flew in May and June 1956 respectively, and were soon involved in comparative trials that showed the tailed delta configuration to have slight performance and operational advantages. The Ye-5 therefore became the basis for the Ye-6 prototype that was used to eradicate the various propulsion and flight-control problems besetting the programme, and in 1958 production was authorized of the MiG-21 fighter. The initial production version (NATO Fishbed-A) was built in only limited numbers from 1958. Power was provided by a Tumansky R-11 turbo-jet engine rated at 50kN (with after-burning). The initial MiG-21 included Fowler flaps, fully powered controls, upward ejection seat fixed to the rear of the front-hinged canopy (which incorporated the whole front of the cockpit enclosure except the bullet-proof windshield) to act as a pilot blast-shield, and internal fuel capacity of only 410 gal. Armament was two 30 mm NR-30 in long fairings under the fuselage, the left gun usually being replaced by avionics.

The Soviet Union had developed the K-13 (NATO Atoll) infra-red homing air-to-air missile and two pylons for two K-13 were fitted to the more powerful MiG-21F of 1959. The F became known to NATO as Fishbed-C and was a short-range clear-weather fighter (one 30mm cannon only) powered by a 56.4kN / 12,676lb st (with afterburning) Tumansky R-11. This had radar ranging, 515 gal fuel, broader fin, upward-hinged pitot boom attached under the and two dorsal blade aerials. In most 21 Fs the port cannon is removed, to save weight and provide space for the electronic pack serving two K-13A air-to-air missiles (AAMs), simple copies of Sidewinder called Atoll by NATO, carried on underwing rails. As the -21F matured, the fin was increased in chord and the braking parachute moved to a cylindrical box at the base of the rudder, while various aerials betrayed the presence of such standardized electronics as the UHF/VHF in the fin cap, rear-warning radar (Sirena 3) and SRO-series SIF/IFF (called Odd Rods by NATO). Exports began in April 1963 with the F-12 for Finland and F-13 for India (which called it Type 74) and Iraq. Czech-built aircraft (still called 21F) did not have the rear-view windows in the front of the dorsal spine. The F was also the type supplied to China in 1959 and used as the pattern for the Chinese-built F-8. As the oldest active variant it was also the first exported or seen in the West.




The MiG-21 programme spawned its own series of developments through various prototypes, and there were also a number of experimental and record-breaking prototypes such as the Ye-33 version of the MiG-21U operational conversion trainer used for climb and altitude records for women pilots; the Ye-66 version of the MiG-21F used for a speed record; the Ye-66A with a U-2 rocket in a belly pack for an altitude record, the Ye-66B with twin rockets; the Ye-76 version of the MiG-21PF for a number of women’s records; the Ye-8 with a powered canard foreplane to validate such a feature for the proposed MiG-2lSht attack fighter; the MiG-21DPD with two direct-lift jets in an extra fuselage bay on the centre of gravity, and the A-144 with a scaled-down version of the wing proposed for the Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic airliner. Trials in the direct-lift approach started with the MiG-21DPD to validate the basic concept.

At Tushino in 1961 the prototype was displayed of what became the 21PF, with inlet diameter increased from 27 in to 36 in, completely changing the nose shape and providing room for a large movable centre-body housing the scanner of the R1L AI radar. Other changes included deletion of guns (allowing simpler forward airbrakes), bigger mainwheels (causing large fuselage bulges above the wing), pitot boom moved above the inlet, fatter dorsal spine (partly responsible for fuel capacity of 627 gal) and many electronic changes.

Fishbed E is the NATO name for the C or D version with extra-broad fin, relocated brake chute and restored gun armament in the form of the GP-9 belly pack housing the GSh-23 twin-barrel 23-mm (0.90-in) gun, with predictor sight and simple radar ranging. The MiG-21FL, from lokator (locator), has the R2L (Spin Scan B) radar. Extra-broad fin and relocated chute are standard, as is the F2S-300 engine, but not SPS or ATO rockets. India calls this the Type 77, and it was the first version made under licence by Hindu-stan Aeronautics, some 100 being assembled from Soviet parts in 1966-70 and about another 96 with increasing Indian content in 1970-73.The 1964 MiG-21PF ‘Fishbed-D’ was the first of a new series with search/track radar to improve all-weather capability. It has an uprated engine with afterburner and rocket -assisted take-off.

The MiG-21F 'Fishbed-C' paved the way for the MiG-21PF 'Fishbed-D' of 1960 with the uprated R-11F engine and an enlarged inlet to allow the incorporation of R1L 'Spin Scan-A' radar in the centrebody, the MiG-21PFS 'Fishbed-E' with blown flaps and a ventral pod carrying a 23mm GSh-23L two-barrel cannon.

A further development, the MiG-2IPFM ‘Fishbed-F’ incorporating all the sequential improvements of earlier models, was soon superseded by the MiG-21PFMA ‘Fishbed- J’ which is a multi-role aircraft with four underwing pylons and a GSh 23-mm twin-barrel gun. It also carries four radar-homing ‘Atoll’ air-to-air missiles.

All PF had an uprated engine, late models had take-off rocket latches and final batches had completely, new blown flaps (SPS) which cut landing speed by 25 mph and reduced nose-up attitude for better pilot view. The FL was the export PF (L = lokator, denoting R2L radar) with even more powerful engine. Like the F models rebuilt in 1963-4, this can carry the GP-9 gunpack housing the GSh-23 23 mm twin-barrel gun, has a still further broadened vertical tail and drag-chute repositioned above the jetpipe. The PFS was the PFP with SPS blown flaps, while the PFM was a definitive improved version with another 19 in. added to the fin (final fillet eliminated), a conventional seat and side-hinged canopy, and large flush aerials in the fin. One-off versions were built to prove STOL with lift jets and to fly a scaled -analogue- of the wing of the Tu-144 SST.

From the MiG-21PFM stemmed a 1966 model, the PFMA, called Fishbed J. This was a supposed multi-role version with four underwing pylons, provision for a belly tank or GP-9 gunpack, either 'Jay Bird' radar or infrared versions of K-13A and with three tank-fitted pylons to offset the reduced internal fuel capacity of 2600 litres (572 Imp gal), despite the new deep dorsal spine giving an almost straight line from canopy to fin. Other changes included a zero/zero seat (ejector seat usable at zero height and zero speed), improved weapon-aiming subsystem with alpha (angle of attack) sensor in a fairing on the left side of the nose, and pitot boom offset to the right. The -J featured an internal GSh-23L cannon.

The PFMA, made in huge numbers, and since 1973 has been built in India as Type 88, produced by Hindustan Aeronautics in 1973-78.

The R-13 turbojet was introduced about 1970 in the multirole MiG-21M Fishbed J. After 1971 production switched to the re-engineered third-generation MiG-2lbis Fishbed L, with more internal fuel and updated avionics. The MiG 21MF is the all weather fighter/bomber variant of the MiG 21 family. It is derived from the MiG 21 F, but is much heavier, more powerful and equipped with a large avionics suite.

The original reconnaissance model was the MiG-21R Fishbed H (based on the MiG21PFMA which introduced the large dorsal spine, a common feature of the 'Fishbed'), produced in several sub-types with equipment ranging from basic internally-mounted optical cameras (occupying the area previously used to accommodate the integral twin-barrelled GSh-23 23-mm cannon armament) to an external pod system known to house forward and oblique cameras plus infra-red linescan apparatus. Powered by a single Tumansky R-11 turbojet, all variants of the MiG-21R can also operate with wingtip-mounted electronic countermeasures pods.

More recently, the principal 'Fishbed H' reconnaissance derivative was the MiG-21RF which is essentially similar to the MiG-21MF in relying on the Tumansky R-13-300 engine offering greater power and featuring increased airflow despite being no larger. Sensor packages and equipment are probably the same as those incorporated in the earlier MiG-21R variant.


(23+99) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 US 01685134 - marked 215


Other versions include the MiG-21U, MiG-21UM, and MiG-21US NATO code name Mongol two-seat operational trainer and the ‘Fishbed-K’ which had modifications to the airframe of the basic ‘MF’ type. The Mongol A was a conversion of the Fishbed C, while the Mongol B had broad chord fin of the later single seat variants.




The first of the third-generation types was the MiG-21bis 'Fishbed-L' with a stronger yet lighter airframe and updated avionics.

The 1987 final MiG-21bis 'Fishbed-N' has the 73.6kN-thrust Tumansky R-25 turbojet and provision for more modern weapons. Indian licence manufacture was scheduled to end early in 1987.

Also licence built in China as the Shenyang J-7 types (F-7 for export).

Code-named Mongol and called Type 66 in India, the U is the tandem trainer, the US has SPS flaps and UM the R-13 engine and four pylons. Many other versions have been used to set world records. About 10,000 MiG-21s have been built, and among users are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Finland, East Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, North Korea, Poland, Romania, Syria, Vietnam and Yugoslavia.

Over 15 variants were developed and more than 8000 aircraft were produced. Pakistan is still taking delivery of improved versions of the F-7, produced by China, to replace its Chinese F-6 aircraft (basically an improved version of the MiG-19). The MiG-21-93 is one of the upgrades for the Fishbed, especially Indian MiG-21s are or will be upgraded to this version. Also IAI introduced an upgrade package, called the MiG-21-2000, Elbit refurbished and updated Romanian MiG-21s to the MiG-21 Lancer standard.

Russia, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Azerbiajan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burma, Cambodia, China, Congo, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, East-Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gunea , Hungary, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lybia, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Niger, North Korea, North Yemen, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe





MiG-21F (Fishbed-C)
Engine: Tumanski R37F (4500/6000kp)
Length: 44.16 ft / 13.46 m
Height: 14.764 ft / 4.5 m
Wingspan: 23.458 ft / 7.15 m
Wing area: 247.572 sqft / 23.0 sq.m
Max take off weight: 17088.8 lb / 7750.0 kg
Weight empty: 12017.3 lb / 5450.0 kg
Max speed: 1145 kts / 2120 km/h
Service ceiling: 57415 ft / 17500 m
Wing load: 69.09 lb/sq.ft / 337.0 kg/sq.m
Maximum range: 999 nm / 1850 km
Range (max. weight): 648 nm / 1200 km
Crew: 1
Armament: 1 MG 30mm, 2x Atoll A/AM
Engine: 1 x Tumansky single-shaft turbojet with afterburner
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m).
Engine: 1 x Tumansky R-11-G2S-300 single-shaft turbojet with afterburner, 13,668 lb (6200 kg)
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m)
MiG-21PF (Fishbed-D)
Radar inlet centrebody
Powerplant: one 60.00 kN (22,110 lb st) Tumanskii R-11 F2-300 turbojet with afterburning
Fuselage length 12.285m (40 ft 3½ in)
Height 4.806m (15 ft 9 in )
Wing span 7.154m (23ft 5½ in)
Take-off weight (clean) 7,750 kg (17,085 lb)
Max Take-Off Weight estimated 8,800 kg (19,400 lb)
Max level speed at 13,000m (42,650 ft) Mach 2.05 or 2,175 km/h (1,353 mph)
Max level speed at sea level Mach 1.2 or 1,300 km/h (809 mph)
Service ceiling 19,000m (62,320 ft)
Armament: 2 R-13R (AA-2 Atoll) IR air-to-air missiles or two rocket pods, with each up to 16 57mm unguided rockets, carried on two underwing pylons and one 490 liter (129 gal) drop tank carried on the centre line
MiG-21PFS (Fishbed-E)
Engine: 1 x Tumansky R-11-G2S-300 single-shaft turbojet with afterburner, 13,668 lb (6200 kg)
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m).
MiG-21PFM (Fishbed-F)
Blown flaps
Engine: 1 x Tumansky R-11-G2S-300 single-shaft turbojet with afterburner, 13,668 lb (6200 kg)
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m).
MiG-21M/S/R/RF (Fishbed-H)
Tactical reconnaissance
MiG-21PFMA (Fishbed-J)
Type: single-seat fighter
Engine: 1 x Tumansky R-11-G2S-300 single-shaft turbojet with afterburner, 13,668 lb (6200 kg)
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m).
Engine: Tumanski R-11F2S-300, 13,668 lb.
Wingspan: 23 ft 5.5 in / 7.15 m
Length: 51 ft 8.5 in / 15.75m
MTOW: 20,725 lb / 9400 kg
Max speed: 1335 mph / 2150 kph
Ferry range: 1118 sm / 1800 km
Armament: 1 x 23 mm cannon (200 rds), up to 2000 kg external load.
Engine: 1 x Tumansky single-shaft turbojet with afterburner
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m)
MiG-21MF Fishbed-J
Engine: 1 x Tumansky R-13-300 single-shaft turbojet with afterburner, 14,550 lb (6600 kg)
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m)
Length (excluding probe): 48 ft ½ in (14.6 m)
Height: 14 ft 9 in (4.5 m)
Empty wt: 12,346 lb (5600 kg)
MTOW: 21,605 lb (9800 kg)
Maximum speed: 1,285 mph (2070 km/h, Mach 2.1)
Initial ROC (clean): 36,090 ft (11,000 m)/min
Service ceiling: 59,050 ft (18,000 m)
Range (high, internal fuel): 683 miles (1100 km)
Maximum range (high, three tanks) 1,118 miles (1800 km)
Mikoyan Gurevich OKB MiG 21 MF
Engine: Tumanski R-11, 637650 N / 65000 kp
Length: 45.932 ft / 14.0 m
Height: 14.764 ft / 4.5 m
Wingspan: 23.458 ft / 7.15 m
Wing area: 247.572 sqft / 23.0 sq.m
Max take off weight: 20727.0 lb / 9400.0 kg
Max speed: 1204 kts / 2230 km/h
Wing load: 83.85 lb/sq.ft / 409.0 kg/sq.m
Range: 972 nm / 1800 km
Crew: 1
Armament: 2x MG 23mm/100rds, 2-4 Atoll o. 1000kg / 4 St.
MiG-21SMT/SMB (Fishbed-K)
MiG-21bis-A (Fishbed-L)
Engine: Tumansky R37F (4500/6000kp)
Wing span: 23 ft 5.5in (7.15 m)
Length: 45.932 ft / 14.0 m
Height: 14.764 ft / 4.5 m
Wing area: 247.572 sqft / 23.0 sq.m
Max take off weight: 19514.3 lb / 8850.0 kg
Weight empty: 12017.3 lb / 5450.0 kg
Wing loading: 78.93 lb/sq.ft / 385.0 kg/sq.m
Max speed: 1145 kts / 2120 km/h / M 2.11.
Initial climb rate: 29527.56 ft/min / 150.00 m/s
Service ceiling: 57415 ft / 17500 m
Range: 999 nm / 1850 km
Crew: 1
Armament: 2x ext. 500kg zB 2x Atoll A/A
MiG-21bis-B (Fishbed-N)
Powerplant: one 69.61 kN (25,650 lb st) Tumanskii R-25-300 turbojet with afterburning
Fuselage length 12.285m (40 ft 3½ in)
Height 4.10m (13 ft 5½ in)
Wing span 7.154m (23ft 5½ in)
Take-off weight (clean) 8,725 kg (19,235 lb)
Max Take-Off Weight 10,400 kg (22,925 lb)
Max level speed at 13,000m (42,650 ft) Mach 2.05 or 2,175 km/h (1,353 mph)
Max level speed at sea level Mach 1.4 or 1,450 km/h (902 mph)
Service ceiling 17,800m (58,400 ft)
Armament: one 23mm GSh-23L two-barrel cannon with 200 rounds; 1500 kg (3,307 lb) of disposable stores, Hardpoints: five (including centre line)
MiG-21bisF Fishbed N
Single seat multi-role fighter
Engine: Tumanskii R-25, 16,535 lb / 7500 kg
Wingspan: 23 ft 5 in / 7.15m
Height: 13 ft 5 in / 4.10 m
Wing area: 247.58 sq.m / 23.00 sq.m
Empty weight: 22,464 lb / 5200 kg
Max TOW: 17,549 lb / 7960 kg
Max speed: 1385 mph / 2229 kph / M2.1 at 36.090 ft / 11,000m
Iniial rate of climb: 57,900 fpm / 17,675 m/min
Service ceiling: 50,030 ft / 15,250m
Eange: 721 miles / 1160 km
Armament: 1 x 23mm twin barrel cannon
Bombload: 4409 lb / 2000 kg
Type: single-seat reconnaissance
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m).
Type: single-seat tactical reconnaissance aircraft
Powerplant: one Tumansky R- 3-300 turbojet, 6600-kg (14,550-1b) afterburning thrust
Maximum speed at sea level 1300 km/h (810 mph) or Mach 1.06
Maximum speed at altitude 2230 km/h (1,385 mph) or Mach 2.1
Service ceiling 17500 m (57,400 ft)
Range with maximum fuel 1670 km (1,038miles)
Maximum take-off weight 9400 kg (20,723 lb)
Wimgspan 7.15 m (23 ft 5 ½ in)
Length 15.76 m (5 1 ft 8 ½ in)
Height about 4.06 m (13 ft 4 in)
Wing area 23.00 sq.m (247.6 sq ft).
MiG-21U (Mongol-A)
Type: two-seat trainer
Wing span: 7.2m (23 ft 6 in).
MiG-21US Mongol-B
Engine: 1 x Tumansky single-shaft turbojet with afterburner
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m).
MiG-21UM Mongol-B
Engine: 1 x Tumansky single-shaft turbojet with afterburner
Wing span 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m).
Xian Aircraft / Shenyang J-7 (F-7)
Xian Aircraft / Shenyang J-7 II (F-7B)
Xian Aircraft / Shenyang J-7 III
Xian Aircraft / Shenyang F-7M
Xian Aircraft / Shenyang F-7P

Engine: 1 x Tumansky R-11-F2-300 single-shaft turbojet with afterburner, 13,120 Ib (5950 kg)
Wing span: 23 ft 5½ in (7.15 m)



Mikoyan/Gurevich MiG-21




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