MiG-19 Tragedies and Triumphs Cold War Government World History

This plane was the Soviet Union's first supersonic fighter.  We learn more about it from the Federation of American Scientists:

The MiG-19 Farmer was the first supersonic fighter built in the former USSR. The MiG-19 prototype made its first flight in September 1953 and was placed into production in 1955.  It was the Soviet Union's primary fighter during the last half of the 1950's.  Possibly as many as 10,000 MiG-19's, in various versions, were built by the Soviet Union, China, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. About 2,000 have been built in the People’s Republic of China.

Many other countries used the MiG-19, including Cuba, North Vietnam, North Korea, Iraq, and most of the Warsaw Pact nations. The Soviet Union phased out the MiG-19 in the early 1960s in favor of the more advanced MiG-21. However, the MiG-19 continued to be used by the other nations for many more years.
The aircraft's wings are mid-mounted, swept-back, and tapered with blunt tips. There are wing fences and wide wing roots. There are two turbojet engines mounted inside the body and a single, round air intake in the nose.

Note that what appears to be a single air intake is actually separated on the inside with each engine drawing air from its own intake. Two aircraft that have a single air intake with two engines are the Lightning and the G.91Y. There are dual exhausts.

The fuselage is long, tube-shaped, and tapers slightly to the blunt nose and widens to the exhausts. There is a bubble canopy well forward on the nose. The tail fin is sharply swept-back and tapered with blunt tips. Flats high-mounted on the fuselage and swept-back with blunt tips.

During the Cold War, the Soviets tried to use MiG-19s to shoot-down American U-2s flying spy missions over Soviet territory. Because the U-2s were able to fly so high, however, the MiG-19s did not have the range to effectively take-out the planes and end the reconnaissance missions.

There was a time, however, when a MiG-19 was involved in a U-2 incident. It was May, of 1960, when Francis Gary Powers thought he was high-enough, and safe-enough, to avoid danger as he flew over Soviet territory.

Although pilots of MiG-19s could see Powers, they could not shoot him out of the sky. A Soviet surface-to-air missile—which did not hit Powers and his plane but exploded behind the American U-2—damaged Powers' U-2, causing it to crash.

One of the Soviet surface-to-air missiles, fired at Powers and his CIA-owned/operated U-2, inadvertently hit a MiG-19. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force tells us what happened to that plane:

...the Soviets also accidentally shot down one of their own MiG-19 fighters, killing its pilot.

The USSR stopped using MiG-19s in 1979. 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Feb 22, 2020

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Federation of American Scientists.



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"MiG-19" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 22, 2020.
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