MiG-21 Visual Arts Cold War Government Social Studies World History

The MiG-21 was a Soviet-era fighter-interceptor which was used, by North Vietnam, against American planes during the Vietnam War.

We learn more about this aircraft from the Federation for American Scientists (FAS):

The MiG-21F is a short-range day fighter-interceptor and the first major production version of the popular MiG-21 series. It is but one of many versions of this aircraft that have served in the air arms of many nations around the world.

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.

During the Vietnam War, MiG-21s were often used against U.S. aircraft.  Between April 26, 1965, and January 8, 1973, USAF F-4s and B-52s downed 68 MiG-21s. 

More than 30 countries of the world-including nations friendly to the U.S. -have flown the MiG-21.  At least 15 versions of the MiG-21 have been produced, some outside the Soviet Union.  Estimates place the number built at more than 8,000, a production total exceeding that of any other modern jet aircraft.
The aircraft has mid-mounted delta wings with small square tips. There is one turbojet inside the body. There is a small round air intake in the nose. There is a single exhaust.

The fuselage is a long, tubular body with a blunt nose and bubble canopy. There is one belly fin under the rear section. There is a large dorsal spine flush with the canopy. The tail fin swept-back and tapered with a square tip. The flats are mid-mounted on the body, swept-back, and tapered with square tips.

The J-7FS modification adds a radar to a reconfigured air intake, while the "Super 7" upgrade would have completely reworked the front end of the aircraft, adding a much larger radar and ventral air inlets, along with various other less pronounced improvements.

Although the Russian Federation no-longer deploys the MiG-21 on missions, this plane has reportedly been used by the Syrian Arab Air Force during the civil war in Syria. This report, from RT, includes an interview with a MiG-21 pilot.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5184stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jul 19, 2019

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy U.S. Department of Defense.



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