One of the most common jet fighters of history,over 10,000 MIG 21's of various types have been built. First seen in 1956 in blurred airshow photographs the MIG 21 emerged from the shadows in 1962 when India announced that they were buying the MIG 21. The west wrongly assumed that the plane had been rejected by its own country if it was being offered for sale so quickly. A delta wing but having separate tail fins which increase air combat ability the MIG 21 is a classic design surviving far beyond its original role and in over 40 countries throughout the world. Early variants had cannon which were deleted on later versions to make room for more avionics, only to have gun pods fitted later.. Many countries produced their own versions some for export as in the case of India and China with its Xian F-7M which has many improvements including twin 30mm cannon and improved nose structure. Never very outstanding in acceratation the MIG 21 has been popular due to its cheap and frequently modified design and its agility, apart from the Lockheed C-130 it is probably the most popular military aircraft of all time. Maximum speed (clean); 1,385mph (2230km/h) Combat radius; 230 miles (330km) Weapon load; various AAM or rockets and bombs typically x4 Air to Air missiles or one missile and four 551lb (250Kg) bombs. a 23mm gun pod is also frequently carried.
How to cite this article:
Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (21 August 2001), MIG-21 'Fishbed', http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_mig21.html