|Location:||National Cold War Exhibition|
The MiG-21 was the first Soviet fighter capable of flying faster than twice the speed of sound and is an iconic aircraft of the Cold War years. MiG-21s saw extensive combat action in such diverse conflicts as Vietnam, the Arab-Israeli Wars, the Iran-Iraq War, Afghanistan and Desert Storm.
This aircraft is typical of the early ‘First Generation’ variants of the MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ which was first designed as a simple, lightweight jet fighter, first flown as a pre-production prototype in 1957.
Following on from the initial MiG-21F ‘Fishbed-C’ production variant, in 1960 the new MiG-21P variant (NATO reporting name ‘Fishbed-D’) dispensed with the original internal cannon armament completely in favour of air-air missiles or rocket pods and introduced a modified fuselage with a longer nose, and modified canopy and spine with a distinctive bulge immediately aft of the cockpit. This was followed in production from 1962 to 1964 by the MiG-21PF, as seen here, with updated afterburning engine and the pitot probe relocated to the top of the nose. This variant also introduced a new system for controlling the variable intake centrebody at the nose, whose larger intake accommodated new RP-21 search/track radar, giving all-weather capability. The MiG-21 PFM for the Soviet Air Force was produced between 1964 and 1965, and the Mig-21 PFS version was produced for export from 1966-68.