The MIG-21 “Fishbed”


Me In front of a MIG-21PF from the Cezch Air Force

Jackson Woodworth, Contributor

Imagine you are a 22-year-old naval aviator flying an F-4 Phantom II, your mission is to protect a bombing raid on a Vietcong factory you are flying with B-52s when all of the sudden something rushes past you at mach 2. You are terrified because you know exactly what it is. Hello, today I will talk about the MIG-21 “Fishbed”. And how it terrified the West.

The aircraft is built by the Soviet manufacturer Mikoyan-Gurevich. The aircraft entered service with the Soviet Union but would be exported to other countries like Vietnam. Vietnam widely used them during the Vietnam War. They would hunt down U.S. aircraft, and shoot them down. They themselves were widely shot down but completed their mission. They went on to serve so many other countries for years to come.

The MIG-21 was widely exported to other countries like Vietnam, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, North Korea, China, Eastern Germany, Poland, Etc, some went to war and some didn’t, like Vietnam. But others did Egypt in the Yom-Kippur War when they fought Israel’s air force. They were used in the Syrian civil war, they fought against the bad people. They were in the Iran-Iraq War and fought against Iran in Iraq Service.

The Navy absolutely hated this plane because it could go Mach 2 and was very maneuverable. It shot down so many U.S. planes during the Vietnam War. They also didn’t like it because it was exported to so many other countries. They also had no plane during Vietnam that was as maneuverable as the MIG-21.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MIG-21 “Fishbed” was a terrifying plane, but there is one you can see in Topeka, Kansas. At the Combat Air Museum. It went to the Czech Air Force originally and then went to the Combat Air Museum. Here is a link to one of the preserved MIGs