80 years of MiG fighters

The aircraft design bureau headed by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, which has gone down in history by the amalgamation of the first letters of their last names as MiG, was formed on December 8th, 1939 – 80 years ago, plus a few days.  Today it’s the “Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG” division of United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, and is still going strong.

To celebrate the anniversary, the company produced this short video highlighting several of its most famous designs, from the MiG-1 and MiG-3 fighters of World War II, to the MiG-15 that terrorized Allied aircraft during the Korean War, to the MiG-17, –19 and –21 of the Vietnam War era, to the MiG-29 that was designed to counter the US F-16, to the MiG-31 interceptor that today carries the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missile.

Some of those MiG’s gave me a few gray hairs during my time in the Southern African bush.  I described one such encounter recently.

Congratulations are in order to a very long-lived aviation design bureau.  I can’t think of many that have lasted that long.



  1. My DT-2, or final project for Navy Test Pilot School was on the MIG-21, which I got to fly 4 times twenty some years ago. I was impressed for it's capabilities for the era in which it was designed. Also, I found out you could actually beat an F-16 in air combat maneuvering if you got him in a horizontal scissors, as he has AOA limiter and you can just stand that thing straight up on it's burner and get behind him for the shot. I also got to fly two other Russian designs, a Su and an old Yak. I always liked the Russian designs; simple and to the point.

  2. Israel sells a really neat upgraded version of the Mig-21, all glass cockpit, updated engine, the whole schmear. Which actually makes it a viable semi-4th gen fighter.

    But, well, for the most part, I see them, as juvat would say, as 'targets.'

  3. With modern ECM, the MiG-21 is apparently very difficult to get a lock-on from head-on until you're pretty close. If they're willing to push it into a knife fight, some will make it and they'll be carrying very effective modern heaters, too.

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