ABOUT The Aero Vodochody MiG-21F-13 (NATO reporting name:
is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-
Gurevich Design Bureau
in the Soviet Union. It was popularly
"balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view
resemblance to the
Russian stringed musical instrument or ołówek
(English: pencil) by
Polish pilots due to the shape of its fuselage.  
Early versions are considered second-generation jet fighters, while
later versions are considered to be third-generation jet fighters.
Some 50 countries over four continents have flown the
MiG-21, and
it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. The
fighter made aviation records. At least by name, it is the most-
produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and the most-
produced combat aircraft since the
Korean War, and it had the
longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 over all

Aero Vodochody Overview
AERO Vodochody a.s. is the largest aerospace manufacturer in the
Czech Republic, mainly focusing on cooperation with leading
aerospace manufacturers in international aer- structures projects.
Military Program of Aero is historically the largest producer of
jet training aircraft and a partner to several air forces, particularly the
Czech Air Force.

In 1953, new facilities designed entirely for jet aircraft production
were built in
Vodochody and started operation in the same year. The
production, in which several
Czechoslovak aviation plants were
involved, focused on a large-scale series production of
aircraft built under a license and its derivatives. The supersonic
aircraft were manufactured by Aero through the 1960s and 1970s.

The MiG-21 jet fighter was a continuation of Soviet jet fighters,
starting with the subsonic
MiG-15 and MiG-17, and the supersonic
MiG-19. A number of experimental Mach 2 Soviet designs were
based on nose intakes with either swept-back wings, such as the
Sukhoi Su-7, or tailed deltas, of which the MiG-21 would be the most
Development of what would become the
MiG-21 began in the early
1950s, when
Mikoyan OKB finished a preliminary design study for a
prototype designated
Ye-1 in 1954. This project was very quickly
reworked when it was determined that the planned engine was
underpowered; the redesign led to the second prototype, the
Both these and other early prototypes featured swept wings—the first
prototype with delta wings as found on production variants was the
Ye-4. The Ye-4 made its maiden flight on 16 June 1955 and made its
first public appearance during the
Soviet Aviation Day display at
Moscow's Tushino airfield in July 1956. The MiG-21 was the first
Soviet aircraft combining fighter and interceptor
characteristics in a single aircraft. It was a lightweight fighter,
achieving Mach 2 with a relatively low-powered after burning
turbojet, and is thus comparable to the
American Lockheed F-104
Starfighter and Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter
and the French
Dassault Mirage III
.  Its basic layout was used for numerous other
Soviet designs; delta-winged aircraft included Su-9 interceptor and the
E-150 prototype from MiG bureau while the mass-produced
successful front fighter
Su-7 and Mikoyan's I-75 experimental
interceptor combined a similar fuselage shape with swept-back
wings. However, the characteristic layout with the shock cone and
front air intake did not see widespread use outside the
USSR and
finally proved to have limited development potential, mainly because
of the very small space available for the radar.
Like many aircraft designed as interceptors, the
MiG-21 had a short
range. This was not helped by a design defect where the center of
gravity shifted rearwards once two-thirds of the fuel had been used.  
This had the effect of making the plane uncontrollable, resulting in an
endurance of only 45 minutes in clean condition. The issue led to the
development of the
MT and SMT variants. These had a range increase
of 250 km (155 mi) compared to the
MiG-21SM, but at the cost of
worsening all other performance figures (such as a lower service
ceiling and slower time to altitude).
The delta wing, while excellent for a fast-climbing interceptor, meant
any form of turning combat led to a rapid loss of speed. However, the
light loading of the aircraft could mean that a climb rate of 235 m/s
(46,250 ft/min) was possible with a combat-loaded
MiG-21bis, not
far short of the performance of the later
F-16A. Given a skilled pilot
and capable missiles, it could give a good account of itself against
contemporary fighters.
MiG-21 was exported widely and continues to be used. The
aircraft's simple controls, engine, weapons, and avionics were typical
Soviet-era military designs. The use of a tail with the delta wing
aids stability and control at the extremes of the flight envelope,
enhancing safety for lower-skilled pilots; this in turn enhanced its
marketability in exports to developing countries with limited training
programs and restricted pilot pools. While technologically inferior to
the more advanced fighters it often faced, low production and
maintenance costs made it a favorite of nations buying Eastern Bloc
military hardware. Several
Russian, Israeli and Romanian firms have
begun to offer upgrade packages to
MiG-21 operators, designed to
bring the aircraft up to a modern standard, with greatly upgraded
avionics and armaments.
Aero Vodochody MiG 21F-13
Crew: 1
Length: 15.76 m (51 ft 8.47 in)
Wingspan: 7.154 m (23 ft 5.66 in)
Height: 4.1 m (13 ft 5.41 in)
Wing area: 23.0 m2 (247.3 ft2)
Empty weight: 4,871 kg (10,738 lb)
Gross weight: 7,100 kg (15,650 lb)
Power-plant: 1 × Tumansky R11F-300, 37.27 kN (8,380 lbf)   
thrust dry, 56.27 kN (12,650 lbf) with afterburner each
Maximum speed: 2,125 km/h (1,385 mph)
Maximum speed: Mach 2.05
Range: 1,580 km (981 miles)
Service ceiling: 19,000 m (62,335 ft)
1x internal 30 mm NR-30 cannon, plus
2x K-13 or K-13A (R-3S) AAM or
2x 500 kg (1,102 lb) of bombs

A total of 194
MiG-21F-13s were built under licence in