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Experimental aircraft MiG-21I (A-144)

A special unarmed modification of the MiG-21S frontline fighter aircraft to test the aerodynamic properties, flight characteristics, stability and handling of the tailless aircraft.


Dogfights have always attracted attention. Since the First World War, their participants have been considered heroes, stories have been written about nothing, and they have become idols of generations. However, the reality of air combat is much more prosaic. Whatever the motivation of the pilots to fight, there was always a winner on one side and a loser on the other in a crippled or burning plane falling to the ground. This series deals with the struggle from their beginning to the modern age, when the sky is steadily ruled by jet engines.

F-104 Starfighter against MiG-21

Thanks to the efforts of the SMI, the F-104 Starfighter has a reputation for failure. Some nicknames are worth it: "flying coffin", "husband's killer", "widow maker" and so on. He is believed to have hopelessly lost air combat with the MiG-21. However, the attitude towards the F-104 was not always negative everywhere. In Pakistan, for example, he was given the rather reasonable nickname "hooligan". Canadian pilots sometimes called it "flying phallus," which, as you can see, is much better than "flying scrap," as the MiG-21 was called at the time.

F-15A Baz versus the MiG-25 - Trap from a textbook

The USSR developed a powerful MiG-25 fighter aircraft in the late 1960s. This aircraft was not originally to be exported, but after Lieutenant Viktor Belenko flew with one MiG-25P to the base of Hakodate in Japan, there was nothing to hide. The aircraft was released for export. Thus, although there was never a conflict between the great powers, the MiG-25 had the opportunity to fight, over Lebanon, with its counterpart, the American F-15. Although both aircraft flew under the insignia of other countries.

F3D-2N versus MiG-15 - the controversial fight

Most Western publications state that the first night duel and the downing of jet fighters took place during the fighting in Korea, specifically on November 3, 1952. The other side, on the other hand, clearly denies the downing. A comparison of the available data reveals a number of ambiguities, which make this event a relatively controversial issue.

I-350 fighter

After exceeding the speed limit of a thousand kilometers on a MiG-15 fighter (I-310, C) in 1948, the OKB-155, led by chief designer AI Mikoyan, together with CAGI specialists, almost immediately outlined measures to further increase it. As early as July 26, 1949, a prototype MiG-17 fighter (I-330, SI) ascended into the air.

Lockheed U-2 - Legendary spy

The U-2 has been flying since the mid-1950s. Although it will celebrate half a century since its first take-off next year, it is not yet going to "retire". The reason is simple. Although obsolete in the age of satellites, the construction from the last century may seem obsolete, the truth remains that the aircraft is a reliable platform for many reconnaissance systems. It is much more operative and cheaper against satellites.

MiG Je-8

The first prototype of the Je-8 (MiG-23) became known as the Je-8/1 (red 81) and left the OKB MiG prototype workshop on 5 March 1962. As this machine lacked a fighter radar installation, its fuselage was fitted with a sheet metal nose. Its interior was then filled with test apparatus.



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