3 Facts About The Mighty MiG-21

3 Facts About The Mighty MiG-21 | Frontline Videos

YouTube / AirZoo - USAF Photo by Ken LaRock

  1. Most produced supersonic jet of all time

Image from Palm Springs Air Museum

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the MiG-21 is the most-produced jet-powered military aircraft in the world with almost 14,000 models produced. It has been flown by over 60 different countries across four continents, giving it a lot of different nicknames like the Fishbed, Balalaika, Silver Swallow, and The Pencil.

  1. It has a sharp nose

USAF Photo by Ken LaRock

Its semi-monocoque fuselage features an elliptical profile that is accentuated by its sharp nose. The nose has an inlet cone that would regulate airflow into the engine, much like how the SR-71 does. It’s also pretty lightweight, with a top speed of around Mach 2. 

  1. Still used today

USAF Photo by Ken LaRock

Introduced in 1959, the MiG-21 and its many variants are still being used by several Air Forces across the world. This includes Chinese Chengdu J-7/F-7s, which were licensed manufactured versions of the MiG-21.

Interestingly, Romania recently retired their MiG-21s earlier this year on May 15, 2023.


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