Hobby Master HA0147 Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21SMT "Fishbed-K" Fighter - Soviet Air Force Frontal Aviation Unit (1:72 Scale)
"Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!"
- First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Nikita Kruschev commenting on Capitalism
The MiG-21 saw frequent action in the Vietnam War and was one of the most advanced aircraft at the time. However, many North Vietnamese aces preferred flying the MiG-17, due to the high wing loading on the MiG-21's. With high wing loading, the MiG-21 was not as agile or manueverable as the MiG-17. Employing a delta wing configuration, it was the first successful Soviet aircraft combining fighter and interceptor in a single aircraft. It was a lightweight fighter, achieving Mach 2 speed using a relatively low-powered afterburning turbojet, and is thus comparable to the American F-104 Starfighter and French Dassault Mirage III.
It was also used extensively in the Middle East conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s, by the air forces of Egypt, Syria and Iraq against Israel. The plane was outclassed by the more modern F-15 Eagle (designed primarily to combat the Soviet MiG-25 "Foxbat"), which was acquired by Israel in the 1970s. The Indian Air Force has been one of the largest users of this plane after it was used in the 1971 war with good results. The war also witnessed the first supersonic air combat in the subcontinent when a MiG-21 shot down a F-104 Starfighter. It was also used as late as 1999 in the Kargil War with mixed results, and employed during the early stages of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but was soon outclassed by the newer MiG-23 and MiG-27.
Due to the lack of available information, early details of the MiG-21 were often confused with those of the similar Sukhoi fighters also under development. Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1960-1961 describes the "Fishbed" as a Sukhoi design, and uses an illustration of the Su-9 "Fishpot." MiG-21SMT. A development of the MiG-21SM, the MiG-21SMT featured increased fuel capacity. This variant is easily spotted thanks to its larger spine. The designation is derived from S = Sapfir (referring to the Sapfir-21/RP-22 radar). M = Modernizirovannyy ("Modernised") T = Toplivo ("Fuel," referring to increased fuel capacity)
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a MiG-21SMT served with a Soviet Air Force Frontal Aviation Unit during the Cold War.
Wingspan: 8 inches
Length: 3.75 inches
Release Date: August 2011
Historical Account: "Starburst" - After World War II, the Soviet Air Force was rearmed, strengthened and modern air doctrines were introduced. At its peak in the 1980s, it could deploy approximately 10,000 aircraft, and at the beginning of the 1990s the Soviet Union had an air force that in terms of quantity and quality fulfilled superpower standards.
During the Cold War, the VVS was divided into three segments: Strategic Aviation (
Dal'naya Aviatsiya or 'DA'), focused on long-range bombers; Frontal Aviation (Frontovaya Aviatsiya or 'FA'), focused on battlefield air defense, close air support, and interdiction; and Military Transport Aviation (Voenno-Transportnaya Aviatsiya or 'VTA'), which controlled all transport aircraft. The Air Defense Forces (Voyska protivovozdushnoy oborony or Voyska PVO), which focused on air defense and interceptor aircraft, was then a separate and distinct service within the Soviet military organization. A list of units and bases can be found here.
On September 1st, 1983, the Soviet Air Force shot down Korean Air Flight 007 after they correctly believed that the civilian airliner had illegally crossed into restricted Soviet airspace but mistook it for a spy plane. Previously Korean Airlines had once crossed into Kamchatka airspace, and had to make a emergency landing when a Air Force MiG fired on it. Soviet government officials finally admitted their mistake much to the anger of the South Korean and the United States governments.
The Russian Navy has its own independent air arm as well, the Naval Aviation (
Aviatsiya Voenno Morskogo Flota or 'AV-MF').