Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 

One of the most unpleasant surprises to face Allies during the Korean War (1950-1953) was the existence of the Soviet Union’s Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 jet fighter.  With its swept-wing design and hard-hitting cannon armament, its arrival in the combat zone in November 1950 made every other fighter in the conflict obsolete.  The MiG-15 was designed around a Soviet-built version of the Rolls-Royce Nene jet engine purchased from the British government and took advantage of German wartime engineering data on swept wings.  A MiG-15 flown by Soviet 1st Lt. Semyon Khominich scored the first jet-to-jet kill when he shot down an American F-80 Shooting Star over North Korea.

In order to counter the MiG-15, the U.S. Air Force rushed their only swept-wing fighter, the F-86 Sabre into combat in December 1950, as it was the one aircraft that could fight the MiGs on an equal basis.  The Allies were so concerned about the MiG-15 that they offered a $100,000 reward to any Soviet-Bloc pilot who would defect to the West with the jet.  North Korean pilot No Kum-Sok defected in 1953 giving the U.S. Air Force its first chance to fully evaluate the Mig-15 and develop tactics to fight it.  

 The MiG-15 served throughout the Cold War, equipping 40 air forces around the world and saw combat in Asia and the Middle East.  Many were built under license in China, Czechoslovakia and Poland, and a two-seat version was also created for pilot training.

This aircraft is on loan from the Vietnam War Flight Museum.  It was built in the Soviet Union and served with Chinese forces during the Korean War.
 

Quick Facts

Manufacturer: 
Mikoyan-Gurevich
Country: 
Soviet Union
Type: 
Fighter
Engine: 
One Klimov VK-1 turbojet
Maximum Speed: 
688 mph
Armamament: 
One 37mm cannon, two 23mm cannon, two 220 lb. bombs
Ceiling: 
50,840 ft.
Range: 
1,565 miles
Crew: 
1.00
Length: 
33 ft. 2in.
Wingspan: 
33 ft. 1 in.
Number built: 
~18,000

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