Egyptian MiG-21

Egyptian MiG 21 – The first MiG-21 F-13 (izdeliye 74) fighters arrived in June and July 1962 and equipped one Fighter Brigade, equivalent to a US Fighter Wing, comprising three squadrons. Another 80 were ordered in 1963 and followed in 1964 by 40 MiG-21 U (izdeliye 66) trainers and 40 MiG-21 PF (izdeliye 76) interceptors. The latter were sent to the Brigade that received the first supply of MiG-21 F-13s, which were passed on to replace MiG-17s and MiG-19s in other regiments. In 1965 there was a reorganisation of the Egyptian Air Force; the brigades and squadrons were renumbered and by the outbreak of the Six-Day War on 6th June 1967, the EAF had received 235 MiG-21 fighters and 40 trainers. In fact, according to Israeli sources, losses in training and transfers to other Arab Air Forces had reduced the number to an estimated 102. Arab sources suggest 108 so the agreement is remarkably good. During this war the EAF lost, according to most well informed sources, nearly 100 MiG-21 fighters of which about 70 were destroyed while on the ground.

It is believed that 120 MiG-21 F-13s were delivered and equipped squadrons in the 5th, 7th and 9th Air Brigades (AB): the AB numbers are those in use before the 1965 renumbering. Most of these MiG-21 F-13s were destroyed in the Six-Day War.

After the devastating losses suffered in the Six-Day War, the Warsaw Pact countries made an effort to replenish the stock of MiG-21 s as soon as possible and to this aim Czechoslovakia sent 26 new MiG-21 F-13s built by Aero- Vodochody under licence (formerly called S- 106).

The 40 MiG-21 PFs (izdeliye 76 Version A) delivered in 1964 were numbered 5401-5440; almost all of them were destroyed by the end of 1967 either in accidents or the Six-Day War and replaced shortly afterwards by more modern types.

Arriving in 1966, the 75 MiG-21 PFM (izdeliye 94A) were given serial numbers 5201-5275 and equipped four squadrons. Again, most of these aircraft had been destroyed by the end of the Six- Day War, after which no more than ten of the total of 235 MiG-21 fighters delivered were still extant.

The USSR and its allies made strenuous efforts to resupply the EAF and an undeclared number, reported to be 75, of MiG-21 PFS (izdeliye 94A) fighters were delivered around 1970, receiving the serials 8001 -8075. They were an intermediate step between the MiG-21 PF and MiG-21 PFM.

At least six MiG-21 RF reconnaissance aircraft were supplied and equipped 64 Squadron.

The Six-Day War left the EAF not only very short of aircraft but also desperately deficient in pilots trained to fly MiG-21 s. The air battles of the so-called War of Attrition which officially started in 1969, but began in fact shortly after the end of the Six-Day War, caused further losses.

Among the first replacements to arrive were twelve MiG-21 Ms (izdeliye 96), a downgraded export version of the MiG-21 SM. They received the serials 8301 to 8312; some reputable sources suggest these aircraft were MiG-21 MFs (izdeliye 96F). These fighters would be partic­ularly welcome as they carried a built-in twin barrel 23-mm cannon.

To help protect Egyptian cities and airfields from Israeli strikes the Soviet Union despatched five (some reputable sources state two) PVO regiments in early 1970 with MiG-21 MF (izdeliye 96F) fighters and a large number of S-125 (SA-3) surface-to-air missile brigades. One regiment was the 135th IAP PVO, which was based on several airfields to protect the area south of Cairo and others, whose designation has not been discovered, were located around the Nile delta. Their aircraft wore EAF markings for appear­ance’s sake, and when the Soviets left in July 1972, the surviving 94 fighters remained in Egypt. More MiG-21 MFs were delivered to the EAF itself, starting in 1970 or 1971, and 110 were reported to have arrived over the next few years, some after July 1972.

In 1964 forty MiG-21 U (izdeliye 66) trainers were acquired but their exact version (izdeliye 66-400 or 66-600) is not known. They carried the serials 5601-5640.

Other deliveries followed, including around 1970, a substantial number, believed to be 24, of MiG-21 US (izdeliye 68A) trainers, which were serialled 5641-5624. Some sources suggest some aircraft within this batch were MiG-21 UMs (izdeliye 69A). There were subsequent deliveries of MiG-21 UM. Two examples of the latter that have been photographed carried unusual serials (0642 and 4640); in the latter case the serial was apparently reused.

After Egypt turned to the Western Powers for the supply of aircraft, the American fighters were found to be a bit too expensive, and after trading in some MiG-23MFs for 40 Shenyang F-6 (Chinese-built MiG-19S) fighters in 1976 the EAF placed an order in 1980 for 80 Chengdu F-7B fighters. These licence-built developments of the MiG-21 F-13 received serial numbers 4501 -4580.

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