MiG 21F – Fishbed-C

The Mikoyan and Gurevich MiG 21F, NATO codename Fishbed-C, is a single-seat, supersonic, tailed delta jet fighter / interceptor of generally conventional conception: the most noticeable thing about it is the fact that it is not a very “clean” aircraft – there are bumps and excrescences everywhere, especially around the rear fuselage. Later versions have not improved in this respect. It was designed by Artem Mikoyan.

The MiG-21F power is provided by a Tumansky RD-11 F300 turbojet rated at 40.20 kN (9,500 lb) dry and 56.27 kN (12,500 lb) thrust with afterburning. The engine is fed via an intake in the fuselage nose, housing an adjustable centre-body moving automatically between three positions. Additional air for the engine is provided by suction relief intakes forward of the wing leading edge, while cooling of the reheat section is via small ducts in the rear fuselage.

The mid-positioned delta wing has a leading-edge sweepback of about 58′ and incorporates a small angle of anhedral. There is a leading-edge boundary layer fence near each wing-tip; the trailing-edge fences appear to house the flap-track mechanisms.

The oval-section fuselage of MiG-21F has area-ruling. The pilot is housed beneath a bubble canopy, which has an armoured windscreen and – rather unusually – opens by hinging forward about the base of the windscreen. When actuated, the ejection seat uses the cockpit canopy as protection against blast effects. Aft of the cockpit is a dorsal fuselage spine running to the base of the tail fin, which has a small fillet, giving the leading edge a kinked look. All tail surfaces are highly swept, the horizontal ones beine of the all-moving type. There is a large ventral fin.

All units of the tricycle undercarriage retract into the fuselage, the steerable nose-wheel moving forwards and upwards into its housing and the main wheels inwards. To reduce the landing run, a braking parachute is fitted, this being housed in the port lower rear fuselage with the cable attachment under the rear part of the ventral fin. When short-field take-off performance is required, two solid-fuel RATO (Rocket-Assisted Takc-Ofl) units can be attached to strong points under the rear fuselage.

Armament comprises one 30-mm cannon under the starboard side of the forward fuselage and two under-wing-mounted K-13 (NATO code-name “Atoll”) infrared air-to-air missiles. The K-13s can be replaced by two pods containing sixteen 55-mm rockets. A centrally-mounted stores pod can be mounted under the fuselage.

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