Polish MiG-21

Polish MiG- 21 s carried red serials, the first one or two digits indicating the production batch number and the final two the number of the aircraft in the batch. As can be seen from the serials, the fighters delivered to Poland were from the 12th, 20th, 22nd and 23rd production batches at Gor’kiy and from the 8th at Moscow. The first nine MiG-21 F-13s delivered went directly to the training facility at Modlin (CSL – Centrum Szkolenia Lotniczego), followed on 11 th January 1963 by the despatch of four to 62 PLM (Puk Lotnictwa Mysliwskiego – Fighter Regiment) at Poznari-Krzesiny, six to 1 PLM ‘Warszawa’ (Warsaw) at Mirisk-Mazowiecki near Warsaw on 14th January 1963 and the final six on 18th January 1963 to 11 PLM (later redesignated 9 PLM) at Dobrzno. When the more modern MiG-21 PF started to arrive in 1964, the MiG-21F-13s were redistributed, with up to four being allocated to each of the following regiments: 1 PLM. 3 PLM at Wroclaw-Strachowice AB, 11 PLM, 13 PLM at Laczyca, 26 PLM at Z?grze Pomorskie, 40 PLM at ¿¡widwin-Smardzko AB, 41 PLM at Malbork and 62 PLM.

From 1965 all MiG-21 F-13 on active duty were centralised at 4 PLM (later redesignated 2 PLM) at Goleniow.

By 1971 the regiment had nineteen on strength but at the end of the same year all had been withdrawn from service. Twelve service­able MiG-21 F-13s were later sold to the Syrian Air Force in October 1973.

All surviving MiG-21 PFs were retired on 11th December 1989. One example became a ground instructional airframe at the CSSTWL (‘Centrum Szkolenia Specjalistow Technicznych Wojsk Lotniczych – Air Force Technical Specialists’ Instruction and Training Centre) at Olesnica.

Altogether, 162 of the next variant, the MiG-21 PFM (izdeliye 94A and izdeliye 94N), were delivered to the Polish Air Force. It was, as previously noted, fitted with blown flaps, a broader tailfin and the new cruciform brake parachute relocated to a housing under the rudder. A new ejection seat, the KM-1, did not use the canopy to protect the pilot after ejection so a new design was used with a fixed windshield and a canopy opening to starboard. Late production batches were able to carry a GP-9 gun pod and the last twelve aircraft delivered were wired to carry a tactical nuclear bomb. To distinguish the nuclear-capable version (known at the OKB as izdeliye 94N) it was given the local designation MiG-21 PFMN which the Soviet Air Force did not use; the standard version was sometimes unofficially referred to as the MiG-21 PFMA, the ‘A’ reflecting izdeliye 94A.

Developed from the MiG-21 PFM, the MiG-21 R (izdeliye 94RA) reconnaissance air­craft heralded the third generation of the MiG-21. By virtue of its deeper and longer fuselage spine, a greater volume of fuel could be carried. Other changes included various types of reconnaissance pods carried singly under the fuselage, ECM equipment in wingtip fairings and a plain pitot tube offset to starboard on top of the nose; no gun was carried.

The MiG-21 M (izdeliye 96) was an export version of the MiG-21 SM with the lower-powered R11F2S-300 engine instead of the R13-300 and was assembled only at MMZ No. 30 ‘Znamya Truda’ in Moscow between 1968 and 1971. A batch of six arrived for 41 PLM at Malbork on 30th December 1969, followed by a further 18 in subsequent weeks, completing the regiment’s quota by March 1970. Meanwhile, 9 PLM at Dabrzno received twelve aircraft on 2nd March 1970. When this regiment was disbanded towards the end of 1988 its MiG-21 Ms were transferred to 2 PLM at Goleniow. In September 1993, when 2 PLM was, in its turn, disbanded its MiG-21 Ms were distributed between 1 PLM at Mihsk-Mazowiecki, 10 PLM at task and 41 PLM.

All surviving MiG-21 M were withdrawn from service in 2002.

The last fighter variant, the MiG-21 bis (izdeliye 75A), was produced solely at plant No. 21 in Gor’kiy from 1972 until 1985. By this time the construction numbers combined the initial digits 750 with the ‘famous last five’ of allegedly random numbers to hide the number of aircraft actually built. Deliveries of this fourth-generation MiG-21 to Poland began on 6th March 1980 when nine were delivered for 34 PLM at Gdynia- Babie Doly and ultimately a total of thirty-six was received by the regiment. Another thirty-six went to 26 PLM at Zagrze Pomorskie.

The type was finally withdrawn from use by the Navy on 31 st January 2003 and by the Air force on 31st December 2003.

The MiG-21 UM (izd. 69) was the final trainer version, instrumented and equipped to train pilots for third- and fourth-generation MiG-21 s. Between 1971 and 1981 the Polish Air Force received fifty-tour of this variant, which served with all regiments flying MiG-21 s during that period. This type was only built at plant No. 31 in Tbilisi.

The survivors were finally withdrawn from service on 31 st December 2003.

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