Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 is a jet fighter aircraft developed by Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB for the Soviet Union. The MiG-15 was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, and achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where, early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in most applications.

  • 2 x NR-23 23mm cannons in lower left fuselage
  • 1 x Nudelman N-37 37 mm cannon in lower right fuselage
  • 2 x 220 lb. bombs, drop tanks, or unguided rockets on underwing hardpoints

Clacton on Sea Air Show Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

On November 30, 1950, at 0720 hours (local) during a raid on the North Korean Air Base at Namsi, an American B-29 Superfortress was hit by cannon fire from an aircraft that flashed by so fast, the gunners had no chance to return fire. Luckily the damage was confined to the outer port wing of the Superfortress and it immediately turned back toward its base. F-80C “Shooting Stars” which were escorting the B-29’s tried to engage the interloper but were left in the dust as the stranger turned northeast toward the Yalu River. The Americans had not even had time to identify the nationality of the craft, and though a couple of F-80 pilots got a fleeting glance at the silhouette, intelligence officers at the debriefing were unable to identify the craft except to say it was jet powered. F-80 pilots estimated the craft was approximately 85 mph (136.8 kph) faster than the Shooting Star. Damage to the B-29 indicated the craft carried at least one 37mm cannon and probably another, smaller cannon. This was the debut of the “MiG-15” and USAF brass viewed the development with what was described as “organized panic”, from Korea all the way to the Pentagon.

Thursday 25th & Friday 26th August 2016
West Greensward, Clacton Seafront, CO15 1NW
Event opening times: 11.00am – 9.00pm (Thursday only) & 11.00am to 5.00pm Friday.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15

MiG-15 Operational History

The first upgrade to the aircraft came in 1950, with the arrival of the MiG-15bis. While the aircraft contained numerous minor improvements, it also possessed the new Klimov VK-1 engine and external hardpoints for rockets and bombs. Widely exported, the Soviet Union provided the new aircraft to the People’s Republic of China. First seeing combat at the end of the Chinese Civil War, the MiG-15 was flown by Soviet pilots from the 50th IAD. The aircraft scored its first kill on April 28, 1950, when one downed a Nationalist Chinese P-38 Lightning.

With the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the North Koreans began operations flying a variety of piston-engine fighters. These were soon swept from the sky by American jets and B-29 formations began a systematic aerial campaign against the North Koreans. With the Chinese entry into the conflict, the MiG-15 began to appear in the skies over Korea. Quickly proving superior to straight-wing American jets such as the F-80 and F-84 Thunderjet, the MiG-15 temporarily gave the Chinese the advantage in the air and ultimately forced United Nations forces to halt daylight bombing.   MiG Alley:   The MiG-15’s arrival compelled the US Air Force to begin deploying the new F-86 Sabre to Korea. Arriving on the scene, the Sabre restored balance to the air war. In comparison, the F-86 could out dive and out turn the MiG-15, but was inferior in rate of climb, ceiling, and acceleration. Though the Sabre was a more stable gun platform, the MiG-15’s all-cannon armament was more effective than the American aircraft’s six .50 cal. machine guns. In addition, the MiG benefited from the rugged construction typical of Russian aircraft which made it difficult to bring down.   The most famous engagements involving the MiG-15 and F-86 occurred over northwestern North Korea in an area known a “MiG Alley.” In this area, Sabres and MiGs frequently dueled, making it the birthplace of jet vs. jet aerial combat. Throughout the conflict, many MiG-15s were covertly flown by experienced Soviet pilots. When encountering American opposition, these pilots often were evenly matched. As many of the American pilots were veterans of World War II, they tended to have the upper hand when facing MiGs flown by North Korean or Chinese pilots.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15