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Notice: This page is not subject to any update. For updated information please refer to the German pages of this website or the publications by the author.

In Serivce

Click on the roundels or select from the list to get more information about MiG-21's /
J-7's / F-7's service with the different countries:

Afghanistan (MiG-21), Albania (F-7), Algeria (MiG-21), Angola (MiG-21), Azerbaijan (MiG-21), Bangladesh (MiG-21, F-7), Bulgaria (MiG-21), Burkina Faso (MiG-21), Cambodia (MiG-21), China (J-7), Congo (MiG-21), Croatia (MiG-21), Cuba (MiG-21), Czechia (MiG-21), Czechoslovakia (MiG-21), East Germany (GDR) (MiG-21), Egypt (MiG-21, F-7), Ethiopia (MiG-21), Finland (MiG-21), Georgia (MiG-21), Germany (MiG-21), Guinea (MiG-21), Guinea Bissau (MiG-21), Hungary (MiG-21), India (MiG-21), Indonesia (MiG-21), Iran (MiG-21, F-7), Iraq (MiG-21, F-7), Kazakhstan (MiG-21), Kyrgyzstan (MiG-21), Laos (MiG-21), Libya (MiG-21), Madagascar (MiG-21), Mali (MiG-21), Mongolia (MiG-21), Mozambique (MiG-21), Myanmar (F-7), Namibia (MiG-21, F-7), Nigeria (MiG-21, F-7), North Korea (DPRK) (MiG-21, F-7), Pakistan (F-7), Poland (MiG-21), Romania (MiG-21), Russia (MiG-21), Serbia (MiG-21), Slovakia (MiG-21), Somalia (MiG-21), Sri Lanka (F-7), Sudan (MiG-21, F-7), Syria (MiG-21), Tanzania (MiG-21, F-7), Turkmenistan (MiG-21), Uganda (MiG-21), Ukraine (MiG-21), USSR (MiG-21), Vietnam (MiG-21), Yemen (MiG-21, F-7), Yugoslavia (MiG-21), Zambia (MiG-21) and Zimbabwe (F-7).



The MiG-21 flew or is still flying in more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. This figure includes also countries created as a result of partition of other countries. For more than 40 years the MiG-21 has been the backbone fighter of the air forces of former Warsaw Pact countries. When Poland, Czech and Hungary joined the NATO the MiG-21s of these countries became a part of the military alliance for that's repulse they once have been built.

Some MiG-21 users are looking for a successor or already have found it. Others modernized their MiG-21s to make them suitable for further use. In several air forces the MiG-21 survived their successors MiG-23 and MiG-29 or even replaced them.

And the recent introduction of the MiG-21 in Namibia shows the story of success goes on ...

 

 Republic of Afghanistan

After the renewal of the Soviet-Afghan nonaggression pact in 1955 Afghanistan received most of its military technology from the Soviet Union. The first MiG-21 arrived in 1974.

When pro-Soviet government lead by Babrak Karmal came into power in 1978 and after the Soviet invasion in 1979 weapons deliveries were increased. New MiG-21 versions found their way into Afghan Air Forces' inventory. During the ten year war MiG-21s were used by both the Soviet forces and the troops of the Afghan government. They were based among others at Bagram, Dshalalabad, Herat, Kandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif.

The withdrawal of the Soviet forces in 1989 was the beginning of the end of the pro-Soviet regime then lead by president Najibullah. In April 1992 the government was overthrown by the Mujaheddin and the Islamic State Afghanistan proclaimed.

 

 Islamic State Afghanistan

The new government took over the majority of Afghan Air Force's aircraft among them numerous MiG-21s. Due to the lack of spare parts most of them were not operational. Few MiG-21s found their way to the arsenals of local warlords.

Short time after the foundation of the new state a new civil war broke out. During the war MiG-21s mostly carried out ground attacks but also few air combats occurred. In late summer 1994 the radical-islamic Taliban appeared for the first time in the Afghan theatre. Coming from Pakistan they quickly pushed ahead and reached Kabul in March 1995. During their offensive they captured several combat aircraft. With support from Pakistan some of these aircraft - among them MiG-21 - were brought into flyable condition.

In September 1996 the Taliban overrun Kabul. They captured Bagram air base and all MiG-21 and Su-22 serving with the government air force. The troops of the overthrown government - later called the Northern Alliance - withdraw to Panshir valley where they were able to defend against the superior Taliban. At this time the Taliban not only controlled the biggest part of the country but also all remaining combat aircraft leaving the Northern Alliance with few helicopters.

During the last days of Taliban their air force was said to have only a handful operational MiG-21 and a equal number of non-operational aircraft. How many examples survived American air strikes is not known.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Socialist People's Republic Albania

Poverty and political isolation of Albania are reflected in the equipment of its air force. Until the middle of the sixties the Soviet Union was the most important weapon supplier. China took on this role later and delivered 12 F-7 to Lezha air base in November 1970.

The break with Beijing at end of the seventies led to the complete isolation of the country. After that no new systems were obtained at all.

 

 Republic of Albania

Today the inventory of the Forcat Ushtarake Ajore Shgipetare only consists of those aircraft which survived the years of isolation. Among them are only 10 F-7, since one each was lost in 1974 and in 1982. In the meantime the presumably last original F-7A were retired.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • F-7A

 

 Algeria

After the independence in 1962 Algeria orientated towards to the Soviet Union. Logically the Soviet Union equipped the Al-Quwwat Al Jawwiya Al Jaza'eriya (Algerian Air Force). Beside numerous other types (among them even MiG-25) more than 100 MiG-21 were delivered.

A little is known about their use. During the Six Day War in 1967 six Algerian MiG-21 are said to have mistakenly landed on El Arish air base already occupied by the Israelis. The aircraft were captured and then brought to the USA (according th other sources the aircraft involved were MiG-17). At the beginning of the eighties Algeria deployed MiG-21s in the border dispute with Morocco.

Economic problems, increased by the fight between government and Islamic fundamentalists and the simultaneous end of the Soviet support seemed to have been a reason for the retirement of all Algerian MiG-21 - estimations differ between 70 and 120 planes - and MiG-23 in 2000. As a substitute small quantities of MiG-29 and Su-24 were procured.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Angola

Since the independence in 1975 Angola with the help of the Soviet Union and Cuba fought bloody proxy wars against South Africa and the UNITA and FNLA rebels supported by the West. After the end of the cold war and the withdrawal of the military advisers the conflict turned into an inner-Angolan power struggle with South African mercenaries flying combat missions in Angolan Air Force MiG-23 against the UNITA.

Appropriate to its meaning as an outpost of the Soviet influence zone in Africa Angola has always been equipped very well with armament including about 100 MiG-21. These were used in missions against the rebels exclusively in the air-to-ground role and had to fear only the modest air defence means of the opponent. In the conflict with South Africa the pilots of the opposite side flying Mirage III and Mirage F-1, however, outmatched the Angolans by far. According to Russian sources three MiG-21 fell victim to the Mirages. Angolan MiG-21 are said to have shot down a South African Hercules transport aircraft on April 3rd, 1986.

MiG-21 which survived the long years of the war are still used by the Angolan Air Force. Their total number is considered to be below 20.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Bangladesh

One of the poorest countries of the world Bangladesh has an astonishingly big air force. After the splitting-off from Pakistan in 1971 the country immediately got military assistance from the Soviet Union, among others in the form of MiG-21MF and MiG-21UM. At the end of the eighties the MiG-21s were replaced by Chinese F-7s (13 F-7M and four FT-7). Despite the procurement of MiG-29 in the meantime these aircraft certainly will remain in service. Even the purchase of further F-7 allegedly is planned.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21UM
  • F-7MB
  • F-7BG
  • FT-7B
  • FT-7BG

 

 People's Republic of Bulgaria

An ally of Germany at the beginning of World War II Bulgaria turned towards the Soviet Union after a Soviet backed coup d'état in 1944 and started a "Patriotic War" against the former ally. From this time on aircraft of Soviet origin dominated the Bulgarian inventory.

In summer 1963 the first MiG-21F-13 arrived at Graf Ignatievo air base, where they replaced the MiG-19s of one squadron. MiG-21F-13 flew in reconnaissance role until 1988. In 1965 the MiG-21F-13 were followed by a batch of 12 MiG-21PF, which were flown until 1991.

In 1967 the MiG-21PFM was delivered. In 1977 / 78 Bulgaria received another - second-hand - 36 PFMs, which were handed over for free by the Soviet Union. Further two aircraft were acquired as ground instruction airframes in 1986. One of them was later brought into flyable condition. Very late - three single-seater versions were already in service - the first Bulgarian twin-seater, a MiG-21U, was delivered in 1968. This single aircraft was supplemented by MiG-21US in 1969, which were followed by another ones in 1970. In 1969 MiG-21R reconnaissance aircraft arrived. The MiG-21R served with the reconnaissance squadron until their retirement in 1995.

12 aircraft of the next version MiG-21M were delivered to Graf Ignatievo in 1969, where they replaced another squadron of MiG-19s. Further MiG-21M arrived in the following year. The Bulgarian MiG-21M were able to deliver nuclear bombs. Service life of the MiG-21M was the shortest of all Bulgarian MiG-21 versions with the retirement of the last one in 1990. In 1974 deliveries of the MiG-21UM started and lasted until 1982. These aircraft were followed by another used ones from the Soviet Union in 1990. Together with the MiG-21UM (according to other sources one year later) MiG-21MF arrived at Dobroslavtzi. A further batch went to Graf Ignatievo.

It was only between 1983 and 1985 when Bulgaria received its last and most numerous version, the MiG-21bis. A further batch of 36 second-hand aircraft the Soviet Union delivered together with the MiG-21UM mentioned above in 1990. Bulgaria received more than 200 MiG-21 of different versions. 150 of them were in service during the high time of the Bulgarian Air Force in the mid-eighties.

 

 Republic of Bulgaria

Since the political changes in Eastern and South Eastern Europe disarmament measures and economical problems led to reductions of the Bulgarian MiG-21 fleet. After the retirement of the earlier MiG-21 versions PF, PFM and M between 1990 and 1992 (the F-13s had reached the end of their service life in the late eighties and were - as mentioned above - withdrawn from use in 1988), the fleet suffered from further cuts. The MiG-21bis lost their nuclear capabilities. To escape the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty the gun sights and weapons pylons of some of the then surviving MiG-21UM were removed. A quantity of MiG-21PF, PFM, US, R and M as well as some F-13 were scrapped under the terms of the treaty. Others serve as museum exhibits or gate guards.

Attempts to sell the remaining MiG-21Ms had failed previously. The planned delivery of 12 MiG-21bis to Macedonia also did not materialize. Six MiG-21bis are said to have been sold - after an upgrade by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) - to Cambodia. Bulgaria hopes to sell up to 40 further aircraft. In 1995 / 96 some MiG-21MF were converted to reconnaissance aircraft as a replacement for the retired MiG-21R.

Today Bulgaria is among those countries which will use its MiG-21 for a longer period as they cannot afford a replacement. Current plans expect the MiG-21 to fly at least until 2008, while service until 2012 is possible. Despite this an upgrade of the remaining aircraft is unlikely because of the lack of funds. RAC MiG as well as IAI promoted their MiG-21-93 and MiG-21 2000 upgrade packages without success. Only 12 aircraft were fitted out with GPS receivers, transponders and new flight data recorders.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Burkina Faso (Upper Volta)

Burkina Faso is supposed to have had few MiG-21 which were used in the border dispute with Mali 1985. The aircraft were withdrawn from use in the meantime.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21bis

 

 People's Republic of Cambodia

More than 20 years after the end of the power of the Red Khmer Cambodia still suffers from the results of the wiping out campaign against the own population. Among the victims were also most pilots of the Cambodian Air Force, a bloodletting of which the small force hasn't recovered to this day.

Only in 1985, seven years after the fall of the China-supported Pol Pot regime it was possible to start the rebuild the Cambodian Air Force. This was done with assistance of Vietnam which had made the fall of the Red Khmer possibly with its military engagement and the Soviet Union. The latter delivered second-hand MiG-21bis and MiG-21UM from 1986 on.

 

 Kingdom of Cambodia

In 1992 the UNO brokered an armistice to end the civil war raging since the end of the Khmer rule. Extensive disarmament of the war parties was part of the agreements. So the (then sporadic) flying service of the MiG-21s ended and in accordance with the armistice agreement the aircraft were due to be scrapped. But that did not happen. Instead in 1996 the governments of Cambodia and Israel signed an agreement about the upgrade of 12 MiG-21bis and two MiG-21UM to MiG-21 2000 standard. The program has been considerably delayed or even was stopped completely because of insolvency of the Cambodians. According to unconfirmed reports at least some aircraft have been delivered, others were seen in Namibia (!).

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 People's Republic of China

Due to the strict secrecy kept by the Chinese armed forces little is known about the service of the J-7 with the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

The first batch of J-7I went into service with the PLAAF between 1965 (according to other sources 1967) and 1969. Because of the effects of the cultural revolution on all aspects of the social life the quantities remained low. It was only in 1972 when the production could be resumed. The PLAAF is said to have received J-7s in considerable quantities from 1976 on.

Detailed information about the quantities of the several versions and their home bases is, what at least concerns generally accessible sources, hard to get. There is also an information deficit regarding the use of the J-7 in combat. It seems that during the border war with Vietnam in 1979 the Chinese tried to avoid any air combat with the small but excellently trained Vietnamese Air Force.

Still today the J-7 is the most important combat aircraft of the Chinese Air Force and Navy as other types are available in smaller numbers only (J-8) or completely outdated (J-6 / MiG-19). Despite all modernization measures, like purchase or licence production of the Su-27 / 30 (J-11) and development of the J-10 it is to assume that China will remain the world's biggest MiG-21 operator for a longer period.

 

Versions in overview:

  • J-7I
  • J-7II
  • J-7III
  • J-7 E
  • JJ-7

 

 People's Republic of Congo

Today, the former People's Republic of Congo is called Republic of the Congo again (not to be mixed up with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the former Zaire). The country adopted a socialist course after its independence 1960 and received its weaponry from Soviet stocks consequentially. Part of deliveries were MiG-17s as well as MiG-21s in 1986.

The break-up of the Soviet Union had consequences also in Central Africa: the change of the political system and the lack of spare parts are the reasons that the round dozen of Congolese MiGs is not operational for a long time.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Cuba

Cuba was and is both the only socialist country of the Americas and the double continent's only MiG-21 user on the (apart from various MiG-21s from different sources tested by the USA). As a strategic outpost of the Soviet Union the country has got roughly the half of the entire Soviet foreign aid over many years.

A large portion of the support was given in form of weapons supply, especially after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces as a result of the Soviet-American agreements to end the Cuba crisis in 1962. During this time a Soviet MiG-21F-13 wing was based in Cuba to prevent the USAF from reconnaissance flights.

Starting with the F-13 all important MiG-21 variants were delivered to the Fuerza Aérea Revolucionaria. For a long time they formed the backbone of the Cuban Air Force. Because of Cuba's almost complete dependence on Soviet support and the tense economic situation caused by the cessation of this support it is not known how many of these machines are still operational.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Czechoslovakia

194 MiG-21F-13 from domestic production were put in service with the Czechoslovak Air Force between 1963 and 1972. This was a large number for a comparatively small force. Therefore the F-13 was flown by almost every unit for a long period.

In 1969 several aircraft were handed over to Egypt, followed by further ones that went to Syria in 1973. In accordance to the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) in the early nineties 98 MiG-21 and Su-7 combat aircraft were withdrawn from use, among them numerous F-13. The aircraft were concentrated at the bases Vodochody and Přerov. Until 1995 most of them were scrapped, others went to museums or were sold.

While production at Aero Vodochody was still running newer versions from the Soviet Union were delivered. The first subtype to be imported was the MiG-21PF that not reached the numbers of its predecessor. In 1964 the first aircraft arrived at Žatec air base. This version remained in service until 1990. Then the PFs - like the F-13 short time before - were transferred to Přerov and Vodochody respectively. Two aircraft were handed over to the museum in Kbely, another one to Bad Ischl (Austria). On September 10, 1990 the MiG-21PF 1304 was flown to the UK and handed over to the RAF Benevolent Fund.

The first 12 MiG-21PFM went in 1966 to the Bechyně-based regiment. In total four regiments used the PFM in the late eighties. The last MiG-21PFM flew in April 1991 to Vodochody storage center to be scrapped in accordance to the CFE treaty.

Deliveries of MiG-21R to the reconnaissance regiment in Pardubice started in 1969. More aircraft followed until 1971. The MiG-21R were still in service when Czechoslovakia was divided into Czechia and Slovakia. Accordingly in November 1992 a few aircraft were transferred by Slovak pilots to Malacky.

In 1969 the first MiG-21M (called MiG-21MA in the Czechoslovak Air Force) landed at Pardubice. Probably all further MiG-21M were delivered there too. This version also remained in service until the end of Czechoslovakia and the fleet was divided in late 1992 between the two successor countries.

From 1971 to 1975 then the Czechoslovak Air Force received the MiG-21MF which remained the main combat aircraft until today. Interestingly among these MFs were numerous of the transitional version to the MiG-21bis (in the East German Air Force called MF-75) while the MiG-21bis was not delivered to Czechoslovakia. Deliveries, like those of the previous versions, took place simultaneously to those to the GDR (East Germany) and Poland.

Beginning with the second MiG-21 generation together with the combat aircraft twin-seated trainers were delivered. In 1965 / 66 arrived MiG-21U followed by MiG-21US from 1968 to 1970. The purchase of MiG-21 was completed from 1971 to 1978 by twin-seaters of the UM version. The last flight of a U took place in 1990 at the training regiment in Přerov. After that the MiG-21U were transferred to Vodochody and stored.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13 (S-106 licence production)
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Czech Republic

Czechia not only took over the roundel of the divided Czechoslovak federation but also the majority of its 162 MiG-21s.

After the partition of the country on January 1, 1993 a period of massive reduction and restructuring of the Czech air force started. On May 31, 1993 the bases Bechyně and Hradec Králové were closed, followed by Žatec on December 31, 1993 and Přerov. Only the MiG-21 units at Čáslav, Mosnov and Přerov remained. At these bases the MiG-21 of the disbanded units were concentrated. Following further restructuring in early 1994 MiG-21 were only based at Čáslav.

With Czechia's entry into NATO it became necessary to make equipment and organization compatible to the new structures. In 1995 it was reported about a planned upgrade of 24 MiG-21MF. In the meantime the programme was completely stopped. Despite all budget restrictions Czechia then favourited new aircraft and planned to acquire not only the indigenous L-159 ALCA but also a modern multi-role combat aircraft.

As a stop gap measure 10 MiG-21MF were subject to a limited avionics upgrade, comprising new comms and IFF (identification friend or foe). However, radar and armament remained unchanged so that these aircraft did not meet today's requirements. After the acquisition of the Saab JAS-39 Gripen on July 12, 2005 the official withdrawal of the MiG-21 from Czech Air Force service took place.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Slovak Republic

Slovakia got 70 MiG-21 from the remains of Czechoslovakia. Main problem of the new Slovak Air Force created on January 1, 1993 was the lack of suitable airfields for its aircraft. By extensive measures the former Soviet airfields at Sliač and the base Kuchyna-Malacky were prepared for basing complete wings.

Already in 1995 21 MiG-21 were withdrawn from use in accordance to European disarmament treaties. They were either scrapped or demilitarized and exhibited. Among them were all MiG-21R which are replaced by specially equipped Su-22. Before at least one MiG-21MF was handed over to the RAF Benevolent Fund.

After that number and operability of the Slovak MiG-21 permanently declined. In August 2001 the author counted in Sliač eight MiG-21MF one US und two UM. All were in long-time storage and said to be operational. In late 2002 the complete MiG-21 fleet was retired without prior announcement.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Egypt

belongs to the countries that gathered the most comprehensive combat experience using the MiG-21. During the wars against Israel the MiG-21 was the spearhead of the Egypt Air Force.

Since the Suez conflict in 1956 Egypt was massively supported by the Soviet Union and their allies with arms and advisors. From the early 1960's among the deliveries were also Soviet and Czech built MiG-21s. In the beginning of the 1967 war most of these aircraft were destroyed on the ground by the Israelis during their surprise attacks. More aircraft were lost due to the superiority of the Israeli pilots in the air.

After the war new aircraft - among them MiG-21s of newer versions - compensated the losses. Beside this tactics and infrastructure were improved, so that Egypt was much better prepared for the Yom Kippur war in 1973. But the Israelis kept the air superiority. Their heavy losses were caused mainly by the Arab surface-to-air missiles.

Growing mistrust between Egypt and its main weapons supplier - starting with the throw out of the Soviet advisors in 1972 - then stopped the deliveries of MiG-21. Despite this Egypt received later further MiG-21s in form of Chinese F-7B. Some of this aircraft together with a number of MiG-21MF / UM are still in service but are due to be replaced by the F-16 soon.

In 1970's and early 1980's the Egyptian MiG-21s were subject to several upgrade programs set up with Soviet and later Western help. It is an interesting fact that Egypt was the sole country that fielded a recce version designated MiG-21RF. Unlike the MiG-21R with its external recce pod the RF carried its three cameras inside the fuselage below the cockpit.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF / FL
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21RF
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21UM
  • F-7B

 

 Ethiopia

During the era of Mengistu Haile Mariam Ethiopia received MiG-21s of PFM, R, MF and bis version as well as some UM twin-seaters. These aircraft were used in several conflicts, one of them the clash with the neighboring Somalia in 1977, when both sides flew MiG-21s. Since then Ethiopia has acquired more modern types (among them Su-27). But the economical situation of the country and the skills of the pilots (the Su-27 are said to be flown by pilots from CIS) do not allow a complete re-equip of the air force.

For that reason the MiG-21s remain a important part of Ethiopian air power. This fact is underlined by their extensive use in the 1998 war against the Eritrea. To give the surviving MiG-21s a new lease of life Ethiopia and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) signed in 1995 an agreement about the overhaul of a number of MiG-21. After a later order of MiG-21s in Romania IAI cancelled the agreement. The Romanian aircraft were to be upgraded by Aerostar / Elbit to LanceR standard prior delivery. Due to the war against Eritrea the contract was at least postponed. Nothing is known about a delivery in the meantime.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Eritrea

After Eritrea had been dismissed in the independence by Ethiopia at the beginning of the nineties some ex-Ethiopian MiG-21s remained there in non-airworthy condition. The country was said to have received six MiG-21 from Moldova in 2000. Of which version these were and whether the aircraft are operational is not known.

 

Versions in overview:

  • ?

 

 Finland

was the only non-socialist country of Europe which used the MiG-21. The countries policy of neutrality during the cold war manifested itself among others in the obtaining of both western and Soviet weapon systems. De Havilland Vampires and the Folland Gnats were followed by first generation MiG-21s. After the MiG-21 the Saab 35 Draken was put into service then followed by the MiG-21bis.

Coming from the Soviet Union the first MiG-21F-13s arrived at Kuopio Rissala in 1963, further ones until November of the same year. Some went to the Luonetjärvi wing where they remained until the introduction of the Saab 35 in 1972. Some aircraft were transferred to the Tikkakoski based air reconnaissance squadron in 1980. There they flew until 1986. For education purposes U-400 twin-seaters were obtained which arrived in Rissala in 1965. Their service ended in 1981. To reinforce the training capacities the Ilmavoimat (Finnish Air Force) purchased further trainers of the then state-of-the-art version UM in 1974.

From 1978 on the MiG-21bis replaced the F-13 at the HavLLv (fighter wing) 31 in Rissala. While the first aircraft arrived on September, 21st of the same year the first larger delivery took place only in 1980. The procurement was completed with a last batch of MiG-21bis reaching Finland in 1985 and 1986. These should belong to the last MiG-21s which were delivered at all. Some MiG-21bis were retrofitted to reconnaissance planes MiG-21bisT, externally recognizable by their wing tip containers similar to those of the MiG-21R.

Together with the MiG-21bis further MiG-21UM were bought in 1981, differing from the first batch in being fitted with the R13 engine. The first batch aircraft was retrofitted with this engine later.

Finnish pilots and technicians should have belonged to the best ones in the MiG-21 community. The author had the chance to convince himself of the high skills of the pilots as well of the excellent maintenance state of the planes. The complete maintenance was carried out in the country by VALMET. Spare parts are said to have been obtained from the GDR.

The decision to buy the F-18 Hornet in 1992 was the beginning of the end of the Finnish MiG-21s. Their final retirement was celebrated with a large-scale farewell party at Kuopio Rissala base on March 7, 1998. According to Finnish officials all planes had reached the end of their service life and were scrapped except for some exhibition samples.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21UM

 

 German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

Since the middle of the sixties the MiG-21 was the most important fighter aircraft of the Air Forces / Air Defence (LSK/LV) of the GDR. All six fighter wings of the NVA (East German Armed Forces) were equipped with the MiG-21 completely or at least for a longer period. The MiG-21 moreover was flown by two tactical reconnaissance squadrons (TAS) and one training wing (FAG). In the middle of the cold war the East German MiG-21 fleet comprised of about 400 aircraft.

The first MiG-21F-13 arrived in late May 1962 at the Marxwalde based JG-8 (8th fighter wing) and on June 20th the first MiG-21 with the national insignia of the GDR took off. Beside the JG-8 the JG-9 at Peenemuende and the JG-3 at Preschen got a total of 75 first-generation MiG-21s. They remained in service until 1978 and 1985 respectively.

While deliveries of the F-13 were still going on the JG-8 received the first MiG-21PFs in March 1964. The LSK/LV (East German Air Force) got 53 PF which were operational until 1986 and 1988 respectively. In April 1965 the first MiG-21U arrived at FAG-15 (training wing) at Rothenburg. Deliveries lasted until July 1967 and comprised 45 aircraft which also went to the fighter wings 1, 3, 7, 8 and 9. Procurement of the MiG-21 was continued with the MiG-21PFM. Until June 1968 the LSK/LV received 134 aircraft of this version called SPS / SPS-K (SPS: blown flaps, -K: with gun) which thus became the most numerous combat aircraft in its inventory.

The number of twin-seaters in East German service was increased by the first MiG-21US in December 1968. 17 aircraft of this version were procured until August 1970 - simultaneously with the deliveries of third generation MiG-21M beginning in July 1969. Until December 1970 the NVA (East German Armed Forces) received 87 MiG-21M. 12 of these aircraft belonging to the JG-8 were handed over to the air force of Syria in 1973.

In June 1971 the completion of MiG-21 training aircraft fleet starts with the procurement of the MiG-21UM. This takes until March 1978 and comprises 37 aircraft - making the UM the most numerous MiG-21 twin-seater in East German service. In April 1972 the JG-3 is the first fighter wing to get 14 MiG-21MF equipping one squadron. Until the end of the deliveries 62 MF arrived in the GDR. The last few aircraft belonged to the transitional version MF-75.

The introduction of the fourth-generation MiG-21 started with the arrival of 14 MiG-21bis LASUR at JG-9 in October 1975. All further MiG-21bis taken over by the NVA were of the SAU (RSBN) version. First aircraft entered service with JG-8 in July 1976. The acceptance of the last of 32 MiG-21bis by the JG-8 in May 1978 marked the end of MiG-21 procurement by the NVA.

As a part of a political initiative of the Warsaw treaty members 50 MiG-21PFM were withdrawn from use in autumn 1989. The last planned retirement of NVA aircraft took place in May 1990 when eight twin-seaters MiG-21U-400 of the FAG-15 - the last aircraft equipped with the SK ejection seat - were sorted out. Thus on October 3, 1990 251 MiG-21 of several versions went to the inventory of the Bundeswehr (Federal Army of Germany). 24 SPS, 21 SPS-K, 56 M, 47 MF, 14 bis LASUR, 27 bis SAU, 13 U, 13 US und 36 UM.

 

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 MiG-21 bases at GDR territory

 

 Federal Republic of Germany

Already prior the German reunification the (West German) ministry of defence and the Bundeswehr pointed out that there will be no service of the MiG-21 with the Bundesluftwaffe (German Air Force). On September 25, 1992 at Elbe-Flugzeugwerke Dresden the scrapping of the MiG-21 started using the experiences made with the aircraft retired in 1989. Destroying a single aircraft cost 50.000 German Marks! Numerous aircraft were handed over to museums and private individuals in Germany and abroad and thus preserved.

 

 

 Guinea

The former French colony became independently after a referendum in 1958. Beside this little is known about the country and its MiG-21s. Probably five MiG-21PFM are or were on strength.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM

 

 Guinea-Bissau

The Portuguese colony became a republic in 1973. In the subsequent year the colonial power recognized the independence of the small country in West Africa. There are only few facts known about the air force of Guinea Bissau. Allegedly they are supposed to have had up to ten MiG-21MF and one twin-seater MiG-21UM. Only information about MiG-17 in the inventory is confirmed. These were delivered 1980 by the GDR (East Germany).

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21UM

 

 People's Republic of Hungary

The Hungarian Air Force - after the Bulgarian the smallest of the Warsaw Treaty - got the first MiG-21F-13s in 1961. These went to the 47th fighter regiment at Pápa. One year later the 31st regiment at Taszár and again the unit at Pápa received MiG-21s of this version. In 1963 further aircraft were delivered to Taszár. The F-13s remained in service until 1980.

In 1964 MiG-21PF arrived at Pápa, while Pápa-based F-13s were handed-over to Taszár. More PFs found their way to Taszár in 1965. The last PF was withdrawn from use on December 21, 1988. Together with the PF MiG-21U-400 and U-600 twin-seaters were delivered which remained in service until 1997.

It took several years until the arrival of further MiG-21s. In 1971 47th fighter regiment got the first MiG-21MF. More MiG-21MF completed the re-equipping of the Pápa unit with the new version in 1974. The surplus F-13s were sent to the 59th fighter regiment at Kecskemet. The planes of the final delivery then went to Taszár, where they replaced the MiG-19PM retired in 1973. The last MiG-21MF were put in storage at Pápa in 1997. Simultaneously to the MF the first MiG-21UM trainers were delivered, while the last ones arrived only in the eighties.

In 1975 deliveries of latest version MiG-21bis to the Hungarian Air Force started. The bis was also the most numerous version acquired in in Hungarian service. This time the first aicraft did not go to Pápa but to Taszár. In 1977 Pápa received MiG-21bis of the SAU subversion. In 1978 MiG-21bis SAU were delivered to both Taszár and Pápa again.

When the MF and later the MiG-21bis arrived the then oldest aircraft (PF and MF respectively) were handed over to Kecskemet.

 

 Republic of Hungary

Hungary still had a quite impressive MiG-21 fleet in 1993. But already during the rule of the communist party the country facing growing foreign debts had started to reduce its armed forces expenditure. This process accelerated after the political changes in Eastern Europe. Part of the measures were the scrapping of some MiG-21s as well as the concentration of all MiG-21s from Taszár (where U.S. Air Force established a forward supply base) and Kecskemét (where only the MiG-29 remained) at Pápa.

After MiG-21MF's and MiG-23's last flight on December 4, 1996 and the end of Su-22's flying service in early 1997, Hungary announced in spring 2000 the withdrawal of the MiG-21 fleet and the closure of several bases in the year 2001.

Due to growing financial problems the retirement was moved up and sealed with a large-scale farewell event on August 24, 2000. Now only 26 MiG-29 are available for the protection of the Hungarian airspace. The retired aircraft of bis and UM version were due to be scrapped. As they had many airframe hours left the decision was revised, however, so that there is hope for a second career.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21UM

 

 India

Since its independence in 1947 the biggest democracy of the world as India likes to describe itself is caught between the claim to be a high-technology nation and the poverty and backwardness of a large portion of its population. The problems of the country were and are intensified by several military conflicts primarily with neighbor and arch-enemy Pakistan.

During the cold war India took a leading role in the movement of the non-aligned states. This position manifested itself also in the armour procuring policy. Weapons were obtained from the former colonial power Great Britain from France and for a considerable part from the Soviet Union.

While the first plans for the procurement of Soviet fighter aircraft date back to the middle of the fifties, it was - typical of India - only in 1963 when the first MiG-21F-13s went into service.

The second MiG-21 generation was to be delivered from license production which India had agreed on with the USSR in 1962. As license production was considerably delayed, however, more MiG-21 FLs were imported from the Soviet Union in 1965. Between 1967 and 1973 the Indian Air Force got MiG-21FLs from indigenous production.

Things repeated for the successor version MiG-21M: the start of the series manufacturing was delayed and the purchase of complete airplanes from the USSR became necessary. In 1973 India obtained MiG-21MF for two squadrons from the Soviet Union. After that and until 1981 the Indian Air Force got MiG-21M from local production. Simultaneously with the first Indian-made MiG-21Ms MiG-21bis were delivered by the USSR. From 1977 on these were followed by license built MiG-21bis, which were delivered until 1984. The MiG-21bis replaced the FLs in front line service. Today the FL is used primarily for training purposes.

As pilot's level of training did not permit combat missions the role of the Indian MiG-21s during the conflict with Pakistan in 1965 was purely passive. Their time then had come in the Indo-Pakistani war in 1971. Against Pakistani and Jordanian F-104s they performed very well. The loss figures given by the two sides are very contradictory, however, and still require an detailed examination.

Today, after China India is still the world's biggest MiG-21 user. Of the license built and Soviet made MiG-21s still more than 300 are operational. Despite high loss rates especially of this type it will remain in service for some time to come. Recently the first of 125 upgraded MiG-21s went into service. Indian Air Force expects the MiG-21 to fly until 2010.

 

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21FL
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21bis UPG / Bison
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Indonesia

The deployment of the MiG-21 was only a short episode in the history of the Angkatan Udara republic of Indonesia (former name of the Indonesian Air Force).

At the beginning of the sixties Indonesia under its president Sukarno approached to the Soviet Union, which then became the most important weapon supplier of Indonesia. Approximately 20 MiG-21F-13 of the same export version which India received were part of the deliveries. These aircraft were used during the conflicts with the former colonial power Netherlands and the neighbor Malaysia.

With the assumption of power by general Suharto 1965 Indonesia turned to the west again. Lack of spare parts soon prevented the MiG-21 fleet from flying. Some aircraft are said to have been passed on to Pakistan, others were scrapped. At least one plane is exhibited publicly in Indonesia.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21U

 

 Iran

As a reliable ally of the USA the Iran during the power of the Shah got most of its military technology from US sources. The military strategic importance of the country and its financial power made it possible that the Imperial Iranian Air Force became one of the largest F-4 Phantom II operators and the only one that flew F-14 Tomcats outside the USA. With the Islamic revolution in 1979 the military cooperation with the USA ended abruptly. Advisers were withdrawn, spare part deliveries stopped. Notwithstanding this Iran managed to keep most of its flying arsenal operational by building up indigenous maintenance capabilities (and with foreign support). Iran's airpower was deployed successfully in the war against Iraq.

As a result of the revolution besides the regular army a second military power was created in Iran - the Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran). This formation tried to establish its own air force. As all flying assets, however, were in the hands of the air force (IRIAF), army and navy, it was necessary to purchase the airplanes needed from abroad. In the late eighties an agreement on the delivery of MiG-21PFs and MiG-21Us was signed between Iran and the GDR (East Germany). The German reunification stopped the deal. Two twin-seaters are said to have reached Iran. Whether these have flown after that is not known. All other aircraft were scrapped later. Instead in the late eighties / early nineties F-7Ms and FT-7s were bought from China. Main reasons for selecting this type (as for the East German PFs) may have been the comparatively low price and simple technology.

During the Gulf War Iran also came into possession of Soviet-made MiG-21s: more than 100 Iraqi combat aircraft, among others a few MiG-21s, were flown to the neighboring country at the beginning of the clashes. After the war Iran refused to return the aircraft. According to unconfirmed sources the Taliban opponents in Afghanistan have got some of these in 1997.

While the ex-Iraqi aircraft were never displayed in public, the F-7s were shown at some exhibitions. In the meantime all aircraft are said to have been transferred from the Revolutionary Guards to the IRIAF, which used them for subordinate tasks (e.g. as targets). Maybe the F-7s were retired recently.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21U
  • F-7M
  • FT-7

 

 Iraq

Over many years the Iraq was seen by East and West as a representative in the Gulf region and therefore supported massively. Especially during the bloody and ruinous war with Iran from 1980 to 1988 the Iraq could be sure of general support, also from the USA. Accordingly the flying arsenal of the country logically consists of a mixture of a western equipment (mostly of French origin) and Soviet technology, among it numerous MiG-21s. In addition in the early eighties the Iraq received Chinese F-7Bs via Egypt.

These aircraft were flown both in the air-to-air role against Iranian F-4, F-5 and F-14 and in air-to-ground missions. With the invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent gulf war the situation changed radically - an embargo prevented further large-scale procurements. At the beginning of the struggles Iraq was said to have more than 200 MiG-21s in its inventory. A handful of them was shot down. The losses did not amount higher as the Iraqis tried to hide their aircraft instead of sending them in a hopeless fight against a far superior (by number and technology) enemy. Beside this thanks to skillful camouflage only few MiG-21s have been destroyed on the ground.

It is very likely that Iraq still has available MiG-21s / F-7s. However, the operability of these aircraft is questionable as an embargo prevents the Iraq from having its aircraft overhauled abroad. Some aircraft which were sent to Dresden aircraft repair factory (Germany) at the beginning of the nineties and were not allowed to be delivered because of the war have been scrapped there.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21FL
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM
  • F-7B
  • F-7M
  • FT-7

 

 Laos

Due to its location in the heart of Southeast Asia between China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand Laos much had to suffer from conflicts that occurred in, with and between the neighboring countries. With the defeat of the USA in the Vietnam war its influence on Laos ended. With Vietnamese help a socialist government was established which is still in power today.

In seventies and eighties the Laotian Air Force received few MiG-21s. With the end of Soviet and Vietnamese support in the early nineties the operational readiness of these machines declined rapidly. Plans to have the surviving MiG-21s overhauled and upgraded by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) (India) failed because of the bad technical condition of the aircraft which have reached the end of their service life according to Russian experts.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Libya

was once an Italian colony and gained independence as the United Libyan Kingdom in 1951. The king was dethroned in a military coup d'état in 1969. Power was seized by a revolutionary command council under the leadership of Moamar al-Ghaddafi, who developed into one of the most charismatic figures of world politics. A uncompromising anti-American and anti-Israeli policy since then involved the country in numerous (also military) conflicts and influenced its development decisively. For many years an UN embargo imposed under US pressure has weighed heavily on the Socialist Libyan Arabian People's Yamahiriya (the official state name since 1977).

Rich sources of high quality oil permitted Libya to make extensive purchases of weapons from East and West during the seventies and eighties. Main suppliers were France and - of course - the Soviet Union. The latter delivered among others Tu-22, MiG-25 and Su-24 but also some MiG-21. However, their quantity remained - probably due to an already available larger number of Mirages - comparatively low.

Whether the Libyan MiG-21s were used during the conflicts with Egypt in 1977 and the Chad in 1986/87 is uncertain. The aircraft involved in the spectacular clashes with US F-14 over the Mediterranean in the eighties were MiG-23s and and Su-22s but no MiG-21s. Today the operational readiness of the Libyan Air Force is said to be relatively low. In 1999 it was reported that Libya plans the modernization of its aircraft to MiG-21-93 standard. Is not known whether concrete agreements were signed in the meantime.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Madagascar

In the middle of the seventies the former French colony under its president Ratsiraka orientated towards to the socialist countries. Consequentially it received some MiG-21 operated with North Korean support.

Today the MiGs of the Tafika Anabakabaka Malagasy (Madagascan Air Force) are stored near the capital Antananarivo. A modernization is planned, negotiations are going on with all important suppliers.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Mali

The former French colony in West Africa got independent in 1960 and adopted after this a socialist course.

The country is said to have MiG-21MF and MiG-21UM in its inventory, which are probably not operational.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Mongolian People's Republic

Straitjacketed between China and the Soviet Union the Mongolian PR was under Soviet influence since 1920. Until the beginning of the nineties a strong Soviet military contingent was stationed in the country which took over the tasks of national defence and protected the Mongolian PR from Chinas annexation plans.

Despite this the country always had its own forces with a flying component using equipment provided by the USSR since 1924. However, between 1953 and the end of the sixties the air force operated no fighter planes. Following intensified Chinese military activities the jet age started in Mongolia with the introduction of some MiG-17s and MiG-15UTIs in 1969. It took another 10 years until a small number of MiG-21PFM and MiG-21UM went into service.

As a result of the perestroika from the middle of the eighties on Soviet support was reduced step by step to dry up in 1990 completely. This was connected with the partly and finally complete withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Mongolia in late 1992. The lack of founds caused the grounding of all Mongolian military aircraft in 1993, among them the MiG-21s. In the meantime all planes were stored. In late 2001 Mongolia was said to have bought MiG-21 spare parts in Russia. This might be the first step for the reactivation of these aircraft.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Mozambique

After the independence of Portugal Mozambique's ruling FRELIMO party steered a tight socialist course. For many years a civil war against the government was fought by rebels supported by South Africa and the former South Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). To fight the rebels the country got among others MiG-17F fighter-bombers from the GDR and MiG-21s from the Soviet Union. Nothing is known about today's condition of the machines.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21MF / bis

 

 Myanmar

The country located between India, China, Laos and Thailand which was in the past called Burma became independent of Great Britain in 1948. The agrarian state has various mineral resources which it is, however, hardly able to exploit. Since the end of the fifties, there were several military governments in power which proclaimed a socialist course. A civil was fought in the country for a long time.

The country has very close military relations to China. In the nineties besides transport and training aircraft few F-7Ms and FT-7s were delivered by the neighbouring country.

 

Versions in overview:

  • F-7M
  • FT-7

 

 Namibia

Since 1918 the former German South West Africa was ministered by the South African Government. From the middle of the sixties the SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization) fought against the South Africans who had been a occupying rather than a protecting power. After an UN supervised election in 1989 the country gained independence in 1990.

Starting from 1994 with foreign support from countries like Libya, India, South Africa, China, Russia and USA an air force was developed but it remained part of the army. Only on March 13, 2005 the air force as a separate service was commissioned at Grootfontein Air Base. According to press reports, in the presence of president Nujoma among others a fly-past of two MiG-21s took place. As F-7NM were delivered from China in the meantime it is known whether the Namibian Air Force operates both types or the reports refer to the latter. Also there is no information available on the number of aircraft.

 

Versions in overview:

  • F-7NM

 

 Nigeria

The population and earth oil-rich country purchased MiG-21s of MF and UM version in the seventies. Some machines at present still exist and are to be either modernized or replaced by a new type.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)

North Korean armed forces have been massively supported with Soviet and Chinese weapon technology including - since the sixties - MiG-21s and F-7s. In its turn the DRPK military supported the Arab countries during the Yom Kippur war in 1973 with pilots and possibly also with airplanes.

Caused by the strict isolation of the country little is known about number and current state of North Korean MiG-21s and F-7s. However, it is to assume, that notwithstanding the bad economic situation of the country sufficiently material and personnel resources are available for the armed forces and that of the countries approximately 200 MiG-21 / F-7 a larger number is operational.

It was reported recently that Kazakhstan has delivered about 40 MiG-21s to North Korea via China.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21U / US
  • F-7B

 

 Pakistan

was founded by splitting-off the Muslim dominated north provinces of India in 1947. The conflict with the tall neighbor simmering since then influenced and still influences fundamentally the development of the country. Mostly equipped with American-made technology after the war with India 1965 Pakistan was forced by an embargo of the west to turn to other suppliers. The very close Soviet-Indian relations left only China as a possible candidate. After the delivery of larger quantities of F-6s (MiG-19) from the sixties onwards and A-5s (modified fighter-bomber version of the MiG-19) it was only logical that Pakistan also added the successor, the F-7, in its inventory.

The first aircraft (F-7P, FT-7P) arrived in Pakistan in August 1988. Together with with a handful of F-16s and a strong fleet of second-hand Mirage III they form the backbone of the Pakistan Air Force. Since the middle of the nineties Pakistan received the version F-7MP which differs from the F-7P in having an Italian FIAR Grifo radar and numerous further modifications in avionics.

In 1999 first reports were published on Pakistani plans to procure 50 (according to other sources 80) aircraft of the successor model F-7MG. The introduction of the first batch of the so called F-7PG made possible the retirement of the last F-6s in March 2002. Because of the close relations between China and Pakistan which - among others - led to common development of the K-8 Karakorum jet trainer it is to assume that further deliveries will follow.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • F-7P
  • F-7PG
  • FT-7P
  • FT-7PG

 

 People's Republic of Poland

The first MiG-21F-13 arrived in the People's Republic of Poland in the middle of 1961. Previous agreements on a licence production of this version were cancelled by the Soviet government due to raising tensions between Moscow and Warsaw. It took more than one year until the arrival of MiG-21F-13 at the flight training centre at Modlin and the fighter regiments at Poznan-Krzesiny, Minsk-Masowiecki and Debrzno. In 1965 all F-13 were concentrated at Goleniow, where they were flown until their retirement in 1973. In the same year the last 12 operational aircraft were delivered to Syria.

In early 1964 deliveries of the MiG-21PF started. They lasted until 1965 and the number of aircraft was much higher. Also the service life was much longer with the last few aircraft retired in late 1989. At the same time six twin-seaters U-400 arrived, followed by five U-600. Both versions remained in service until 1990. Most numerous version in Polish Air Force inventory was the MiG-21PFM delivered from 1966 to 1968. While the first aircraft were already retired in 1989 as a result of the disarmament campaign of the Warsaw Pact, the last ones flew until early 1998 from Poznan-Krzesiny.

Only few day after the last PFM the first third-generation MiG-21 arrived in Poland - the MiG-21R. The regiments at Powidz and Sochaczew received these aircraft until 1972. In 1982 they were concentrated at Sochaczew. In late 1969 the first Polish MiG-21M arrived at Malbork. At the same time 12 second generation MiG-21US trainers arrived. The US were retired in the early nineties, the MiG-21M recently. The delivery period of the last twin-seater version UM was the longest of all Polish MiG-21s with aircraft delivered between 1971 und 1981. Most of them still remain in service. From December 1972 on the fighter regiments were equipped with MiG-21MF. This version replaced the MiG-19 at Slupsk. The last MF delivered in 1975 are of a transitional version with features of the MiG-21bis unofficially designated MF-75.

Deliveries of the fourth generation MiG-21 commenced very late in 1980. All Polish MiG-21bis were fitted with the LAZUR guiding system.

 

 Republic of Poland

Also in Poland the air force faced budget cuts from the early nineties on. This led to a reduction of the MiG-21 fleet. With the closure of Sochaczew base on December 31, 1997 the use of the MiG-21R in the recce role ended. The remaining aircraft were sent to Poznan-Krzesiny where they served together with the last MiG-21PFM in the training role. In the meantime they were retired.

MiG-21bis and MiG-21UM were sold to Uganda in 1999. Further UM went to private owners in the USA and in Australia. The MiG-21MF of the Poznan and Lask based wings were retired in early 2003. Almost at the same time flying service of the MiG-21bis with the Polish Naval Wing at Gdynia Babie Doly was ended. However, these aircraft remained in service at Poznan and Malbork. These two airfields were the last Polish MiG-21 bases.

In the early nineties there were reports about the upgrade of Polish MiG-21s with Western radars. These plans were scrapped later. Only some MiG-21bis were equipped with new IFF recognizable by new antennas under the nose and on the fin. When it joined NATO on March 12, 1999 Poland increased its efforts to bring the armed forces to NATO standard. For this reason in late 2002 Poland (with some pressure from the US) selected the F-16 as the future combat aircraft. 48 F-16 are due to be delivered between 2006 and 2008 and will - together with the German MiG-29 - replace the MiG-21s which were retired at the turn from 2003 to 2004.

 

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Socialist Republic of Romania

Despite a long time conflict with Moscow and its withdrawal from Warsaw Pact Romania received most of its military equipment from the Soviet Union, among them MiG-21.

The first 12 MiG-21F-13 arrived in 1962 at Timisora-Giarmata base. A second MiG-21F-13 squadron with ten aircraft was established at Constanta-Mihail Kogalniceanu. In 1968 the F-13 were handed over to the regiments at Caracal-Deveselu and Fetesti-Borcea (86th). The last MiG-21F-13 remained in service until 1993.

In 1965 deliveries of the MiG-21PF (designated RFM in Romania) started. In late sixties / early seventies further versions were delivered: MiG-21U in 1965, 1966 and 1968, MiG-21PFM (RFMM) from 1966 to 1968, MiG-21M and MiG-21US in 1969, MiG-21R (C) in 1968 and 1972 as well as MiG-21UM and MiG-21MF in 1971 (according to other sources in 1972). Beside the front line units also the flight training centre at Bacău received the MiG-21.

Unlike its socialist neighbor countries Romania did not get the final version MiG-21bis. Reason for that may be another conflict between the Soviet Union and Romania. A sign for the state of the relations between the two countries during that time is the fact that Romania allowed Chinese specialists in 1976 to analyze a MiG-21MF in detail.

The arrival of MiG-23MF from 1979 on did not change the role of the MiG-21 as the most important aircraft of the Forţele Aeriene Române.

 

 Romania

Main objective of Romanian foreign policy since the nineties was to join NATO. This required equipment compatible to the Western technology. As Romania could not afford new aircraft the government decided to intensively upgrade the MiG-21 fleet. Romania was the first country to do so. In cooperation with the Israeli company Elbit Romanian Aerostar factory in Bacău modified 110 MiG-21 with western avionics. First deliveries took place in May 1997.

75 of 100 modernized single-seater MiG-21M / MF are of the LanceR A version. 25 further examples were optimized for the air-to-air role. Beside this 10 twin-seaters MiG-21UM received the new equipment. With new weapon launchers the modernized aircraft can carry Russian and Western weapons. So it seems that the Lancers based at Bacău, Fetesti-Borcea (since 1998), Câmpia Turzii (since 2001) and Timisoara-Giarmata (since 2000) will form the backbone of Romanian Air Force for a longer period.

While the last MiG-21PF, PFM, U and US were withdrawn from use during the nineties the last not modified MiG-21MF and UM based at Caracal-Deveselu were retired only in 2001.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21M / MF LanceR A / C
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM
  • MiG-21UM LanceR B

 

 Somalia

Somalia emerged from British and Italian colonies and gained its independence in 1960. Already 1963 an agreement the Soviet Union was signed about the delivery of weapons in return for the Soviet use of Somali ports. The pro-Soviet attitude grew with the take-over of a High Revolutionary Council lead by Siad Barre in 1969.

After the conclusion of the treaty for friendship and cooperation between Somalia and the Soviet Union in 1974 deliveries of MiG-21s started.

In 1977 Somali troops invaded the Ethiopian province Ogaden to support the rebels fighting there against the central government and to assert own territorial claims. Because of the conflict in which MiG-21s were deployed by Ethiopia too, the Somali- Soviet relations were interrupted and the supplies of arms ended abruptly. All military advisers left the country. Ethiopia furthermore massively supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba gained the upper hand and drove all Somali troops of its territory.

Italy, the USA and China became Somalia's most important weapon suppliers after the end of the war. China among others helped to keep the surviving MiG-21 operational, but instead of its own MiG-21 derivate - the F-7 - the predecessor F-6 (MiG-19), was delivered.

With the fall of dictator Barre in 1991 the country was plunged into a civil war which devastated the complete infrastructure of the country including the inventory the Dayuuradaha Xoogga Dalka Somkaliyeed (Somali Air Force). Pictures taken during the time of the UN peace-keeping force in the country show numerous wrecks of Somali MiG-21s. Reports about an overhaul of some aircraft in South Africa could not be confirmed.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Sri Lanka

gained independence in 1948 short after the big neighbour India, but remained in the Commonwealth. In 1972 the Republic was proclaimed. Since the early eighties Sri Lanka fights a never ending war against Tamil separatists in the North and the East of the island.

For air support duties four F-7BS were procured from China in late 1991. Shortly before this a FT-7 trainer had arrived. At least one aircraft was lost in the meantime. Beside this due to the hot and humid climate the aircraft faced massive corrosion. As the F-7 is not well-suited for the air-to-ground role IA-58 Pucará and IAI Kfir C.2 were purchased from Argentina and Israel respectively during the recent years. At present the F-7BS are not operational. Their overhaul in Pakistan is planned.

 

Versions in overview:

  • F-7BS
  • F-7G
  • FT-7

 

 Sudan

The independence of the Republic of Sudan was proclaimed in 1956. Beginning with the revolutionary take-over in 1969 the country took a pro-Soviet course. This led to arms supplies, among them MiG-21s.

Later the country turned to the west. Today Sudan is an Islamic state which is supported by Iran primarily. The latter is said to have financed delivery of Chinese F-7 some time ago.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21US
  • F-7B

 

 Syria

maintained close military relations to the Soviet Union since the middle of the 1950s and was always equipped with the most modern equipment until the early nineties. From 1964 on MiG-21F-13s were part of the deliveries, followed by MiG-21PFs short time later.

For the first time the MiG-21 appeared on the Middle Eastern theater of war when Syrian machines shot down an Israeli Mirage III (probably in November 1965) over the Jordan. Arab victories remained, however, the exception. During the Six Days War in 1967 lots of Syrian (and Egyptian) MiGs were destroyed on the ground by surprising Israeli air strikes. The excellently trained and highly motivated Israeli pilots dominated also in the air.

After end of the war the losses of both sides were replaced by the superpowers as well as by friendly nations and the clashes continued. At the beginning of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 the Syrian Air Force had of more than 100 MiG-21 of F-13, PF, FL and MF version in its inventory. With this arsenal the allied Arabian states managed to take the initiative. Thanks to better training and equipment the kill-to-loss ratio was improved considerably compared to 1967. The Israeli pilots, however, kept their air superiority.

Again, the material losses were quickly compensated by the allies: besides the Soviet Union Czechoslovakia, the GDR (East Germany) and Poland (and possibly also other socialist countries) delivered MiG-21s from their stocks to Syria. And once again the hostilities went on in the Middle East. With the Israeli-Egyptian rapprochement and the camp David agreement in 1979 Syria becomes the spearhead of the Arab front against Israel. At that time in the Lebanon a military confrontation between the two countries develops which is very close to a war. Thanks to new technology (in form of F-15s and F-16s) and further improved training the Israelis have managed to inflict serious losses on the Syrians and to shoot down numerous MiG-21.

Since 1985 there were no further major air combats in the region. The collapse of the Soviet Union ended the influx of reasonable weapon systems in a large quantities and left Syria with 11 billion dollars debts to Russia and an air force with dwindling operability. Despite this Syria tries to get new equipment for its air fleet and to modernize the available assets. An upgrade programme for the MiG-21 is said to have been negotiated with Russia in 1996. Nothing is known about the current state of the modernization.

MiG-21s replaced by MiG-29s and Su-27s in the air-to-air role were converted to recce aircraft. Recently it was reported that India and Syria signed an agreement on overhaul and maintenance of Syrian MiG-21s for a couple of years. So it seems very likely that the Syrian MiG-21s will remain in use for a longer period.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21FL
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Tanzania

was founded in 1964 unifying Tanganjika and Sansibar, which became independent in 1961 and 1963 respectively.

The country is said to have between 10 and 20 F-7s on strength. Nothing is known about their current state.

 

Versions in overview:

  • F-7

 

 Uganda

Uganda gained independence in 1962. The country suffered hard from the power of Idi Amine, one of the bloodiest dictators of the world, who ruled the country from 1971 until his overthrow in 1979.

During the invasion of Tanzanian forces supporting Ugandan insurgents at their fight against the dictator those MiG-21s were destroyed or damaged, which had survived the Israeli raid on Entebbe in 1976. These aircraft had been delivered in the early seventies.

In 1999 Uganda got six MiG-21bis and a single MiG-21UM from Poland. The deal is said to have been brokered by Israelis. Another four aircraft are supposed to be delivered from Belarus. Prior delivery the Polish aircraft were upgraded. Recently it was reported that at least two aircraft are operational at Entebbe.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 USSR

The MiG-21 played the same role for the Soviet Air Force like the Kalashnikov assault rifle for the land forces still does: it was a robust, reliable weapon system and available in large quantities.

The first MiG-21F aircraft from series production were delivered to the air force in 1959. From the early sixties to the late seventies then the MiG-21 was the backbone of Soviet frontal aviation. The arrival of large numbers of MiG-23 in the middle of the seventies led to its withdrawal from the first line units. Despite this lots of MiG-21 were still in inventory when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

Though fortunately there was no big war during the 30-year service of the MiG-21 with the Soviet Air Force this aircraft type was used in every - more or less - local conflict that the Eastern superpower was involved in.

The first order to attack MiG-21 pilots got on 1st May, 1960 when a US U-2 spy aircraft coming from Peshawar (Pakistan) penetrated the airspace of the USSR. On its way to the North the aircraft flown by Francis Gary Powers also overflow the central command post at Lipetsk where four MiG-21F equipped with unguided rockets were in quick reaction alert. At this time the pilots of these aircraft were the only ones who had reached combat readiness on this type. They were to down the U-2 regardless, even by ramming. This suicide mission with almost no chance of success (the U-2 flew at 21.000 meters) was prevented when the U-2 was shot down by SAMs in the Sverdlovsk region.

In October 1962 a MiG-21F-13 equipped regiment was relocated from Kubinka to Cuba to provide aerial cover for the medium-range missiles based there. Short time later they were photographed at Santa Clara air base by RF-8 recce aircraft of the USAF. The withdrawal of the missiles as a result of Soviet-US negotiations prevented a direct confrontation between MiG-21 and US aircraft and a possible escalation to a nuclear war.

From the early sixties to the middle of the eighties Soviet MiG-21 were based in the GDR, in Poland, Czechoslovakia (since 1968) and Hungary. Because of strict secrecy kept during the Cold War little is known about these aircraft. As the front line units were equipped with the best available technology always the then latest MiG-21 versions belonged to their inventory. Later they were among the first to retire the MiG-21. The last Soviet MiG-21s in Germany flew from Damgarten and Koethen until 1986. When the Soviet forces withdrew from Germany in 1993 / 1994 only the MiG-21 monuments at Altenburg, Sperenberg and Wuensdorf remained.

MiG-21 of several versions took part in the invasion of the Warsaw Treaty to Czechoslovakia in 1968. Contemporary photos show MiG-21S with so called invasion stripes (red markings on the tail) identifying them as Soviet Air Force aircraft.

In the late sixties and early seventies Soviet pilots flew combat missions on MiG-21s over Egypt. This led to several aerial combats against Israeli aircraft. On June 22, 1970 an Israeli A-4 Skyhawk was shot down by Soviet MiG-21 near Ismailia, followed by four more on July 25. The Israelis took revenge during a mass air combat on July 30 when they downed four MiG-21.

Their last - nevertheless very intensive - deployment the Soviet MiG-21s saw during the Afghanistan war. There were flown MiG-21R in the recce as well as MiG-21bis in the fighter-bomber role.

Today (former) Soviet MiG-21 can be found only in museums, as monuments and in the inventory of several overhaul and upgrade companies.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F
  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFS
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21S
  • MiG-21SM
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21SMT
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Russia

As a result of the fleet rationalization in early 1998 Russia has withdrawn from use the MiG-21 (as well as the MiG-23). A larger number of aircraft were converted to M-21 target drones and destroyed.

The former manufacturers of the MiG-21, RAC MiG and SOKOL, established their own upgrade business and offer the so called MiG-21-93. Integration of the Kopyo radar and several avionics of the MiG-29 eliminates one of the weaknesses of the MiG-21: the short range of target detection and destruction. Beside almost the whole variety of modern Russian aircraft armament - like R-73, RVV-AE, Kha-25 und Kha-31 - can be deployed at low cost.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM
  • M-21

 

 Azerbaijan

is said to received among others MiG-21 from Ukraine. The aircraft were probably used in the conflict with Armenia. At least five planes belong to the inventory.

 

Versions in overview:

  • ?

 

 Georgia

In this country in the Caucasus region there is at least one MiG-21UM which is not operated by the air force but by Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing (TAM / former GAZ-31) in Georgia's capital.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21UM

 

 Kazakhstan

is said to have delivered MiG-21 to North Korea. So it seems likely that the country has or had operational MiG-21s on strength.

 

Versions in overview:

  • ?

 

 Kyrgyzstan

At Kant air base in Kyrgyzstan a larger number of MiG-21 is in open storage. There is no information available about operational MiG-21 belonging to the inventory of the Kyrgyz Air Force.

 

Versions in overview

  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Turkmenistan

According to different sources Turkmenia owns a small number of MiG-21.

 

Versions in overview:

  • ?

 

 Ukraine

Although numerous photos of MiG-21 with Ukrainian markings exist it is not known whether they were still operational after the countries independence. Ukrainian companies offer maintenance and upgrade of MiG-21 worldwide.

The MiG-21bis and MiG-21UM of the Croatian Air Force are supposed to have been delivered by the Ukraine.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Socialist Republic of Vietnam

During the fight against US aggression Vietnam was the place of the greatest triumphs of the MiG-21. Though numerically inferior and - at least during the first years of war - trained worse the pilots of the Quan Chun Phong Khong (Vietnamese People's Air Force - VPAF) fought the mighty attack formations of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps wherever they could.

When the first MiG-21F-13s were delivered in late 1965, the Vietnamese pilots had already achieved considerable successes with MiG-17s and MiG-19s (J-6 from Chinese production) already outdated at this time. Both types with their strong gun armament remained essential part of the flying units. But with the MiG-21 for the first time an aircraft was available, that matched the attackers in main parameters.

In February 1966 for the first time a Vietnamese MiG-21 took part in a combat mission and in March the first aerial victory was achieved - an unmanned reconnaissance drone. The first kills against U.S. fighter planes were claimed in June of the same year when two F-4 Phantom II were shot down. One year the first MiG-21PFs went into service, followed by MiG-21PFM within a year's time. Very early - already in 1970 - the VPAF got the MiG-21MF. All these versions remained in service until the end of the war and beyond.

The exact kill and loss numbers are subject of intense disputes between the former enemies. But whatever the true figures may have been (if they ever can be found), it is a fact that the Vietnamese pilots on their MiGs made an important contribution to the victory of their home country over the self-appointed world policeman USA.

Today, the Vietnamese fighter units are equipped almost exclusively with MiG-21. Seven regiments consist of MiG-21bis - delivered from 1979 on - and twin-seaters MiG-21UM. The total number of these aircraft is said to be about 150. Even though Vietnam tries to compensate the arms race of the neighboring countries Malaysia, Thailand and China by purchasing a few Su-27s the MiG-21 will remain for a longer time in Vietnamese service - not least due to the economic situation of the country which still suffers from the aftermath of the war.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PF
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Yemen Arab Republic

North Yemen managed to change the foreign policy orientation twice within three decades: from pro-Soviet camp during the sixties towards to Saudi Arabia and the USA middle of the seventies and finally back to the Soviet Union in the early eighties. The last reversal led to the procurement of MiG-21s. Beside this China is said to have delivered F-7s.

 

 People's Democratic Republic of Yemen

South Yemen was adjusted towards to the Socialist countries from its independence in 1967 on. The first equipment of the air force consisted, however, largely of material which was delivered by Great Britain, the former colonial power. From the early seventies deliveries from the Soviet Union arrived, among them MiG-21s.

During the boarder wars between the two Yemen two Soviet equipped and supported armies fought against each other. In a civil war broken out in 1986 most military equipment was destroyed including numerous MiG-21s.

 

 Republic of Yemen

Yemen's reunification was something special as two countries both having MiG-21s in their inventory united. Today's Republic of Yemen founded in 1990. The reunification proved to be even more problematic than the German one: a civil war between the two parties broke out in 1994 and could be stopped only in 1998. In the course of this conflict the South had obtained among others MiG-21 from the CIS again. Because of the losses suffered in the civil war and the poverty of the country it seems unlikely that the Yemen MiG-21s / F-7s are operational today.

In September 2001 it was reported that Yemen and RAC MiG signed a contract about the delivery of MiG-29s. In the context of the contract negotiations the modernization of the remaining MiG-21s also may have been talked about.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM
  • F-7M

 

 Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia

Equipped with both British and Soviet aircraft at the end of World War II after the break between Tito and Stalin in 1948 Yugoslavia turned to the West. Afterwards the country got Mosquitoes from the UK and P-47s, T-33s, F-84s and F-86s from the USA. After Stalin's dead relations improved and in 1962 the first MiG-21F-13 arrived at Batajnica airfield near Belgrade.

In total Yugoslavia received more than 260 MiG-21 of different versions which were given a local designation (L- for single-seater, NL- for twin-seater):

1962: MiG-21F-13 (L-12),
1965: MiG-21U (NL-12),
1967 or 1968: MiG-21PFM (L-14),
1969: MiG-21US (NL-14),
1970: MiG-21R (L-14i) and MiG-21M (L-15)
1975: MiG-21MF (L-16) and finally
1977: MiG-21bis (L-17).

The exact delivery time of the MiG-21UM (NL-16) is not known but the last aircraft are said to have been delivered only in the early nineties. While the F-13s were withdrawn from use already in 1980 the remaining aircraft went almost complete to the inventory of the then Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21F-13
  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 

 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia / Serbia and Montenegro / Serbia

During their withdrawal from the republics that gained their independence the Yugoslav Federal Army took away the complete stock of weapons and equipment including all MiG-21s. Of these the MiG-21PFM were retired in 1992, the versions M, MF, U and US some time later. The MiG-21bis, R and UM remain in service and form the backbone of the RV i PVO (Air Force and Air Defence of Yugoslavia.

While the losses caused by the desertion of Croat pilots were only limited, the Yugoslav Air Force lost numerous aircraft during the operations in Western Slavonia and over the Krajina. Only little action saw the MiG-21s during the defence against NATO attacks on Yugoslavia. In the light of NATO's total air superiority this seem understandable. Although almost all bases of the Yugoslav Air Force were destroyed it seems the Yugoslavs managed to prevent the majority of their aircraft fleet - under it the MiG-21s - from destruction by using camouflage, mock targets and massive shelters. Estimations of the current inventory of the air force of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro, now Serbia) differ between 40 and 60 aircraft.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21PFM
  • MiG-21R
  • MiG-21M
  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21U
  • MiG-21US
  • MiG-21UM

 

 

 Croatia

With Croatia's declaration of independence in June 1991 a many years lasting fight started against the Yugoslav Federal Army that try be every means to avoid the break of the federation. As the Yugoslav Army took away or destroyed all combat aircraft modified crop-spraying planes became the first combat aircraft of the young air force.

The things only got better when between October 1991 and June 1992 four Croatian pilots managed to escape from Yugoslav airfields on their MiG-21s. Despite the UN sanctions against all ex-Yugoslav countries Croatia succeed in purchasing further MiG-21s. Within a short time personnel and armament were transformed into a strong combat force.

In 1999 there were reports about an agreement between Elbit (Israel) and Croatia concerning the upgrade of its MiG-21bis to LanceR III standard. A short time later there were rumours about an US offer for used F-16s. After in late 2001 it was announced that 28 Croatian aircraft are to be upgraded in Russia to MiG-21-93s the Croatian defence minister told in January 2002 that eight MiG-21bis and four MiG-21UM are due to be upgraded in Romania. Beside this the purchase of four more MiG-21UM was planned. In early 2003 this plan was put into action.

More information and pictures:

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21bis
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Zambia

Zambia was formerly called Northern Rhodesia and gained independence after the dissolving of the federation of Rhodesia and Nyassaland in 1964. Under president Kaunda the country in the south of Central Africa became a non-aligned one party state.

Zambia has almost 20 MiG-21 on strength. According to press reports some of them are or already were overhauled by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).

 

Versions in overview:

  • MiG-21MF
  • MiG-21UM

 

 Zimbabwe

Beside Zambia and Malawi Zimbabwe emerged from the federation of Rhodesia and Nyassaland dissolved at the end of 1963. After the declaration of independence by the white government in 1965 a civil war broke out between the rulers and the African liberation organizations ZANU (under leadership of the later president Mugabe) and ZAPU (under J. Nkomo). This war was ended only in 1980 by an armistice and led to the real independence of the country.

Until 1980 the Rhodesian Air Force was equipped mainly with a British equipment. After the independence the air force was modernized with the help of some socialist countries as well as with Egyptian and Pakistani support. Main item was the procurement of Chinese F-7IIs in 1986, followed by FT-7s in 1991. The aircraft were used to support the meanwhile assassinated president Kabila during Zimbabwe's engagement of in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Zaire).

Despite its extremely bad economic situation Zimbabwe is said to have obtained further F-7s recently. Furthermore there are reports that F-7s originally destined for Democratic Republic of the Congo remained in Zimbabwe finally.

 

Versions in overview:

  • F-7II
  • F-7IIN
  • FT-7