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Home >> English >> Technical Data >> Upgrades

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.

Upgrades

About 1000 MiG-21 are still in service all around the world. Most of MiG-21 user countries cannot afford new fighter aircraft. It is no wonder that at least three major upgrade programmes are running.

The MiG-21-93 of RAC MiG / SOKOL (Russia), the MiG-21 LanceR of Aerostar / Elbit (Romania / Israel) and the MiG-21 2000 of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) were on display at many recent airshows and aviation fairs. And every upgrade programme has found at least one customer:

 

Elbit / Aerostar MiG-21 LanceR

The most successful upgrade programme for the MiG-21 was presented at all major airshows - seen here at Paris Le Bourget 1997.

 

Despite its Romanian roundels this aircraft never served with the Romanian Air Force:
MiG-21bis based prototype of LanceR III programme at
Aerosalon Le Bourget 1999.

 

RAC MiG / SOKOL MiG-21-93

The Indian MiG-21bis UPG is very close to MiG-21-93 standard.

Looking for customers in Arabia:
MiG-21-93 at Dubai Airshow 1999.

 

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) MiG-21 2000

Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) uses its experience with war prizes of Soviet origin for the upgrade business. A comprehensive upgrade package for the MiG-21 is offered while it seems that the new single piece windshield was fitted only to the company demonstrator IAI-304 which is shown here.

 

Other Update Programmes

Although upgraded by AEROSTAR in Romania the equipment of the Croatian MiG-21bis and MiG-21UMD is different from LanceR standard. Only navigation und communication systems were subject to upgrade.

 

The Czech upgrade programme carried out by LOK Kbely comprised of 10 MiG-21MF which are now designated MiG-21MFN (N = NATO). Externally the modernized aircraft can be distinguished by additional antennas and the new grey colour.

 

OdesAviaRemService from Ukraine has recognized MiG-21's upgrade potential and offers a package of measures called MiG-21MU. Nothing is known about the customers.

 

Equipment

Core of MiG-21-93 programme is the Kopyo radar made by Phazotron.

 

The extensive modifications of the MiG-21 LanceR can be seen also from outside: Head-Up-Display and fairing for additional wiring.

 

Also LanceR III differs in numerous modifications from the basic type.

 

The fighter version MiG-21 LanceR C is equipped with two multifunction displays, ...

 

... while in the cockpit of the fighter bomber LanceR A only one of these devices can be found.

 

The Romanian LanceR can be fitted among others with the Rafael Litening targeting pod, ...

 

... the ARP photo reconnaissance pod ...

 

... or an ECM pod.

 

Externally the upgraded Croatian MiG-21 can be distinguished by antennas at fin and underneath the fuselage.

 

New navigation and communication devices can be seen in the cockpit of both the MiG-21UMD ...

 

... and the MiG-21MFN.

 

Armament

The new dimension: on these rails ...

 

... the MiG-21-93 carries R-73 and R-77 air-to-air missiles.

 

The Romanian MiG-21 Lancers were fitted with new launchers ...

 

... and can carry both Russian and Western weapons, in this case R-73 and Python 3.

 

The complete weaponry of LanceR C and ...

 

... R-73, Magic 2 und Python 3 air-to-air missiles (top from left to right) in detail.

 

Armament of LanceR A comprises among others ...

 

... infrared and laser guided bombs Elbit Opher (top) and IAI (MBT) Griffin (bottom) as well as rocket pods UB-16.

 

Behind the laser target illuminator can be seen an ARP photo reconnaissance pod, aside lies a R-73.