Soviet MiG 15: Jet Fighter That Shook The West
The Mikoyan Gurevich aka MiG 15 is one of the most important planes in Aviation History.
A product of Stalin’s Soviet Union during the Cold War, the MiG 15 stunned the United States over the skies of Korea at the height of the Korean War as the Soviet MIGs achieved air superiority due to superior weapons and Engine power.
The MiG 15 holds the honour of being the world’s first combat Jet propelled aircraft built in 1947 by the Soviets after they had studied captured World War 2 German Messerschmitt 262s Engines, and added some additional modifications taken from a British Rolls Royce Nene Engine.
Initially meant to be an Interceptor, the MiG 15 excelled at intercepting high altitude enemy Bombers.
The Mig 15 was first tested in battle during the Korean War, where it dominated the Korean Skies as it outclassed allied Aircraft like the F9F Panther.
The experience was a shock for the Allies, particularly the Americans who had not anticipated the arrival of a new Soviet built Aircraft with such superior flight and weapons capabilities.
In response, the United States developed and introduced the F-86 Sabre which challenged the MIGs.
Fearful that World War 3 may break out if Russian Pilots were caught flying the MiGs in Korea, the MiGs were flown by Chinese and North Korean Pilots which limited the effectiveness of the MiGs.
Although the MiGs were fast and carried heavier firepower than the F86 Sabre, the better trained Sabre Pilots also got the benefit of a Plane with a faster rate of ascent than the MiG.
In addition, the MiG periodically suffered from technical stalling problems at High altitude speeds from which Pilots sometimes did not recover causing the Plane to crash.
Some technical improvements were later added to the MiG 15 to address some of these technical issues including the addition of an all flying tail for greater stability and enhanced control.
After the Korean War, the MiG 15 had built such a fearsome reputation it became the mainstay of the Soviet Airforce and its Allies.
It was also quite popular in Countries falling under the Soviet Zone of Influence during the Cold War, with more than 20 000 being produced for Communist Bloc Nations and Allies.
Today, the MiG lineage of Aircraft remains one of the most important in Aviation History with the latest MiG 35 incarnation forming part of the Airforce of many countries around the world, and proudly carrying on the legacy of its predecessors that began with the MiG 15 over the skies of Korea when the East faced and shook the West.