The Dreaded MIGs
|In 1948, the Soviet MiG
design bureau developed a high-performance jet fighter design called the
I-310. It incorporated some advanced features, such as a 35-degree wing
sweep, and it promised to be a sprightly performer. However, the design
lacked one essential component: A suitable engine. This problem was
resolved when the British government authorized the Rolls-Royce company
to export their Nene turbojet engine to Russia. As soon as the Russian
Klimov design bureau received the engines, they immediately developed
their own copy of the Nene, called the Klimov RD-45. Within months, the
first prototype of the I-310 had flown with the new engine. The aircraft
was redesignated MiG-15 and entered service early in 1949.Later in the
year, the improved MiG-15bis version appeared, and a two-seat trainer
version, the MiG-15UTI, was also introduced. In 1950, Western air forces
were surprised at the combat capability of the new design in the skies
over Korea. The MiG-15 could out-climb, out-turn, and fly higher than
the US-built F-86 Sabre. Fortunately, Allied pilots were better-trained
and had better equipment installed in their aircraft, and they prevailed
against the MiG.
|The MiG-15 was developed
by the Soviet Union following WW II. It began appearing in service in
1949 and by 1952 it had been provided to a number of Communist satellite
nations, including North Korea where it was used extensively against
United Nations forces.
The airplane on display was flown to
South Korea on September 21, 1953 by a defecting North Korean pilot who
was given a reward of $100,000. The airplane was subsequently
flight-tested on Okinawa and then brought to Wright-Patterson AFB for
additional flight tests. An offer by the U.S. to return the airplane to
its "rightful owners" was ignored, and in November 1957 it was
transferred to the U.S. Air Force Museum for public exhibition.
Span: 33 ft. 1 1/2 in.
Length: 33 ft. 3 5/8 in.
Height: 11 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 11,270 lbs. max.
Armament: Two 23mm cannons and one 37mm cannon, plus rockets or 2,000
lbs. of bombs
Engine: VK-1 of 6,000 lbs. thrust (copy of British Rolls-Royce "Nene"
Serial number: 2015357
Maximum speed: 670 mph.
Cruising speed: 525 mph.
Range: 500 miles
Service Ceiling: 51,000 ft.