Further development of famous Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbed single-seat variant demanded upgrade of two-seat trainer — MiG-21U (Mongol-A). New modification was designated MiG-21US (Mongol-B) and performed its first flight in 1966. If to compare with earlier series MiG-21US received new, more powerful, engine R-11F2S-300, ejection seats KM-1M, increased fuel load (2030 kg (2450 litres)) and enlarged verical fin, the same as for MiG-21PFM and later variants. During production on rear canopy was installed rising mirror to improve instructor's field of view on take-off or landing.
This variant as all MiG-21 two-seaters was produced at Plant No. 31 in Tbilisi. From 1966 till 1970 were produced 347 aircraft, not only for Soviet Air Force but also export airframes. MiG-21US was acquired by Algeria, Angola, Bulgaria, Vietnam, East Germany, Egypt, Zambia, India, Cuba, Poland, Romania, Syria, Uganda, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.
This modification is famous by being involved in the sole Vietnam War official dogfight between Soviet and American pilots. This occurence took place in 1972. The sole MiG-21US which was piloted by Vietnamese student-pilot and Soviet instructor and had not any armament, performed routine training flight over the North Vietnam. Whilst being 4 miles from the home base crew received warning that four «Phantoms» were approaching the airfield. At that moment Vietnamese fighter had only 800 litre of fuel. Trying not to be shot down crew performed sliding roll and defeated the first attack. Then MiG-21US was attacked twice but managed to disappoint all fired missiles successfully. The third attack also did not brought victory to American fighters but Mikoyan trying o avoid all missiles burnt all the fuel onboard, due to this problem pilots made the momentous decision and ejected safely.
Our Museum has MiG-21US serialled 06-red (production number 02685133) which was among the first exhibits acquired in 1970's.
Mikoyan MiG-21US technical data:
|Wing area, m2||23,00|
|Empty aircraft weight, kg||5610|
|Normal take-off weight, kg||8000|
|Engine||1 х R-11F2S-300, thrust 3950 kgf (with afterburner 6175 kgf)|
|Fuel uplift||2450 litres in internal tanks + 490 L in auxiliary drop tank|
|Max speed at altitude, kts||1175|
|Max speed at low level, kts||620|
|Max altitude, ft||59000|
|Max range, miles||653|
|Take-off/landing run, m||900/550|
|Armament||2 air-to-air missiles R-3S (К-13Т) AA-2B Atoll or
2 unguided rockets S-24 (240 mm caliber) or
2 unguide rocket pods (up to 64 rockets) or
2 bombs 250 kg each