Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed: Its Main Variant and Offspring
The famous Mig-21 Fishbed has been around since 1950′s with the Soviet Russia studying the swept wing concept through the production of Ye-1 and Ye-2 prototypes. Nevertheless, they turn to the delta wing concept which happens to be a winning design that resulted 11,496 Fishbeds being used by 66 operators around the globe not including 2,400 Chengdu J-7 Airguard, a Chinese made Mig-21 operated by 15 nations across the world.
Being one of the most numerous and widely operated jet fighter means that the Fishbed has been in action in almost all conflicts around the world including the Vietnam War, the Arab-Israel War, the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War and many more.
Throughout its 60 years of history it has spawned several main variants as well as designs being derived from the aircraft. Later production of the J-7 resulted the introduction of double delta wing fighter just like the F-7PG operated by the Pakistani AF. China has also further developed the Shenyang J-8 Finback (including J-8II) and the Nanchang J-12 which is based on the Mig-21/J-7 design.
Its future carrier based advance trainer the Guizhou FTC-2000/ JL-9 is being developed from a two seat version of the JJ-7/Mig-21U Mongol trainer. A further development of the J-7, thanks to a brief cooperation between Chengdu and Grumman led to the Super 7 project. Despite Grumman withdrawal, the Super 7 project pressed on and became the FC-1/ JF-17 Thunder fighters which are currently in service with the Pakistani AF.
India is also one of the operators of the Mig-21 Fishbed. In fact, the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has been producing the Mig-21 FL/M/Bis/Bison under license since 1966, an experience which led to the indigenous HAL Tejas LCA project.
The Soviet has also come up with unique variant of the Mig-21. The Mig-21 Analog for example is an instrumental test variant which contributed to the Soviet’s Super Sonic Transport (SST) program. As a result of the program, a copy of the famed Concorde jetliner known as the Tupolev Tu-144 Concordski was rolled out.
The Mig 1.44 prototype is also thought to be based from Mig-21.