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Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 (Fagot) Turbojet-Powered Fighter (1949)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/15/2014

The MiG-15 proved to be a potent adversary in the Korean War, particularly when flown by Soviet pilots.

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The MiG-15 (codenamed "Fagot" by the United Nations in reference to a "hastily bundled pile of sticks") became the Soviet Union's first true turbojet-powered fighter design of consequence and the first swept-wing aircraft of the Empire. The system went on to see extensive production total sand combat action particularly in the Korean War, proving more than a match for her contemporaries. With World War 2 delaying turbojet design in the Soviet Union, engineers instead looked to captured German scientists and their ground-breaking aircraft designs - along with securing an agreement with Britain to license-produce the Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine - and manufactured a fighter that fit the Soviet Empire's need for a powerful, effective and easy-to-produce/maintain jet fighter. By all respects, the aircraft would achieve "classic" status by sheer numbers and a successful track record thanks to its actions in Korea.

Development
As progress on turbojet-powered fighters was being steadily made in the West, the inevitable requirement for a similar Soviet system eventually came down. This new requirement specified an aircraft design capable of 621 miles per hour with a good rate-of-climb, a range of 745 miles and restricted landing and take-off distances. The new design was to take into account ease of production and maintenance to ensure it could stay in the fight as long as necessary without tanking the owners to the bank. Additionally, this aircraft was to be appropriately armed and offer up much internally in the way of its Western counterparts so as not to put the Soviet pilot at a disadvantage when they inevitably should meet one another.

1944 eventually brought about a certain level of respite in Russia's war with Germany. Soviet engineers could now be allocated back to developing an indigenous turbojet design of their own. Delayed by a number of years during the conflict, time to "catch up" to the West and their production turbojets was of the essence - with Germany, Great Britain and the United States all working on their own creations. As such, captured German plans - in particular, Focke-Wulf Ta 183 "Huckebein" fighter (developed by Kurt Tank) and associated German scientific minds were brought to the Soviet Union in an effort to produce an answer. Along with the captured German plans, the Soviets began researching and producing their own versions of two distinct German-made axial-flow turbojet engines - the Junkers Jumo 004 Orkan (becoming the RD-10 in the Soviet inventory) and the BMW 003 Sturm (becoming the RD-20) series. In time, these would power the early straight-wing Yakovlev Yak-15 and Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-9 jet fighters, serving more as developmental educational efforts than serviceable combat aircraft. Nevertheless, the information garnered from this work no doubt propelled an infant Soviet jet program along.

The definitive point in the program came when Mikoyan, Klimov and Kishkin - under Soviet direction - netted a deal with the English for 25 Nene series I and series II engines and 30 Derwent V engines. It should be noted that this took place before the eventual rise of "hostilities" from the Cold War came about, as superpowers after World War Two were still at a certain level of ease with one another to a certain extent. Regardless, the engines were now in Soviet hands and these systems underwent rigorous testing and study for a time. The engines were shown to be adequate for Soviet needs and license production of both types began. These engines eventually received Soviet-style designations that followed as such: the Derwent became the RD-500 and the Nene I became the RD-45. The Nene II engine used the similar RD-45F designation, with the "F" signifying an improved engine type. The RD-45 series engine (Nene I) eventually won out for the new Mikoyan-Gurevich design and major progress of the eventual MiG-15 was made.

Early runs with the RD-45 series yielded excellent performance results yet the engines proved quite thirsty and sported a short service (reported at some 100 hours of operation). An improved turbojet engine by Klimov emerged in 1949 as the VK-1 and featured a rating of 5,952lbs. This new powerplant (based on the RD-45F - ala Nene II) became the mainstay force in the equally-improved MiG-15bis model series. In essence, the VK-1 were highly-modified Rolls-Royce Nene II engines which were extensively upgraded. It was felt by the Soviets that these engines were re-engineered to such an extent that they were now wholly an indigenous Soviet design. In actuality, these VK-1 turbojets were nothing more than illegally copied and produced powerplants with some Soviet engineering thrown into the mix for good measure.

As engine and structural design progressed, attention was paid to an indigenously designed ejection system - almost a prerequisite design factor considering the speed that these pilots would be bailing out at. The days of safely bailing out via parachute had officially come to an end with the advent of the jet age. Gavriil Kondrashov became the first Soviet airman to successfully eject using this new Soviet-designed system - this feat occurring from a modified Petlyakov Pe 2 and taking place on July 24th, 1947. Though an impressive event in and of itself, the process to which a Soviet airman had to eject required the pilot to forcibly push his own ejection seat pan away from his body to activate his parachute (to which he used as his seat cushion in flight). Hardly a conventional method but suitable nonetheless, this system would still be in use by the time of the Korean War.


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Specifications for the
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 (Fagot)
Turbojet-Powered Fighter


Focus Model: Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15bis (Fagot-B)
Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich - Soviet Union
Initial Year of Service: 1949
Production: 18,000


Crew: 1


Length: 35.63ft (10.86m)
Width: 35.43ft (10.80m)
Height: 12.14ft (3.70m)
Weight (Empty): 8,115lbs (3,681kg)
Weight (MTOW): 13,327lbs (6,045kg)


Powerplant: 1 x Klimov VK-1 turbojet engine generating 5,952lbs of thrust.


Maximum Speed: 668mph (1,075kmh; 580kts)
Maximum Range: 1,156miles (1,860km)
Service Ceiling: 50,853ft (15,500m; 9.6miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 11,480 feet per minute (3,499m/min)


Hardpoints: 2
Armament Suite:
STANDARD:
1 x Nudelman N-37 37mm Cannon in starboard side weapons tray under fuselage.
2 x Nudel'man/Rikhter NR-23 23mm Cannon in port side of weapons tray under fuselage.

OPTIONAL (some models):
2 x fuel drop tanks
2 x drop bombs
2 x rocket pods


Variants:
I-310 - Internal State Designation for MiG-15 prototype.


S-1 - Initial Prototype

S-2 - Second Prototype; 5,004lb Nene II engine; revised simplified canopy; repositioned wings; redesigned airfoil; V-95 aluminum alloy spars; ASp-1N automatic gun sight; S-13 gun camera; modified main landing gears for increased wheel base; provision for "slipper tanks" for increased range.

S-3 - Third Prototype; Nene II engine; hydraulic airbrakes; increased wing anhedral by -1 degree; mass-balanced elevators; increased fuel capacity; bomb-carrying provisions; flash suppressor for N-37 cannon; increased take-off weight.

MiG-15 "Fagot-A" - Initial Production Series Designation; Tactical Fighter.

MiG-15 (izdeliye SA-1) - Development Model

MiG-15 (izdeliye SA-2) - Development Model

MiG-15 (izdeliye SA-3) - Development Model; 16 production MiG-15's fitted with RD-45F engines and OSP-48 ILS landing systems.

MiG-15 (izdeliye SA-4) - Development Model; revised instrument panel; in-flight engine restart mechanism implemented; automatic airbrake extension system for speeds above Mach 0.95.

MiG-15 (izdeliye SO) - Development Model; revised gun sight system and forward canopy.

MiG-15 (izdeliye SU) - Development/Weapons Test Model; cannons were modified to include elevation of +11/-7 degrees.

MiG-15 (izdeliye SSh) - Development/Weapons Test Platform; 1 x SH-3 23mm cannon replaced 2 x NS-23KM 23mm cannons on portside of weapons tray; Two models modified as such.

MiG-15bis "Fagot-B" - Major Production Model appearing from 1951 onwards; Tactical Fighter; fitted with VK-1 turbojet engine of 5,952lbs; radically improved Fagot-A models; enlarged tail cone; redesigned internal layout for new engine; reduced aft fuel storage resulting in decreased range; signal flare launcher installed along rear starboard fuselage side; modified airbrakes; later models featured improved canopy design, Sirena Radar Homing and Warning System (RHAWS), ASP-3NM gun sight, G-suits, revised ejection seat and rear-view periscope - these improvements appearing in 1952 and onwards; attack and fighter-bomber versions existed.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SYa) - Development Model; three MiG-15bis models pulled aside for wing strengthening testing.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SD-P) - Development Model; landing roll was addressed through testing of an anti-skid system and various parachute types.

MiG-15bisS "Fagot-B" - Escort Fighter; increased fuel capacity through slipper tanks and increased oxygen capacity; higher gross weight; heavy duty tires.

MiG-15bisR - Photo-Reconnaissance Model; equipped with AFA-BA-40 40mm focal length camera.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SD-ET) - Development Model; fitted with 12SAM-25 DC battery and ST2-48 self-contained starter system.

MiG-15bisP (izdeliye SP-1) - Experimental Interceptor; redesigned forward fuselage for radar equipment and dish array; noticeable fairing set above nose air intake; repositioned and reinforced nose gear.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SP-5) - Experimental Interceptor; Izumrood-1 radar system; nose fairing over intake opening; Klimov VF-5 centrifugal-flow 6,613lb engine.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SYe) - Aerodynamics Research Platform.

MiG-15M - Target Drone Designation.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SD-5) - Development Model; provision for 2 x rocket pods.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SD-10) - Development Model; provision for 2 x PROSAB-100 anti-aircraft bombs.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SD-21) - Weapons Test Bed; provisions for two rocket pods and two drop tanks.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SD-25) - Development Model; provision for 2 x PROSAB-250 anti-aircraft bombs.

MiG-15bis (izdeliye SD-57) - Development Model; provision for 2 x rocket pods.

MiG-15bis (ISh) - Developmental Model; improved attack version; perhaps some 12 such examples were produced as experimental.

MiG-15bis Captive Long-Range Escort Fighter - Part of the abandoned Project Burlaki "parasite" fighter program.

I-312 - Internal State Designation for UTI-MiG-15 "Midget" prototype.

UTI-MiG-15 (izdeliye ST-1) - UTI-MiG-15 prototype model

UTI-MiG-15 (izdeliye ST-2) - UTI-MiG-15 prototype model

UTI-MiG-15 "Midget" - Two-seat advanced conversion trainer designation.

UTI-MiG-15P - Interceptor Trainer Model

UTI-MiG-15 (izdeliye ST-10) - Ejection Seat Test Model

UTI-MiG-15 (izdeliye ST-15STK) - Ejection Seat Test Model

Shenyang Jianjiji-2 (Fighter Aircraft Type 2, Jian-2, J-2) - Chinese Designation of MiG-15 and MiG-15bis types.

Shenyang F-2 - Chinese Export Designation of MiG-15 and MiG-15bis types.

Shenyang Jianjiji Jiaolianji-2 (Fighter Trainer Aircraft-2, Jianjiao-2, JJ-2) - Chinese Designation of UTI-MiG-15 two-seat trainer model.

Shenyang FT-2 (Fighter Trainer-2) - Chinese Export Designation of UTI-MiG-15 two-seat trainer models.

Avia S-102 - Czech designation for Fagot-A.

MiG-15SB - Czech designation for fighter-bomber conversion models of Fagot-A; six underwing hardpoints for bombs, drop tanks and rocket pods.

MiG-15T - Czech designation for target tug Fagot-A models.

Avia S-103 - Czech designation for Fagot-B models.

MiG-15bis/PPZ-1 ILS - Czech designation for Fagot-B models fitted with PPZ-1 landing systems.

MiG-15bisSB - Czech designation for fighter-bomber conversion models of Fagot-B; similar to MiG-15SB types; several served as weapons test beds as well.

MiG-15bisR - Czech designation for photo reconnaissance aircraft.

MiG-15bisT - Czech designation of target tug MiG-15bis Fagot-B models.

MiG-15V - Czech designation of target drones.

CS-102 - Czech designation of two-seat UTI-MiG-15 "Midget" two-seat trainers; some fitted with PPZ-1 ILS landing system.

Lim-1 - Polish designation of Fagot-A tactical fighters.

Lim-1,5 - Polish designation of Lim-1's upgraded to Lim-2 standard.

Lim-2 - Polish designation of Fagot-B tactical fighters; updated avionics package.

Lim-2R - Polish designation of photo reconnaissance models.

Lim-2 "Smugacz" - Polish Demonstrator Aircraft

SBLim-1 "Midget" - Polish designation of two-seat UTI-MiG-15 trainer.

SBLim-2 "Midget" - Polish designation of two-seat UTI-MiG-15 trainer; Lis-2 and Lis-2SB engines; enlarged airbrakes; 1 x NR-23 cannon.

SBLim-1Art - Polish designation of Artillery Spotter/Reconnaissance aircraft; later SBLim-1A.

SBLim-2Art - Polish designation of Artillery Spotter/Reconnaissance aircraft; later SBLim-2A.

SBLim-2M - Polish designation of advanced trainer.


Operators:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Congo, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Egypt, Finland, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel (captured Egyptian samples), Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, North Korea, North Vietnam; Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Somalia, Soviet Union, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda and North Vietnam.