Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks


Aviation / Aerospace

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 (Fresco)

Single-Seat Jet-Powered Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft [ 1952 ]

The Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 jet fighter was a major improvement over the classic MiG-15 series.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/08/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The first air-versus-air duels involving jet fighters centered on the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 "Fagot" in the East and the North American F-86 "Sabre" in the West. The battles took place in the skies above the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War of 1950-1953 and ushered in a new era of aerial fighting. The arrival of the subsonic MiG-15 came as a nasty surprise to Western observes and quickly ratcheted the war effort which led to an uneasy armistice.

The MiG-15 line was considerably evolved during its time and, as impressive as the later operational versions of it were, there were lingering issues regarding its untapped performance - limited largely by its structure. As such, Mikoyan-Gurevich engineers began work on a successor as soon as 1949 even as the MiG-17 was beginning to reach frontline squadrons in number.

This work led to the follow-up MiG-17 "Fresco", a vastly-improved development based on lessons learned from the former's design. With the MiG-15 representing the pinnacle of research garnered from captured German documents after World War 2, the MiG-17 represented all that there was to recommend the MiG-15 in the first place - with improvements to handling and structure to boot, making the MiG-17 one of the best fighter designs of the Cold War period.

The Fresco was developed through the "I-330" and, despite its resemblance to the earlier MiG-15, the aircraft was essentially an all-new design incorporating lengthened wing mainplanes with increased sweepback and a redesigned tail unit of larger surface area and increased sweep of the horizontal planes - all this was meant to ensure the fighter would surpass the poor high-speed handling qualities that plagued its predecessor which limited top achievable speeds to about Mach 0.92.

The improved aircraft would retain most of the form-and-function of the preceding design but could be identified through subtle physical qualities - mainly the addition of a third boundary layer fence to each wing mainplane. The fighter continued to be powered by a single turbojet engine and sat a single crewmember under a tear drop-style canopy while featuring an all-cannon armament of 1 x 37mm cannon and 2 x 23mm cannons in the nose. Underwing stores allowed for a limited ordnance-carrying capacity in the form of rockets and conventional drop bombs to give the fighter an equally-limited ground-attack capability. Beyond this, the MiG-17 could be easily confused with its earlier incarnation.

The cut-off nature of the nose allowed for unobstructed airflow to the turbojet engine buried within the middle-aft section of the fuselage. This also kept the propulsion scheme in line, reducing the number of bends in the ductwork and allowing the engine to cleanly breath from the front and exhaust under the tail unit. At the heart of the Fresco's design was a further development of the British "Nene" turbojet engine - unlicensed for production in the Soviet Union by Klimov as the "VK-1". As potent as this engine could be, it proved fuel-thirsty even as the new fighter maintained roughly the same fuel-carrying capacity of the MiG-15. This resulted in the MiG-17 being almost constantly fielded with a pair of underwing fuel drop tanks to maintain useful operating ranges.

In its prototype form, the MiG-17 went to the air for the first time on February 1st, 1950 and serial production was ordered as soon as August 1951 (at which point production of MiG-15s was halted). Service introduction then followed in October of 1952.

The MiG-17 was fielded in number with the Soviet Air Force but also shipped beyond Soviet borders in support of allied satellite states and regimes globally - with some owners even taking on local production to strengthen stocks (this proved the case in China, Czechoslovakia, and Poland). Reliable, responsive, and an excellent addition to the MiG line of fighter aircraft, the MiG-17 proposed a new and verifiable threat to the West.

In practice, the MiG-17 was a stable mount at high speeds and, at the time, managed a turning radius better than most of the Western fighters available. Communist-aligned forces would utilize the MiG-17 against the United States during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) to good effect. American efforts there were further frustrated as the US military had begun to steer its aircraft development away from cannon- and machine gun-armed combat aircraft to what they believed was the "future" - homing/guided Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs). Conversely, the Soviets continued to supply their frontline fighters with standardized fixed cannon armament for close-in fighting. As a result, the tighter-turning MiGs could simply close the distance on American warplanes, rendering the enemy's short- and medium-range missiles ineffective and, in turn, opening the Americans up to a salvo of 37mm and 23mm cannon fire with a high probability of scoring a hit.

Due to the American's poor kill ratio against MiG-17s in the Vietnam Conflict, specimens (ex-Syrian models by way of Israel) were evaluated under secrecy in Nevada in order to develop better doctrine against the nimble fighters.©MilitaryFactory.com
Communist China not only took the new MiG-17 into service but produced a local variant under the Chengdu brand label as the "J-5/JJ-5" - designating single-seat fighter and two-seat trainer variants, respectively. While the Soviet Air Force believed their MiG-15UTI twin-seaters were still more than adequate as fighter trainers, China produced the only two-seat form trainer form of the MiG-17 through the JJ-5. These featured two individual cockpits for student and instructor and had a slightly lengthened fuselage. A first-flight of a JJ-5 prototype was recorded on May 8th, 1966 after which some 1,060 were built into the mid-1980s. Its export designation became "FT-5".

The MiG-17 often stands as a mid-level design bridging the gap between the classic MiG-15 of the post-World War 2/Korean War-era and the more-powerful MiG-19. However, this improved single-seat, jet-powered fighter more than held its own for its time in the air and history would show that the powers of the East were quite capable of producing fighters able to match or exceed the capabilities of even the most technological-centric, supersonic, missile-laden designs of the West. In the end, the MiG-17 would go down as a classic war bird of the Cold War period, having forged its own enviable history through combat service, excellent export numbers and local production initiatives, and career longevity that eventually made up its long term success.

Variants of the line began with the I-300 developmental model and this inevitably led to the initial "Fresco-A" production fighter powered by the original VK-1 engine. From this was forged the MiG-17A which was given the enhanced lifespan VK-1A turbojet engine. The MiG-17AS was a "multirole" conversion of A-models developed to carry air-to-air missiles as well as unguided rockets. The MiG-17P ("Fresco-B") introduced an all-weather capability due to its inclusion of the "Izumrud" radar system.

The definitive MiG-17F ("Fresco-C") switched to the VK-1F turbojet engine which held an afterburning/reheat capability for short bursts of speed and, therefore, improved performance in level flight. Its engine outputted 6,000lb of thrust (dry) and could increase to 7,600lb of thrust with reheat engaged, propelling the fighter to speeds of 685 miles-per-hour up to an altitude of 55,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was 12,800 feet-per-minute which made the MiG-17 a suitable interceptor.

The MiG-17PF ("Fresco-D") was another all-weather, radar-equipped form now powered by the VK-1F turbojet engine and having a fixed armament of 3 x 23mm NR-23 autocannons in the nose. The MIG-17PM/PFU ("Fresco-E") was also radar-equipped and was cleared to carry the AA-1 "Alkali" (K-5) air-to-air-missile. The MiG-17R was a converted dedicated reconnaissance platform equipped with cameras and powered by the VK-1F turbojet engine.

The MiG-17SN was a development of the Fresco with a completely rearranged intake system - the cut-off nose now seating the 23mm autocannons in a "trainable" housing and the turbojet aspirated through side-fuselage intakes. This novel aircraft was not furthered into a production-quality form.

Despite its age, the MiG-17 continues to serve in a limited capacity. Total production reached 10,649 with around 8,000 units produced in the Soviet Union and numbers strengthened by manufacture in China, Czechoslovakia (as the "S-104"), and Poland (as the "Lim-6").

While nearly all MiG-17 operators have moved on from the type, some operators remain in Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, and Somalia (2019).©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union

Not in Service.


Mikoyan-Gurevich - Soviet Union / Chengdu - China
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of Albania National flag of Algeria National flag of Angola National flag of Bulgaria National flag of China National flag of Cuba National flag of Czechia National flag of Egypt National flag of Ethiopia National flag of modern Germany National flag of East Germany National flag of Guinea National flag of Hungary National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Mozambique National flag of Nigeria National flag of Pakistan National flag of Poland National flag of Romania National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sri Lanka National flag of Syria National flag of Uganda National flag of the United States National flag of Vietnam National flag of Yemen Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Angola; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cambodia; China; Republic of the Congo; Cuba; Czechoslovakia; East Germany; Egypt; Ethiopia; Guinea; Hungary; Indonesia; Iraq; Khmer Republic; Democratic Kampuchea; Mongolia; Mozambique; Nigeria; North Yemen; Pakistan; Poland; Romania; Soviet Union; Sri Lanka; Syria; Uganda; United States (evaluated); Vietnam
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
Ability to intercept inbound aerial threats by way of high-performance, typically speed and rate-of-climb.
Training (General)
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).

36.9 ft
(11.26 m)
31.6 ft
(9.63 m)
12.5 ft
(3.80 m)
Empty Wgt
8,818 lb
(4,000 kg)
13,393 lb
(6,075 kg)
Wgt Diff
+4,575 lb
(+2,075 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F (Fresco) production variant)
Installed: 1 x Klimov VK-1F afterburning turbojet engine developing 6,000lb of dry thrust and up to 7,600 lb of thrust with reheat.
Max Speed
684 mph
(1,100 kph | 594 kts)
54,462 ft
(16,600 m | 10 mi)
1,255 mi
(2,020 km | 3,741 nm)
12,800 ft/min
(3,901 m/min)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F (Fresco) production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
1 x 37mm internal automatic cannon OR 2 x 23mm internal automatic cannons OR 3 x 23mm internal automatic cannons in the nose.

Maximum external weapons load of up to 1,105lb (500kg) across two underwing hardpoints (one per wing member) consisting of any of the following:

2 x AA-1 "Alkali" short-range, air-to-air missiles.
2 x 550lb conventional drop bombs.
2 x UV-16-57 Rocket Pods (16 x 50mm rockets).

Supported Types

Graphical image of an aircraft automatic cannon
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft rocket pod
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Hardpoint Mountings: 2

MiG-17 "Fresco-A" - Initial production variant not differing greatly from the base MiG-15 models.
MiG-17F "Fresco-C" - 88 gallon drop tanks for increased fuel range; Most produced model of the series.
MiG-17P - Night Fighter / All-Weather Capability series designation.
MiG-17PF "Fresco-D" - Night Fighter / All-Weather Capability featuring search and ranging radar systems.
MiG-17PFU - Provisions for ARS-212 (AA-1) Alkali air-to-air radar-guided missiles; First missile-produced Soviet fighter.
J-5 - Chinese single-seat locally-produced version based on the single-seat MiG-17; manufactured through Chengdu.
JJ-5 - Chinese two-seat locally-produced version based on the two-seat MiG-17; manufactured through Chengdu.

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.

Images Gallery

1 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
3 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
4 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
5 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
6 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
7 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
8 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
9 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
10 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
11 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
12 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
13 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
14 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
15 / 15
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Similar Aircraft

Aviation developments of similar form and function, or related to, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 (Fresco)...


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-