Iraq MiG-21

The first Iraq MiG-21 F-13 (izdeliye 74) arrived in Iraq in 1963 and ultimately 35 were delivered; known serials are in the range 519-538. The most famous of these was 534 flown by Captain Munir Redfa who defected on 16th August 1966 from el Arish airbase, Egypt, to Hatzor, Israel. It was reserialled 007 by its new owners, who shipped it to the USA. Another aircraft carrying the serial 007 replaced it in the Israeli Air Force Museum.

Survivors were withdrawn from service around 1988.

A MiG-21 F-13 serialled 709 is preserved at the entrance to Shaibah Air Base. However, the serial is probably spurious as 709 belongs in the serial block of MiG-21 PFs. It is known that the MiG-21 F-13 equipped 11 and 17 Squadrons.

The first delivery of MiG-21 PF (izdeliye 76A) fighters took place in 1966 and received the serials 539-566; the second delivery occurred in 1967 and was originally serialled 703-734.37 are known to have been delivered but some sources suggest the figure is nearer 90. 18 aircraft of 9 Squadron served in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 at al Mazzah Air Base, Syria. Many were also sent to help the Egyptian Air Force. Later the IrAF introduced a new five-digit serial system, the first two digits denoting the aircraft type; MiG-21 serials were thus in the 21xxx range.

55 MiG-21 PFMs (izdeliye 94A) are known to have been purchased in 1970, but many were transferred both before and after delivery to Egypt and Syria to compensate for their losses in the Six-Day War. Some sources state the total number involved was over 100. It is possible that some of these sources have confused the MiG-21 PF with the MiG-21 PFM.

Serials reported so far are shown in the tables but their authenticity is dubious. This is not casting aspersions on the observers but rather a case of questioning the Iraqi Air Force’s motives in using these identifications. The paucity of the quantity of known Iraqi serials is probably the result of the magnitude of the country’s aid to its neighbours. However it has been reported that some MiG-21 PFM served with 17 Sqn in Syria in 1973 and also against Iran in 1980 with 11 Sqn.

Approximately 15 MiG-21 R (izdeliye 94RA) reconnaissance aircraft were reported purchased in 1979 and to have served with 70 Squadron but no further details are available.

The MiG-21bis (izdeliye 75A) was the last of the MiG-21 fighter variants, 61 being delivered from 1983. It is understood that these were numbered in the 211 xx and 212xx series. In 1990 it was discovered that some Iraqi aircraft were undergoing overhauls in Dresden, East Germany; four more were found under similar circumstances at Batajnica, Yugoslavia.

At least ten MiG-21 U (izdeliye 66-400 and/or izdeliye 66-600) trainers were delivered, starting in 1968.

At least eight MiG-21 US (izdeliye 68A) trainers reportedly arrived in Iraq in 1974, others probably followed. It was certainly the intention of the EGAF (and after 3rd October 1990 the Luftwaffe) to sell surplus MiG-21 trainers to the Iraqi Air Force but the sales fell through and the aircraft impounded probably as a result of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. One had earlier been allocated an Iraqi serial number.

The two-seat trainer version of the F-7B was named the Guizhou FT-7B and up to 20 were delivered to the Iraqi Air Force around 1982. Unfortunately, some have been incorrectly identified as MiG-21 UMs, which is very confusing, particularly as both variants appear to have their serials jumbled together

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