Israel MiG-21

Israel MiG-21 – Undoubtedly a number of MiG-21s of several different subtypes fell into Israeli hands in the series of wars with Egypt, Syria and Iraq in the 1960s and l970s.The most famous is the MiG-21 F-13 serialled 007. There were actually two different aircraft so serialled: the first was the aforementioned Iraqi Air Force ‘534’ surrendered to the Israelis by Captain Munir Redfa, who defected on 16th August 1966, landing at Hatzor AB. The fighter was thoroughly tested by the Israeli Defence Force/Air Force (IDF/AF, or Heyl Ha’Avir) before being shipped over to America but a second captured example received the same serial (but different markings) and was displayed at the IDF/AF Museum at Hatzerim AB. Originally it wore the original overall silver finish with the addition of Dayglo orange areas to underscore its test status but was later repainted in IDF/AF style camouflage. Six Algerian Air Force MiG-21 F-13s on their way to assist the Egyptian Air Force landed in error at an air base recently captured by the Israeli army. Four of these aircraft were sent to America.

There is an unofficial story about the formation of the so-called Soviet Squadron of the IDF/AF. It comprised three former Syrian Air Force MiG-17s, an ex-Egyptian Sukhoi Su-7B and the ex-Iraqi MiG-21 F-13 serialled 007. These aircraft were not sent into combat against their former owners but were used to familiarise pilots with these types and to develop tactics to use against them. There may be another spin-off from their capture; it is suggested that their existence caused the Soviets to have second thoughts about sending their latest equipment to an ally who cannot guarantee their security.

Additionally, a MiG-21 bis (izdeliye 75A) bought from Nigeria was used by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) as an upgrade demonstrator. The silver-painted aircraft wore the IAI logo and the serial 802 on the tail; an unusual feature was the aft-pointing chaff/flare dispensers mounted low on the rear fuselage sides. An ex-Romanian MiG-21 MF, 5902 Black (c/n 96005902) was converted as the MiG-21-2000 upgrade demon­strator, receiving an IAI/Elta fire control radar, new cockpit instrumentation and a wraparound birdproof windscreen. The grey-painted aircraft had a red/white striped rudder and carried the Le Bourget exhibit code 252 on the fin along with the serial, plus IAI and Aerostar logos. A similarly converted MiG-21 bis (izdeliye 75B) serialled IAI 304 wore a white/red/black demonstrator livery with IDF/AF insignia.

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