The evolution of combat aircraft in the last 20 years has meant a fantastic technological leap, especially in the avionics and on board weapons (steering and navigation systems, target acquisition, precision striking “surgical” means of survival in hostile environment), but also in building the cell or engine. However, acquiring these new capabilities required the increase of a lot of defense budgets of countries wishing to have such powerful weapons. A modern fighter aircraft can cost between 20-30 million dollars (MiG-29, F-16, Saab Gripen JAS-39) and $ 75 million (F-22 Raptor).
For this reason, many countries are considering bringing the current standards of equipment yet in service and competitive (and which have a sufficient flight resource) into modernization programs.
Among the devices built in the former USSR, the MiG-21 was a formidable adversary in conflicts in the 60s and 70s (those between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, Vietnam War, the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973 ), but with the advancement of new generations of aircrafts represented by F-16, F-18 and, respectively, MiG-29, he was beaten, especially in terms of electronics designed for piloting, navigation and fire management.
In total, 10,158 MiG-21 were built in three factories in the former USSR: GAZ-21 Sokol of Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod), GAS-1 Znamea Truda in Moscow and, respectively, GAZ-31 Georgi Dimitrov (currently in Georgia). Add to these the devices built in India, China and Czechoslovakia.
The first versions built was the MiG-21 F-13, PF, U, but they were withdrawn from the endowment of most users, but more recent versions, built especially after 1970, are still competitive (within limits) and have sufficient resources, allowing them to maintain service until 2010. There are versions like the MiG-21 with a single-seat variant M, the MiG-21 MF (NATO code: Fishbed J) and MiG-21 bis (Fishbed L) and dual-control variant of MiG-21 UM (Mongol B) totaling about 4,500 aircraft (built in the USSR , India and China), which was in service in over 35 countries and is suitable for upgrading.
The program called “DD” (in memory of pilot writer Doru Davidovich), allowed the MiG-21 to be reconfigurated in the following variants:
• air-ground version (close air support) simple command, called Lancer
The prototype of this variant and also the first upgraded MiG-21 Lancer in Romania, no. 9809 – formerly known as modernization “Protocol”, made its first flight, lasting 37 minutes, on 22.08. 1995. Take-off took place at 14.18 and on official flight took place 08/23/1995. The first upgraded aircraft as a serial product, bearing the number 714, was presented both in flight and the ground at the State Fair Farnborough International ’96.
• dual control air-ground version or Lancer B
The prototype of this variant, bearing the number 327, made its first flight on 6 May 1996. Off took place at 16.00, flight lasting 40 minutes. Official flight took place on 8 May 1996.
Between August and December 12, 1998, the plane was presented at the Aero India ’98 Bangalore.
To the Lancer B two-seater version was introduced the ground attack capability, which was nonexistent in the previous two-seater version.
Avionics installed on board these two variables allowed the use of increased precision weapons to hit targets with the land board, by calculating the point of impact further, launching bombs on target with coordinated pre-dive bombing facilities.
• air-air version simple command (air superiority) or Lancer C
The prototype of this variant, with the number 6607, made its first flight, lasting 40 minutes, 6 November 1996, taking off taking place at 11.07, this flight is followed by the official flight in 11.08.1996.
Because of the increasing precision of radar given by the new dielectric cone (Radom), which was installed it is observed from the outside by its black color, compared with the green Lancer A.
The testing the interaction between the radar and the new cone (Radom) was performed on a flying laboratory IAI Westwind, with the front fuselage contour modified MiG-21 nose.
The discovery radius of the radar distance is 60-80 km.
MIG-21 Pictures Gallery