Looking for people views on the following:
The MIG-21 being the most produced supersonic jetaircraft in the world, and having an extremely long production run, theres still many of the aircraft in service with various countries around the world and with the many upgrades available, my thoughts are does this aircraft still have a future or use with the armies that still field it or should it be taken out of service??????
In my view, the Mig-21 is an extraordinary successful engineering for this last 60 decades. With a fair upgrade the Mig-21 -do not laugh , and do not mock please-it is still effective and extremely redoubtable until now.
The great question is on all our minds :
In dogfight, Is the Mig-21 effective against F-16 -A, C, ....- fighting falcon, or viper, or block -50 etc....- ?
These past years I find myself pondering by this question. In fact we must to see in the past and definitely forget western version about the Mig-21. We must forget all propaganda whatever it is.
During Vietnam war the Mig-21 was highly effective against all US fighters. 60 Mig-21 downed by F-4 , against at least 130 F-4 Phantom II destroyed by Mig-21. This incredible ratio could be explained by the bad conception of US aircrafts F-4, Crusader, Corsair A7, F-100, F-105 etc...
A heavy, fat muti-role
fighter bomber that must do all, and anything, designed around a cumbersome most of the time pointless radar, relying on its ineffective air-air missiles -ratio of success contrary to the western hype never exceed in the best case 5%
-, against an agile, mono-role
, light fighter designed only for interception, and dogfighting, especially relying on its effective cannon.
The success of the Mig-21 was confirmed during october 1973 war, where egyptian, syrian, algerian, iraqi Mig-21 crushed israeli, US fighters like Mirage III -the rare israeli's asset very effective, with its Mystere-, and F-4 Phantom. During this conflict, the despair urgency of the situation is such that, US and Israel threatened to use nuclear weapons. Again the Mig-21 prove a real effectiveness in design, conception, and philosophy of the combat.
Soviet upgraded their very effective Mig-21 with a new engine, and avionics, the name was Mig-21 Bis.
The fear of US was high, they developed F-15, F-16, F-18 against the Mig-21's threat. Now, what about against the new generation of US fighters ? Are they really effective ? The only data we have was the battle of the Bekaa occurred in Lebanon in 1982. It is useful too, to ignore propaganda of US, Israel, Syria, and Soviet Union. And let's focus on what's happened on the ground. Indeed, what's happened exactly ? Far of the israeli's supid fantasies about their so-called success -they claimed 100 syrians aircrafts downed against 0 losses, nevertheless the ground witnessed the contrary-, that turned to be completely false, as a whole fighters of Syria AF annihilated 42 aircraft of Israeli AF (including, as minimum, 5 F-15A and 6 F-16A) and one remote piloted aircraft in the course of dogfights from the 6th to the 12th of June (that day cease-fire has been signed). At the same time Syria AF lost 47 aircraft ( 4 Мig-23МS, 6 Мig-23МF, 26 Mig-21 bis
and 11 Mig-21 MF
). 7 SU-22М fighter-bombers and few Мig-23 BN were downed too.
As you can see at least 6 F-16 were downed during this battle.
As you can realize the heavy number of 26 effective
Mig-21 Bis, why ?
The question now what were exactly the syrian Mig-21 Bis' soviet export ? Here is the response :
Here are different Mig-21 Bis, those for soviet air force, and those for export:
Let's zoom on export, and especially those for syrian air force :
It is in fact syrian's Mig-21 are a downgraded Mig-21 Bis, they are different from those intended for soviet air force without air air missiles, and certainly without fair avionics like effective MAWS, and downgraded radar too.
If you add the facts that Israeli ground forces were equipped with sam, and...the effective anti-aircraft gun M-61 Vulcan.
Mounted on israeli's M-113
There were several syrian fighter bombers downed by the israeli ground M-61 Vulcan. Notice that Israel lost beside their F-15, F-16, and F-4 E Phantom II, an E-2C Hawkeye
After the loses -never admitted by israel for obvious geopolical raisons.- Israel asked to Syria cease fire. June 12, 1982, immediately after the downed E-2 C the cease fire was applied. Notice Israel has a politic to systematically deny any losses whatever it is.
If you remove the number of fighters downed by the ground, and fighter dedicated as slight bombers and not fighters, and you compare the with the real duals that occurred, I won't be surprised to see syrian air force having a slight advantage. In fact, if we remove the Mig-21 Bis intended to be as slight bomber, and you leave only the pure fighters, you can easily realized, that neither the F-16, nor the F-15 provided to Israel a real superiority.
Concerning the F-16 the doubt raised again during Desert Storm in 1991, this supposed dogfighter did not succeed to down any Iraqi aircraft. Even the A-10 succeeded by downing a Mil-8, but not the F-16. During the Balkan's war, the F-16 indeed down few serbian aircrafts, but, US coalition outnumbered -as it was during Desert Storm- serbian malfunctioning fighters -where serbian could barely deploy less than 30 fighters, meanwhile US coaltion built up 900-.My conviction
The Mig-21, 60 years after, with a fair avionic upgrade is still more than never a redoubtable fighter able to match any US fighter, including the F-35. Meanwhile, the F-16 was a total faillure. In each exercise the Mig-21 demonstrated that it could really be a game changer, even against the F-15 C -see Cope India 2004-.