The MiG-21 was designed as a replacement for the MiG-15 following the experiences of the Korean War. Prototypes were first flown in 1955.
Mikoyan designed a small, light airframe with a triangular delta wing shape which requires less power to achieve Mach 2 but which also gives less space for fuel or sophisticated radar systems.
In the Vietnam war, the MiG-21 in skillful hands proved a formidable opponent to the heavier American aircraft (notably the F-4). The Communists, however, were hampered by a lower level of pilot skill and lost an average of 2.5 aircraft to every one of the Americans'.
 Bord 38
- Assembly complete. Initial engine run performed.
Flying MiG-21 is like kissing tiger — the pleasure is little and the risk great. ~ Bulgarian VVS Colonel
Be careful with the MiG-21. There are 42 checklist procedures that end in ''eject!'' ~ Don Kirlin
This is my dream aircraft. Ever since I can remember, I've always wanted to fly the MiG-21. ~ Z
 Specifications (MiG-21UM)
 General characteristics
- Crew: 2: student and instructor
- Length: 15.76 m including probe (51 ft 8 in)
- Wingspan: 7.15 m (23 ft 5 in)
- Height: 4.12 m (13 ft 6 in)
- Wing area: 23 m² (247.5 ft²)
- Empty weight: 5,350 kg (11,800 lbs)
- Loaded weight: 8,726 kg (19,200 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 9,660 kg (21,300 lb)
- Powerplant: 1× Tumansky R-13-300 afterburning turbojet, 70 kN (97 kN with extreme afterburner) (15,700 lbf)
- Maximum speed: 2230 km/h (1,385 mph) (Mach 2.05)
- Range: 450-500 km (280-310 mi)
- Service ceiling: 19,000 m (62,300 ft)
- Rate of climb: 225 m/s (23,600 ft/min but with 50 per cent fuel and two AA-2 "Atoll" missiles, the MiG-21 can reach 58,000 feet (19,000 meters) in one minute, under favorable weather circumstances)
- Wing loading: 379 kg/m² (77.8 lb/ft²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.84
- One centerline twin-barrelled GSh-23 23 mm cannon (PFM, MF, SMT, and bis variants) or one single-barrelled NR-30 cannon (F-13 variant).MiG 21 UM has single-barrelled 12,7 mm. machine gun.
- Up to 2,000 kg (4,400 lb) of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons on two or four underwing hardpoints, depending on the variant. Early machines carried two Vympel K-13 (AA-2 'Atoll') air-to-air missiles under the wing pylons. Late models carried two K-13 and two fuel tanks under the wing pylons or combinations of four K-13 infrared- and radar-guided missiles. The Molniya R-60 (NATO reporting name AA-8 'Aphid') was also used on multiple pylons and six of them could be carried. Most aircraft carried a single 450 L (119 US gal) fuel tank on the centerline pylon.
 Historical - Bulgarian Service
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