The first turbojet fighter developed by Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB ,was the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-9, which appeared in the years immediately after World War II. It used a pair of reverse-engineered German BMW 003 engines. MiG -9 was a troublesome design that suffered from weak , unreliable engines and control problems. Categorised as a first generation jet fighter.
Aviation Minister Mikhail Khrunichev and the aircraft designer A.S. Yakovlev suggested to then Prime Minister Joseph Stalin that they buy the fully developed Nene engines from Rolls Royce for the purpose of coping them in minimum time.
Rolls-Royce Nene Engine
Joseph Stalin gave his consent and the two and other technical staff to the United Kingdom to request the engines. To Stalin’s amazement, the British Government and its Ministers of Trade, Sir Richard Cripps, were perfectly willing to provide technical information and a licence to manufacture the Rolls-Royce Nene Sample engines were purchased and delivered with blueprints. Following evaluation and adaption to Russian conditions, the windfall technology was tooled for mass production as the KlimovRD-45 to be incorporated into the MiG-15.
To take advantage of the new engine, the Council of Ministers ordered them to build two prototypes for an advanced daytime interceptor to defend against bombers. It was to have a top speed of 1000 kilometres per hour and arrange of 1200 kilometres. Further research and experience during World War II, the Soviets later established that swept wing would give better performance at transonic speeds. At the end of World War II the Soviets seized many of the assets of Germany’s aircraft industry.
The MiG Team studied these plans, prototypes and documents, particularly swept wing research and designs, even going as far as to produce a flying test bed in 1945 to check out swept-wing designs concepts as the piston-ringed “pusher”-layout. The swept-wing later proved to have a decisive performance advantage over straight-winged jet fighters when it was introduced into combat over Korea
The MiG-15 bore a much stronger likeness to the than the American F-86 Sabre, which also incorporated German research. The MiG-15 does bear a resemblance in layout, sharing the high tail plane and nose mounted intake, although the aircraft are in different in structure, details and proportions.
The MiG-15 was originally intended to intercept American bombers like the B-29. It was even evaluated in mock battles with a captured B-29. To ensure the destruction of such large bombers, the MiG-15 carried auto cannons: two 23mm with 80 rounds per gun and a single 37 mm with 40 rounds. These Weapons provided punch in the interceptor role, but the limited rate of fire and relatively low velocity made it more difficult to score hits against small manoeuvrable enemy jet fighters in air-to-air combat.
The MiG-15s took part in the first jet-versus-jet dogfights during the Korean War. This swept wing aircraft quickly proved superior to the first –generation, straight-wing jets of the western air forces such as the Lockheed F-80 and the British Gloster Meteor, as well as piston-engined P-51 Mustang and Vought F4U Corsairs. The MiG-15 of First Lieutenant Semyon Fyodorovich Khominich scoring the first jet-vs-jet victory in history when he bagged the F-80c of Frank Van Sickle, who died in the encounter.
Lockheed F-80 Gloster Meteor
The MiG-15 performance amazed its Western opponents. The British Chief of The Air Staff said “Not only is it faster than anything we are building today, but it is being produced in very large numbers. The Russians therefore have achieved a four year lead British development in respect of the of the vitally important interceptor fighter” The MiG-15 proved very effective in its designed role against formations of B-29 heavy bombers, shooting down numerous bombers. In a match up with F-86, the results were not clear cut, and the Americans claimed that the F-86 had the advantage in combat skills. The Soviet 64th IAK Claimed 1106 UN aircraft destroyed in the Korean War, compared to Allied records that 142 were downed by Soviet MiG-15 pilots. Western experts do acknowledge many Soviet pilots earned bigger individual scores than their American counterparts.
F-86 Sabre and MiG-15
The MiG-15 is often mentioned, along with the North American F-86 Sabre, as the best fighter aircraft of all time. The MiG-15 remains in service with the Korean Air Force as an advanced trainer.