Mikojan i Guriewicz MiG-21 F-13. 2009.

Kraków 2009-08-28


180 Section 1961-09-29.

OKB Mikojan and Guriewicz MiG-21 F-13.

A supersonic fighter aircraft operating in "all weather conditions".

MiG-21 F-13 nb 809 nr 740809. Czyżyny 2002. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
MiG-21 F-13 nb 809 nr 740809. Czyżyny 2002. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

MiG-21 F-13 nb 809 nr 740809. Czyżyny 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
MiG-21 F-13 nb 809 nr 740809. Czyżyny 2007. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

MiG-21 F-13 nb 809 nr 740809. Czyżyny 2014. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman
MiG-21 F-13 nb 809 nr 740809. Czyżyny 2014. Photo by Karol Placha Hetman

MiG-21 F-13 nb 809 No. 740809, was delivered on 1963-09-16. It served successively in 11. PLM, 40. PLM, 4. PLM, 2. PLM. It was not qualified for sale to Syria. In 1974, it was transferred to the COSSTWL center. On 1977-10-03, written down from the State of the Air Force and transferred to the Museum of Aviation and Astronautics in Czyżyny, and is now the Museum of Polish Aviation.

The first "delta" in CCCP. E-4.

Aerodynamic Piotr Krasilszczikow in CCCP was a great supporter of the triangular wing, commonly called "delta". He just persuaded Mikojan to prepare a plane with a new plane. Scientists have promised many benefits from the new solution; increasing speed, range, maneuverability and weight reduction.

The new construction has received the designation E-3. The aircraft was supposed to be powered by the AM-5 A engine, but soon it turned into an E-4 structure powered by the RD-9 B engine. Exactly it was the E-2 aircraft already known to us, only equipped with a new wing. This situation turned out to be very favorable. It allowed almost parallel comparison of these two constructions.

The E-4 construction received a triangular lobe. The slant was 57 degrees. The wing from above was smooth, while from below received one large aerodynamic steering wheel. They are equipped with CAGI shutters and flaps. The fuel installation consisted of 6 fuselage tanks with a capacity of 1 570 liters. In addition to barrel equipment, the aircraft was given the ability to move containers from e.g. UB-16-57 or bombs up to 500 kg, interchangeable with an additional tank under the fuselage.

The first flight was made by pilot pilot Siedow on 1955-06-16. All flights were successful and gave valuable research material on the new plane. But despite the replacement of the engine on the RD-9 E with 1 x 3 725 kG thrust, with afterburning the aircraft reached a speed of only 1 296 km / h. which was a disappointment. As a result of experience, the wing was slightly rebuilt. They were equipped with three pairs of smaller aerodynamic steering wheels. The lobes at the ends were cut off, thus eliminating vibration caused by low rigidity of the structure. The wingspan of the aircraft decreased by 0.60 m. On 1955-09-05, the changed E-4 again flown again by pilot test Siedow.

Research conducted on E-4 (delta lobe) and parallel to it E-2 (oblique lobe) did not, however, give full experimental material regarding the superiority of one wing over the other. The problem was that the unwavering goal of the designers was to build a fighter jet at a constant speed of 2,000 km / h, and none of these constructions could achieve such a speed. The engine had to be replaced.

Mikojan and Guriewicz E-5, MiG-21.

W OKB Mikojan and Guriewicz also undertook the construction of a second prototype E-4/2, but it was not flown, but rebuilt for the new AM-11 engine. The rear of the fuselage was rebuilt. The air grip has also been increased. This is how the E-5, also known as I-500, was created. Here is the explanation. The AM-11 engines in serial production were designated RD-11, and over time the final name R-11 became established. The AM-11 engine has a 1 x 3 725 kG thrust, and with 1 x 5,000 kG afterburning. The plane was flown 1956-01-09. The pilot was Vladimir A. Niefiedow.

The main reason for building the E-5 was to compare it with the E-2 A. Mikojan wanted to collect the maximum amount of comparative information of the oblique wings with the triangular wings. Already the first flights showed that the "delta" wing provided better stability and control at higher speeds. It was lighter and stiffer. This, however, was not enough for Mikojan. The difference was not that huge after all. It was necessary to be sure if it was worth introducing new technologies. After all, the slanted wing was very well controlled in production. Fierce discussion and dispute arose between supporters of both solutions. Mikojan often went to the training ground, where he talked directly to the pilots immediately after flights. At the same time, the CCCP interview meticulously provided information on Western constructions. Among other things, the F-104 aircraft wing system was tested in a wind tunnel, considering it to be unsuccessful (?). In fact, the Russians had scant data on the plane of the F-104. The Mirage III aircraft system was also tested, but the lack of horizontal tail caused constructors' uncertainty about maneuverability. Finally, it was decided to further develop the E-5.

On the E-5 in February 1956, a speed of 1,970 km / h (Ma-1,85) was achieved, but the tests were interrupted by an underdeveloped engine. On 1956-02-20, the engine caught fire when trying to start on the ground and the turbine was destroyed. Three months later another failure occurred, turbine bursting. On 1956-10-18, flights were temporarily discontinued. On 1956-10-27, the engine was transferred to the factory for modernization. The afterburner chamber has been enlarged.

As for the airframe, the flights revealed that the balancing of the aircraft is close to neutral, which significantly hinders piloting. Therefore, on 1956-11-24, the aircraft was sent to the factory to lengthen the front of the fuselage by 400 mm to move the center of mass forward. The improved E-5 was again flown by pilot Niefiedow on 1957-04-01. By December 1957, all factory tests had been completed and based on them it was decided to send the aircraft to serial production. WWS (War Ventral Forces) CCCP gave it the designation MiG-21, and plant No. 30 in Moscow and plant No. 31 in Tbilisi were selected for production. In total, 2 prototypes and only 5 serial machines were built. The reason for such low production was the creation of a better E-6 aircraft.

E-6, MiG-21 F, E-6 T, MiG-21 F-13.

The designers received a new, more powerful engine. AM-11 F, which in production was designated R-11 F-300 with 1 x 3 800 kG thrust, and with post-combustion 1 x 5 625 kG. This engine created real possibilities of building a serial fighter plane with constant Ma-2 speed. It was decided, therefore, to build another prototype marked E-6. The new aircraft once again received an enlarged fuel installation. Fuel tanks mounted in the wings appeared for the first time. The amount of fuel has reached 2,300 liters. In addition, a 490 liter fuel tank could be hung under the fuselage. The wing has also changed. Instead of three pairs, only two pairs of aerodynamic steering wheels were mounted and again cut by 0.30 m, wing tips for improved stiffness. The horizontal crease was lowered down to the plane of the wings. For this reason, instead of two sub-fuselage aerodynamic steering wheels, one central was introduced.

On 1958-05-20, the E-6 prototype flew pilot Vladimir A. Niefiedow. In one of the next flights, at an altitude of 12,500 m, it reached a speed of 2,175 km / h (Ma-2.05).

Unfortunately, the seventh flight E-6 on 1958-05-28 ended in a catastrophe. At supersonic speed, at an altitude of 18,000 m, the engine stopped working. An attempt to start it failed. The pilot, Vladimir Niefiedov, was ordered to catapult. However, he wanted to save the machine. He was trying to land. The plane, however, from a height of about 2 m fell to the ground, overturned and caught fire. The wounded pilot died after a few days. The commission investigating the causes of the disaster found that the pilot had triple bad luck. The engine went out because it was pumped. It could not be started because the fuel in the outgoing tank warmed up and became volatile. The plane fell to the ground because the hydraulic system got off, and the emergency electric took time to switch and other pilot actions. If the aviator had a few more seconds, if he were higher, he would have landed successfully.

In the new prototype E-6/2, the electric emergency control system has been replaced by a hydraulic one. Switching occurs almost imperceptibly for the remote control. Builders caught the most trouble in the air. New high speeds have forced the use of a regulated inlet. The cone has been able to move axially and automatically occupies one of three positions. In addition, air vent was installed on the fuselage. The new inlets were tested, among others, on the already known SM-12 (MiG-19).

The E-6/2 prototype piloted by K. K. Kokkinaki pilot made the first flight 1958-09-15. The aircraft was used to test the system; air intake - engine. The aircraft also received oxy-petrol installations for starting the engine in the air. The flights were performed, among others, by Siedow pilot. The test cycle was completed on 1959-02-24.

In December 1958, another E-6/3 prototype was launched. At the same time, serial production began under the name MiG-21 F (forsirowannyj). By the end of 1959, 30 copies were produced, and the remaining 10 units in 1960. The production plant was a factory in Gorki. There, the aircraft had the type designation 72. The aircraft achieved good results in tests. Maximum speed 2 100 km / h (Ma-1.97).

The first three serial machines went to OKB Mikojan. There they received new armament - CCP. K-13 (R-3). These fighters have been marked; E-6 T / 1, E-6 T / 2 and E-6 T / 3. Together with K-13, the planes received the SRD-5 M or MK radio rangefinder and the counter (calculator) of the firing range of the WRD-2 A missile. It determines the effective firing distance of the missile depending on the height, speed of the fighter and approaching speed. The left cannon was not mounted on the aircraft. Only one cannon left.

The tests of the aircraft lasted until 1960. The production of aircraft was launched in Gorki under the designation MiG-21 F-13 (and again given the designation type 72). In 1960, 114 pieces were built. Then the plant went on to build the MiG-21 F-13 (type 74) version. The aircraft received a lower and widened tail. The area decreased from 4.08 to 3.80 m2. However, the sub-hull steering wheel was enlarged. Another change during production was the addition of two more tanks in the wings. The fuel installation reached 2,500 liters. In this form, the MiG-21 F-13 (type 74) was built in the period 1960-1962. 551 were built in Gorki and 17 in Tbilisi. Airplanes for export were built in 1962-1965.

In 1962, the license of the MiG-21 F (type 72) aircraft was sold to China and Czechoslovakia.

The subject of the license for MiG-21 for Poland.

For the licensed MiG-21 fighter, the Lim-7 designation has been provided in Poland. The relevant documents were already signed in July 1956 and January 1957. However, at this time the Kremlin's distrust of the new PZPR authorities, including Władysław Gomółka, increased. On May 24-25, 1957, a Polish delegation was in Moscow insisting on the sale of licenses. Nikita Khrushchev commented on Polish insistence; "... if all of you can make sure you keep the secret, I won't believe you." Ultimately, at that time, it was only agreed to sell 36 MiG-19 aircraft to Poland. Subject experts may notice some inaccuracies here that almost in the mid-1950s there is talk about a MiG-21 fighter. But there are no inaccuracies here. Khrushchev was talking here about the MiG-21 aircraft based on the experimental E-5 produced very briefly, not about the later and widely known MiG-21 / E-6.

However, in 1960, the subject of MiG-21 aircraft for Poland was revived again. It was connected with the "Cuban crisis". The CCCP authorities agreed to sell these machines to Poland, without the right to manufacture. Have we tried to get licenses again in the following years? - You don't know that.

MiG-21 F-13 for Poland. At the beginning of.

It was 1966. As a child, I traveled with my parents by train from Kraków through Ostrów Wielkopolski to Poznań. The train ran smoothly over the rails, covering subsequent sections of the 400 kilometer route. Poznań was not far away. Our compartment window looked west. At one point my dad said we were approaching Krzesin, where there are "deltas". Even then I knew that there are such fighters in Poland that have triangular wings, but I have not seen them live. I didn't expect to see them now. As my father told me, I stared at the horizon. And at one point I noticed three, maybe four glittering silver fuselages of planes. Every now and then they hid and emerged from behind trees and bushes. They long and slender fuselages betrayed the possibility of reaching enormous speeds. They were far away, but on the oblique vertical knife-like tail white-and-red checkers could be seen. This view lasted only a few seconds and made a great impression on me. Unfortunately, I did not see the triangular wings. What is delayed is not lost. A few days later, being with my grandmother in Poznań, I heard and saw these planes in the sky. The shape of the wings left no doubt that they were "deltas". After years of analyzing, I could not tell if the planes I saw were the MiG-21 F-13 or the MiG-21 PF.

Polish MiG-21 F-13.

At the beginning of the 1960s, the era of fighter aircraft reaching twice the speed of sound arrived. The need to have this type of machine became urgent. MiG-19 did not meet all the hopes placed in it. The introduction of a new technique in the form of MiG-21 F-13 fighters was often tried to be described as the "second technical revolution in Polish Aviation". (The first was the introduction of the MiG-15, Lim-1/2 aircraft.) Maybe it would be if the Soviets gave us licenses. And who knows what the Polish MiG-21 might look like if Polish designers took care of it. (See Lim-6 bis). MiG-21 F-13 fighters could not be a breakthrough. They did not have a radar station (radar). There were only two new elements; twice the speed of sound and p-p missiles with a thermal homing head.

MiG-21 F-13 is the first variant of the aircraft purchased by the Polish Army. Only new aircraft, manufactured in CCCP at the Gorki plant, came to Poland. The aircraft as a drive has an R-11F-300 engine with 1 x 3 822 kG thrust. and 1 x 5 625 kG. with afterburning. The machine does not have a radar sight (radar station).

The first plane was brought to Poland on 1961-09-29, in strict confidence, without any markings. The aircraft had the serial number 741217 and was given the number 1217. It was placed in the Aviation Training Center in Modlin. The plane was heavily guarded and few people had access to it. It is difficult to say today how many flights this copy made in the first months of its stay in Poland. One thing is certain, that regular training has not yet been conducted. Officially, it was to provide assistance in the training of flying and technical personnel. In the winter of 1961/1962, for the aircraft to formally comply with airworthiness, it had to be periodically flying. For this purpose, a pilot with a technician flew to Modlin from the Soviet 582. PLM stationed in Poland in Chojno. The local unit had a MiG-21 F / F-13 in stock.

In parallel, in the fall of September 1961 (or November 1961) the first group of 16 (15) pilots was sent to CCCP to Krasnodar for training. The group's commander was Lt. Col. Pilot Rafał Bulak from the 3rd Corps of OPK. Two pilots came from the WL and OPL Command, five pilots-instructors from the CSL (Aviation Training Center) in Modlin. Seven came from the 62nd PLM in Krzesiny. They were it; captain Ludwik Podraza, captain Jerzy Makarewicz, lieutenant Andrzej Lewandowski, lieutenant Jan Staniec, lieutenant Tadeusz Falczyński, lieutenant Jan Jędrzejewski, lieutenant Wawrzyniec Czapiga. Such a composition resulted from the fact that the 62nd PLM was the first to be equipped with MiG-21 F-13 aircraft. The last pilot (16) also came from the 62nd PLM, but was deleted for health reasons. Regardless of the pilots, the ground crew received training. By December 1961, our pilots had completed about 3 hours of flight. The bad organization of the training and misunderstanding resulting from damage to one of the aircraft caused the officers to return to Poland early on 1961-12-24.

In the spring of 1962, a group of four instructors from Modlin was directed to the Soviet Chojna airport (in Poland) to complete the training and receive appropriate certificates. They were in the group; Major Kazimierz Kamiński, Capt. Stanisław Radziejowski, lieutenant Wiesław Komuda, lieutenant Stanisław Chreptowicz. In July 1962, these pilots began independent flights.

In April 1962, a detailed plan was drawn up for the implementation of new fighters into service. Its author and coordinator was Col. Pilot Władysław Hermaszewski.

We received another 8 aircraft only after a year, in September 1962. Exactly on September 19-21, 1962, MiG-21 F-13 No. was delivered to Modlin; 742007, 742008, 742009, 742015, 742016, 742017, 742018, 742019. These aircraft together with the first machine were used for training at CSL in Modlin.

According to the adopted plan, the 62nd PLM from the 3rd Corps of the OPK was the first combat unit where it was decided to equip one squadron with the MiG-21 F-13. On 1962-10-22, 62. PLM took over the first 4 planes from CSL in Modlin. They were no; 742015, 742016, 742017, 742018. Already 1962-11-06, the pilots of the regiment began their first flights in Krzesiny. On 1963-01-11, another 4 fighters came directly from CCCP to Krzesiny. They were no; 742220, 742223, 742224, 732307. From that moment, the regiment became the base to which successive batches of aircraft went, and hence they were only disposed of to other units. Here also operated the so-called Manufacturer's Complaint Group.

The second unit selected for conversion into new fighters was the 1st PLM OPK from Mińsk Mazowiecki from the 1st Corps of OPK. In 1962, two pilots were fully trained in CSL, and in the period from August to September 1963, another seven pilots underwent theoretical training. Practical training was already conducted in Mińsk Mazowiecki, because on 1963-09-14, aircraft No. was accepted; 740802, 740803, 740804, 740805, 740806, 740807, which joined the two adopted from CSL in Modlin.

Also in the autumn of 1962, two pilots from the 11th PLM OPK from Debrzno from the 2nd Corps of the OPK began full training at CSL. Another eight pilots underwent theoretical training also in August-September 1963. This regiment on 1963-09-16, adopted the number of aircraft; 740808, 740809, 740811, 740812, 740813, 740814. Like in Minsk, they joined the two received from Modlin. The MiG-21 F-13 replaced the previously operated Lim-5 in the first line. After several months of intensive and hard training in the 62nd PLM in April 1963, the MiG-21 F-13 squadron inaugurated the use of these machines in the National Air Defense Forces. This happened as part of the Warsaw Pact exercises, during which the first intercept of air targets took place.

On 1963-11-20, the first accident with the participation of MiG-21 F-13 nb 2016 No. 742016 took place (in 62. PLM or CSL in Modlin), when two machines collided during landing. Pilot por Wawrzyniec Czapiga.

Finally, we collected 25 pieces of MiG-21 F-13 aircraft. They were in the equipment of three regiments, in one squadron. In the second squadrons, Lim-5 / P was still in use.

In 1964, deliveries to Poland of the first MiG-21 PF began, so it was decided to transfer these machines to the regiments operating MiG-21 F-13, i.e. to regiments 1. 11. 62. PLM. In turn, MiG-21 F-13 began to be transferred to other combat regiments.

The 13 PLM OPK from Łęczyca belonging to the 1st Corps of OPK, the first two pilots on the MiG-21 F-13 trained in CSL in 1963, and in 1964, another nine. In August 1964, the regiment took over four MiG-21 F-13 aircraft from other units.

Similarly, the 26th PLM OPK Zegrze Pomorskie, belonging to the 2nd Corps of the OPK, trained the first two pilots in CSL in 1963, and in July 1964, another eight. In July 1964, the regiment received three MiG-21 F-13 aircraft.

The history of the 3rd PLM OPK Starachowice from the 3rd Corps of OPK was almost identical. Two pilots were trained in CSL in 1963, and in July 1964, another nine. In August 1964, the regiment accepted four MiG-21 F-13 aircraft.

As we remember, in 1962, the division of Polish Aviation into National Air Defense Aviation (OPK) and Operational Aviation (LO) took place. Roughly it can be said that LO had offensive tasks and was subject to orders from the Kremlin. It was also decided to equip these regiments with the MiG-21 fighter aircraft. According to the plan of the General Staff of the Polish Army, the first unit equipped with MiG-21 F-13 aircraft was the 40th PLM in Świdwin. Training of designated personnel (six pilots) began at CSL in February 1964, and in September 1964, the regiment received the first three MiG-21 F-13 aircraft; 740812, 740813, 740814. Another three MiG-21 F-13 aircraft; 740808, 740809, 740811, a little later. All machines were delivered with 11. PLM Debrzno.

The second LO regiment rearmed on the MiG-21 F-13 was the 41st PLM LO from Malbork. In 1964, six pilots were trained at CSL (including two theoretically). In August 1964, the regiment received two aircraft from the 11th PLM, and in November 1964, one from Modlin.

We know that the MiG-21 F-13 was to be armed with far more than 25 units. There were talks about the import of 220 aircraft. Therefore, the training of pilots of subsequent units in 1965, in CSL continued. trained; 16 pilots from the 2nd PLM OPK Łask, 12 pilots from the 34th PLM OPK Babie Doły, 14 pilots from the 45th PLM OPK Babimost, 12 pilots from the 4th PLM LO Goleniów.

During service, MiG-21 F-13 aircraft were rotated between regiments and were finally in a state of nine fighter regiments (in order of numbers); 1. PLM in Mińsk Mazowiecki, 3. PLM in Wrocław (later 11. PLM), 4. PLM in Goleniów (since 1965), 11. PLM (first in Debrzno later in Wrocław-Starachowice), 13. PLM in Łęczyca, 26. PLM in Zegrze Pomorskie, 40. PLM in Świdwin, 41. PLM in Malbork (since 1964), 62. PLM in Krzesiny. These aircraft in the regiments replaced different versions of Lim and MiG-17.

The first years of operation of the MiG-21 F-13 brought another two accidents. On 1965-06-23, the MiG-21 F-13 nb 4814 No. 74081 plane crashed, in which pilot Captain Eugeniusz Mochnacki was killed. The aircraft belonged to 11. PLM or 13. PLM. Also in 1965, on the MiG-21 F-13 aircraft belonging to the 40th PLM in Świdwin, pilot lieutenant Cyril the Royal was killed.

In 1965, the transition of OPK aviation to MiG-21 PF aircraft resulted in the concentration of MiG-21 F-13 aircraft from 26th PLM and 3. PLM in the 13th PLM OPK Łęczyca. In OPK aviation, in connection with the arrival of more MiG-21 PF aircraft, attempts were made to transfer MiG-21 F-13 aircraft to LO. The turning point was June 1965, when a large party MiG-21 PF arrived in Poland. Subsequent OPK regiments (1, 3, 11, 26, 62) were completely rearmed to MiG-21 PF, and 11 machines were grouped in 13. PLM OPK Łęczyca. However, the same was done in LO. All seven machines were transferred to the 4th PLM Goleniów, where they arrived in 1967, the last three MiG-21 F-13 from CSL from Modlin. At that time (1965) we had 21 operational MiG-21 F-13.

The technical advantage of the MiG-21 PF over the MiG-21 F-13 was clear. Both OPK and LO aviation wanted to get rid of these machines for the benefit of the other party. The peak of the dispute took place in January 1966, when the MiG-21 PFM with the SPS installation began to reach Poland, which significantly shortens the run-down of the machine. This feature, as very useful for LO, was proposed by LO commander Brigadier General Franciszek Kamiński. He proposed that the LO should be armed with the MiG-21 PFM and the OPK with the MiG-21 F-13 and MiG-21 PF. OPK commander, division general pilot Czesław Mankiewicz agreed to the MiG-21 PF but not to the MiG-21 F-13.

MiG-21 F-13 aircraft proved to be a problem for Poland. Various proposals were made. It was planned to put them in Bydgoszcz together with Su-7, or in 4/2 PLM Goleniów. Reconstruction into reconnaissance aircraft was considered. Czechoslovakia made an appropriate proposal. The resolution of the problem occurred at the end of 1968, when the new Air Force was formed on the basis of the Secondary Army took over all MiG-21 F-13 placing them in the 2nd PLM Goleniów. The last flying MiG-21 F-13 arrived in Goleniów in March 1971, and thus the regiment became the first in Poland completely rearmed to the MiG-21. The aircraft were not modified, as they were treated as "equipment reserve" and put up for sale.

Polish MiG-21 F-13 sold to Syria. 1973.

The Polish authorities, through the Central Engineering Board (CENZIN), tried to sell their MiG-21 F-13. The occasion was the war in the Middle East. Syria and Egypt have purchased a significant amount of military equipment, including aircraft, in the countries of the Eastern Bloc. When the appropriate decisions were made to sell the MiG-21 F-13 in Goleniów, the last combat duty was carried out on 1973-10-13.

It is worth writing a few words about the CENZIN company, which exists to this day (2009) and is based in Warsaw. During the PRL, Polish factories could not trade alone, especially abroad. Everything was decided by the party that established special companies for foreign trade. These companies had trade concessions. It can be presumed that after the socio-economic changes in 1989, when the "free market" entered, these companies would disappear. Some, like PEWEX, were liquidated. However, others have remained and are doing quite well. Why? Because they are part of the apparatus that determines the current (2009) shape of Polish politics and economy. PZPR was dissolved, but people did not evaporate.

Back to the topic. From then on, everything took place in a big secret. The engineering service from the remaining 17 machines selected 12 pieces for shipment to Syria. The planes were added to Powidz, where they were partially dismantled in preparation for loading onto the deck of Soviet transport aircraft An-12. The remaining 5 machines were decided not to operate and preserve anymore.

To carry out the entire operation on 1973-10-16, a staff group of 34 people was created. The commanding staff were officers from DWL (Air Force Command); Lieutenant Colonel Aleksander Werle (group commander), Lieutenant Colonel Jerzy Twaróg (deputy commander for political affairs), Lieutenant Colonel Stanisław Bryl (for organizational matters), Lieutenant Colonel Bernard Życzkowski (for technical matters), Lieutenant Colonel doctor Ryszard Góra. There were three pilots from the 2nd PLM Goleniów; Major Pilot Zbigniew Biedrzycki, Capt. pilot Czesław Stawski, Capt. pilot Szymon Krupa. The technical group consisted of 23 people (7 officers, 4 ensigns, 12 non-commissioned officers). Technical staff came from the 2nd PLM Goleniów and 45. Malbork Field Workshops. The whole team was complemented by counterintelligence officers from the General Staff.

The whole operation was strictly confidential. The pilots knew they would have a task to do in the Middle East. Staff from Goleniów guessed the tasks they would face. The staff from Malbork knew the least. Everyone was forbidden to take any personal belongings. Clothes, shoes, even toothbrushes. They will buy everything necessary for the money they receive on the spot. As for the cargo, not everyone was initiated, because someone else had set up machines in Powidz, and someone else had assembled them.

For the first air transport, the Soviets assigned six An-12 aircraft, and although the aircraft carried Aeroflot colors, everyone knew that they came from a transport aviation regiment stationed in what is now Lithuania. The load was four dismantled MiG-21 F-13 aircraft, auxiliary equipment and the entire personnel team, except pilots. The start from Powidz took place around noon 1973-10-18.

The second transport was made 1973-10-20, using five An-12. Four MiG-21 F-13, a set of spare parts and pilots were moved with it. On 1973-10-21, the last throw with a load of four fighters was made. The route led through Czechoslovakia (over Prague) to Hungary, where the planes landed at the Soviet airport near Budapest. Here planes were refueled for direct flight to Syria. The Polish team was worried that the Soviet An-12 crew received personal weapons for further flight. Further route led over Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, Adriatic Sea, Ionian Sea. On the left, islands were passed; Corfu, Kafalonia, Zakynthos, Peloponnese peninsula. Then the route led over the Mediterranean Sea. On the right, islands were passed; Crete, Cyprus. American F-4 Phantom aircraft carriers often flocked to Soviet machines in this region. The joint flight lasted several minutes. At a distance of about 200 km from the coast of Syria, the aircraft lowered the flight from a ceiling of about 7,000 m to about 300 m. All the lights were extinguished and absolute radio silence was maintained. Syrian land flew between the villages of Latakija and Homs. The destination was Aleppo airport, located about 70 km from Turkey and about 150 km from the coast. This stage of the journey lasted about 6 - 6.5 hours, i.e. the landing took place after sunset.

Aleppo is also called Haleb or Halab. It is the second largest city of Syria. Thanks to its location, it remained on the sidelines of the ongoing war. At that time, the airport had one runway, 2 800 mx 90 m in size. Syrians had a school of pilots and ground handling as well as a repair plant. At that time, he was renovating Zlin and Aero L-29 Delfin machines. Preparations for the renovation of MiG-21 fighters were also underway. The airport was not completely safe, so at night it was completely dark, and the landing lights were turned on when the plane made the fourth turn. There have already been bombings of Israeli F-4 Phantom warplanes. There were losses in the airport infrastructure, planes and unfortunately among people. The runway and taxiway have been damaged. Three An-12 aircraft were damaged. Near the bow of one of them a shell exploded and the navigator died and the pilots were injured.

The Polish team was not the only foreign team. There were already two Soviet teams (military and civilian) in the number of about 70 people folding MiG-21 MF aircraft. A team of East Germany in the number of about 60 people and 12 pilots, consisting of 12 MiG-21 M aircraft. The Hungarian team assembling 15 MiG-21 F-13 aircraft. The Czechoslovakian (civil) team of about 50 people, consisting of 12 MiG-21 F-13, specifically S-106 license planes.

When cargo planes from Poland landed at Aleppo airport, they were immediately unloaded. The crews of transporters, who wanted to leave the airport as soon as possible before dawn, helped a lot in this activity. The fighters were transported to the shelters-hangars located on the edge of the airport. The Polish team had problems completing the transport. In the morning, the Polish team was transported to the city of Aleppo and accommodated in three hotels.

When cargo planes from Poland landed at Aleppo airport, they were immediately unloaded. The crews of transporters, who wanted to leave the airport as soon as possible before dawn, helped a lot in this activity. The fighters were transported to the shelters-hangars located on the edge of the airport. The Polish team had problems completing the transport. In the morning, the Polish team was transported to the city of Aleppo and accommodated in three hotels.

On 1973-10-24, the first three assembled aircraft were flown. In the following days more machines rose into the air. These flights were treated as combat flights because the threat of a Jewish attack was still possible. That is why the planes were fully armed. Under the wings were R-3 S missiles, and the cannon had a full supply of ammunition. During the pre-take-off check-in, pilots were ordered to fight if they encountered Israeli planes. Our pilots (major Biedrzycki, captain Krupa, captain Stawski) were prepared for each start so as to perform a combat sentence. The advisor was Soviet pilot Colonel Anatol. Radio correspondence in the air was conducted in Syrian using commands whose pilots had to learn by heart.

After the flight the planes were inspected, an additional fuel tank hung under them, refueled and transferred to the paint shop. After applying the camouflage and identification marks, which usually lasted about 12 hours, the planes were transferred to the offshore airport. Interestingly, this transportation was done by Soviet pilots dressed in Syrian uniforms. To deceive the opponent.

The most problems were with the plane MiG-21 F-13 No. 740803, which was flown on 1973-10-28 by major Biedrzycki. The aircraft was already painted when it was found that minor fuel leaks were found on the left wing rivet connections. The damage had to occur during disassembly or transport. Immediate sealing did nothing. It was decided to replace the entire wing. An appropriate telegram was sent to Poland. The wings were obtained from one of the MiG-21 F-13 preserved in Poland. The set of wings arrived in the evening, on 1973-11-04, on board the Polish An-12 of the 13th PLTr from Balice. The crew commander was major pilot Henryk Bajer. The wing was replaced, though not without difficulty, and after two flights (1973-11-07 and 1973-11-08) the aircraft was allowed to continue operation.

While waiting for the wing, the Polish team assisted the Czech team in improving one of the S-106 (MiG-21 F-13) and transferred the remaining spare parts to the Syrian side. Still on 1973-10-21, the base commander made a proposal to the Polish team that Polish pilots join the combat operations. There was a reservation that as part of anti-aircraft defense and only over the territory of Syria. Our pilots were prepared for the fight, but the decision could only be made at the highest levels of power in Poland. Such a decision was not made and rightly so. As you know, a team from the GDR received a similar offer. They received the approval of their ministry.

The Polish team returned to the country on two dates. The first group on 1973-11-01, in the number of 23 people came to Powidz aboard two Soviet An-12 in Aeroflot colors along the same route as the destination flight. Also with refueling near Budapest. And also this time on the Mediterranean was the company of American F-4 and A-7. A fleet of 16 ships sailing eastwards was also observed. The second group returned to Poland on 1973-11-09, on board Polish An-12 from the 13th PLTr from Balice. Her delay was caused by trouble with the wing of fighter No. 740803. The flight route led through Turkey, the Black Sea between landing in Odessa. Landing in Powidz took place in the late afternoon.

Summarizing. By donating 12 MiG-21 F-13 fighters to Syria, we actually got rid of 13 machines, because in Poland one machine remained without wings. Preserved planes were removed from the state at the turn of 1978/1979, and this did not matter much, since from 1973, not a single flight was carried out on them. Whereas the first copy of the MiG-21 F-13 with board number 1217 survived in Zamość until 1994, and then it was sold to a foreign collector.

Attempt to assess MiG-21 F-13.

The fighter undoubtedly constituted a new quality in Polish Aviation. He was modern, fast, menacingly armed. But the lack of radar sight in contact with the MiG-21 PF fighters quickly arriving in Poland in large numbers caused it to shift between regiments and, ultimately, reluctance to use it. This machine, however, allowed a large group of pilots (over 100) to get to know the Ma-2 aircraft for the first time.

Disasters, accidents and breakdowns on PL MiG-21 F-13.

1 On 1963-11-20, the first accident with the participation of MiG-21 F-13 nb 2016 No. 742016 took place (in 62 PLM or CSL in Modlin), when two machines collided during landing. Pilot por Wawrzyniec Czapiga.

2 On 1965-06-23, the MiG-21 F-13 nb 4814 No. 740814 crashed, in which pilot Captain Eugeniusz Mochnacki was killed. Around the village of Podn'tbiec. The aircraft belonged to 11. PLM or 13. PLM.

3 On 1965-06-23, on the MiG-21 F-13 aircraft belonging to the 40th PLM in Świdwin, pilot-lieutenant Cyril Royal was killed. Around the village of Chlebówek.

4 On 1966-02-23, the accident was the MiG-21 F-13 of 62. PLM. Pilot lieutenant Roman Kałamoniak survived. Krzesiny airport.

5 On 1967-03-08, the accident was the MiG-21 F-13 from the 2nd PLM. Pilot lieutenant Paweł Kacprzak (Kacprzycki) survived. Around the village of Wierzchosław.

6 On 1969-02-24, in the 62nd PLM in Krzesiny, the MiG-21 F-13 crashed immediately after the start, in which the captain Andrzej Lewandowski was killed. Krzesiny airport.

7 On 1973-08-24, the accident was MiG-21 F-13 with the 2nd PLM on the island of Wolin. Lieutenant pilot Jan Turowski survived (died).

Written by Karol Placha Hetman