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The MiG-19 Farmer was the first supersonic fighter built in the former USSR. The first Soviet production fighter capable of supersonic speeds in level flight, the prototype MiG-19 (NATO code-name "Farmer") made its first flight in September 1953. Entering production in 1955, it became the Soviet Union's primary fighter during the last half of the 1950s.

The MiG-19 was both the first and last. The first domestic serial supersonic fighter and the latest machine by Mikoyan with swept wings. After the first "arrow", created by OKB Mikoyan - the MiG-15, the sky got its upgraded version of the MiG-17, wherein the elongated fuselage and wings increased by 10 sweep.

The characteristics of the MiG-19 were in many respects superior to the American fighter F-100C "Super Sabre", which appeared a year later. The MiG-19 was arguably the worst fighter to come from the MiG stable since the Great Patriotic War. Rushed design and production gave the Mig-19 many problems in operational use and safety. Initial enthusiasm for the aircraft was dampened by several problems. The two engines had a ridiculously short service life. In the early development of the combat aircraft, pilots observed a high accident rate, due to various reasons. Pilots found it to be a nasty ride, prone to flameouts when the guns were fired, and a real dog in combat.

The most alarming problem was the danger of a mid-air explosion due to overheating of the fuselage fuel tanks located between the engines. Deployment of airbrakes at high speeds caused a high-g pitch-up. Elevators lacked authority at supersonic speeds. The high landing speed of 145 mph (230 km/h) (compared to 100 mph (160 km/h) in the MiG-15), combined with absence of a two-seat trainer version, slowed pilot transition to the type.

Handling problems were addressed with the second prototype, SM-9/2, which added a third ventral airbrake and introduced all-moving tailplanes with a damper to prevent pilot-induced oscillations at subsonic speeds. It flew on September 16 1954, and entered production as the MiG-19S. With the development of the aircraft in production and operation, these causes were gradually eliminated, but distrust of the plane remained.

In the history of aviation, there are many machines that have received wide recognition. Among them are production aircraft, for example, the I-16 fighter, which fought in the sky over Halhik Gol, Spain, China and honorably withstood the most difficult, the initial period of the Great Patriotic War. There are unique aircraft, far ahead of their time, like four-engined "Ilya Muromets" and some of the exotic triplanes by Comte. Of such machines, much is written, and they are popular not only among professionals.

In this respect, the first Soviet supersonic fighter MiG-19 was somehow "out of luck". Appearing in the interval between such machines milestone as the MiG-15 and MiG-21, "the nineteenth" appeared in the shadow of the glory of outstanding colleagues. It's too bad - with it began a new period of development of Soviet fighters.

While it sold widely around the world, the MiG-19 had the misfortune to appear between the exceptional and long-lived MiG-17 and the equally successful MiG-21. The MiG-21 was not known for its radar or hauling capabilities, nor for its target acquisition equipment or range, but it was known in many ways as a pilot's plane.

The Soviet Union phased out the MiG-19 in the early 1960s in favor of the more advanced MiG-21. However, the MiG-19 continued to be used by the other nations for many more years. Many other countries used the MiG-19, including Cuba, North Vietnam, North Korea, Iraq, and most of the Warsaw Pact nations.

Some sources claim that possibly as many as 10,000 MiG-19's, in various versions, were built by the Soviet Union, China, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Other sources report 3,700 MiG-19s were produced. Total Soviet production was 2,069 MiG-19s of various modifications. More than 100 aircraft were produced under license in Czechoslovakia and about 2,000-4,000 in China. MiG-19 production continued until December 1960, after which the plant #21 moved to release the MiG-21, and the plant #153 (1959) moved to the Su-9 release.

In Albania and Pakistan Air Force, they remained in service until 2003. In some countries of the "third world" they continued to fly today.

Several planes are fitted as monuments (in St. Petersburg at the railway station "armor", Lipetsk). Various modifications of the MiG-19 can be seen in museums in Monino, Sevastleyke on Khodynka Field in Moscow, Kolobrzeg (Poland), in Germany, China, Pakistan and the Czech Republic.

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Page last modified: 14-02-2016 20:07:23 ZULU