Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF (673) as used by the East German Air Force at the Museum Park of Aviation and Technology, Merseburg (Germany)
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (NATO reporting name: Fishbed) is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. It was popularly nicknamed "Balalaika", from the aircraft's planform-view resemblance to the Russian stringed musical instrument or "ołówek" (pencil) by Polish pilots due to the shape of its fuselage. Approximately 60 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. A total of 10.645 aircraft were built in the USSR. A total of 194 MiG-21F-13s were built under licence in Czechoslovakia, and Hindustan Aeronautics of India built 657 MiG-21FL, MiG-21M and MiG-21bis (of which 225 were bis).
The MiG-21MF or Modernizirovannyy (Modernised) Forsirovannyy (Uprated) was the export version of the MiG-21SM or Sapfir (referring to the
Sapfir-21/RP-22 radar) Modernizirovannyy (Modernised), with RP-22 radar and R13-300 turbojet. The choice of weapons loads was increased with the addition of the R-60 and later the R-60M IR-seeking air-to-air missile (AAM).