The MiG-17 is a refined version of the famous MiG 15 of the Korean War. Although similar in appearance to the MiG-15, the MiG-17 has more sharply swept wings, an afterburner, better speed and handling characteristics and is about three feet longer. The first flight of a MiG-17 prototype took place in January 1950 and production began in late 1951. The first operational MiG-17s appeared in 1952 but were not available in sufficient quantities to take part in the Korean War. Five versions of the aircraft eventually were produced. The MiG-17 has served in the air arms of at least 20 nations throughout the world--including nations friendly to the U.S.--and was flown against U.S. aircraft during the Vietnam War. Between July 10, 1965, and February 14, 1968, USAF F-105s and F-4s downed 61 MiG-17s.