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Czechoslovak Air Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21R Lofting-5.jpg Czechoslovak Air Force MiG-21R Role Fighter Manufacturer Mikoyan-Gurevich OKB Designer Artem Mikoyan First flight 14 February 1956 (Ye-2) Introduction 1959 (MiG-21F) Status In active service (see list) Primary users Soviet Air Force Indian Air Force Libyan Air Force Produced 1959 (MiG-21F) to 1985 (MiG-21bis) Number built 11,496 (10,645 produced in the USSR, 657 in India, 194 in Czechoslovakia) Variants Chengdu J-7
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (Russian: ?????? ? ??????? ???-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 olwek (English: pencil) by Polish pilots due to the shape of its fuselage.
Early versions are considered second-generation jet fighters, while later versions are considered to be third-generation jet fighters. Approximately 60 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. The fighter made aviation records. At least by name, it is the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and it had the longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 over all variants).