MiG-19 Farmer

Like the MiG-17, design of the MiG-19 Farmer was underway long before the Korean War (1950-3). Reportedly on a direct order from Stalin, the MiG design bureau sought to create an all-new supersonic fighter and not just a development of an existing type. The resulting aircraft, capable of supersonic speed in level flight, was a truly great fighter.

The MiG-19, Russia’s first supersonic fighter, first flew, powered by two Mikulin AM-5 turbojets (the first Soviet-designed turbojets to be mass-produced), in September 1953 and entered service as the MiG-19P. The type was withdrawn, however, after a series of accidents due to stability problems. The redesigned MiG-19S had an ail-moving tailplane (which aided stability at all speeds) and was powered by Tumansky RD-9B turbojets, which were essentially renamed but more powerful AM-5s. Air for the engines was drawn in through what appeared to be a single nose intake but was actually split to allow each engine to draw in air through its own intake. This reduced the potential damage caused by bird strike or ingestion of foreign objects on the ground.

The MiG-19S was delivered from mid-1955 and when production ceased in 1959, about 2500 had been built. Among the variants were the all-weather radar-equipped MiG-19PF and the MiG-19PM, armed with missiles in place of guns. NATO codenamed the MiG-19 as “Farmer”.

MiG-19Soviet-built aircraft were supplied to Poland and Czechoslovakia, where they were known as the LIM-7 and S-105 respectively. MiG-19s were also licence-built by the Chinese, who recognized the exceptional fighter capability of the MiG-19 and built twice as many as the USSR from 1961. Under the designation Shenyang J-6, China exported to Albania, Bangladesh, Egypt, Kampuchea (Cambodia), Pakistan, Tanzania and Vietnam. Pakistan’s J-6s saw extensive combat in its war against India and J-6s were also encountered over Vietnam by US fighters.