The fighter that changed everything.
Era: Jet Age
Part of the Air Zoo Collection
Location: Flight Discovery Center
By the end of World War II, military aviation had begun to move into the Jet Age. Germany, England and the United States, all had produced viable jet propelled aircraft. The USSR was also developing its first jet fighters, but not having an engine of its own design, it used engines of German design, seized in Germany and shipped to the Soviet Union. These early attempts produced the MiG-9, Yak-15 and Yak-17. While these early jet aircraft were successful designs, it wasn't until the MiG-15 was introduced that the USSR had a "World Class" fighter.
The MiG-15 was introduced due to a much criticized agreement between the British government and the Soviet Union which allowed the British to supply the USSR with the West's most advanced jet engine of the time, the Rolls Royce Nene. This contributed to the decisive shift in air superiority to the USSR and later the Soviet backed North Koreans. No Allied aircraft could stay with the MiG-15 and even the technically superior F-86 had inferior climb, ceiling and high altitude and turn radius.
Though the MiG-15 was of advanced conception, it was extremely simple and well adapted o primitive environments. In all, there were nearly 18,000 MiG-15s produced, making it the most produced jet fighter in the world and they continued to serve well into the 1970s.