History Hour: MiG-15
One year and one day after the first flight of the MiG I-310 S01 prototype, the first production Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15, serial number 101003, made its first flight. The production aircraft was based on the third I-310 prototype, S03.
The MiG-15 is a single-seat, single-engine turbojet-powered fighter interceptor, designed to attack heavy bombers. Designed for high sub-sonic speed, the leading edges of the wings and tail surfaces were swept to 35°. The wings were very thin to minimize aerodynamic drag. The Rolls-Royce Nene I and Nene II jet engines had been used in the three prototypes. The British engine was reverse-engineered by Vladimir Yakovlevich Klimov and manufactured at Factory No. 45 in Moscow as the RD-45F.
The production fighter was 10.102 meters (33 feet, 1¾ inches) long, with a wingspan of 10.085 meters (33 feet, 1 inch). Its empty weight was 3,253 kilograms (7,170 pounds) and takeoff weight was 4,963 kilograms (10,938 pounds).
The MiG-15 had a maximum speed of 1,031 kilometers per hour (557 knots) at 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) and 1,050 kilometers per hour (567 knots) at Sea Level (0.86 Mach).
Armament consisted of one Nudelman N-37 37 mm cannon and two Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 23 mm cannon.
The first MiG 15, 101003, was built at Factory No. 1. Full scale production was considered so important that four other aircraft types were discontinued so that their factories could be used to build MiG-15s. They were also license-built in Poland and Czechoslovakia. More than 18,000 MiG-15s have been built. It has served in the air forces of at least 44 countries.
The MiG-15 soon entered combat in the Korean War. It scored its first air-to-air victory, 1 November 1950, when First Lieutenant Fiodor V. Chizh shot down a U.S. Air Force F-51 Mustang.
Previous History Hour installments:
First scheduled commercial passenger flight
First Class of Women Naval Aviators
How NASA intentionally crashed a Boeing 720
First jet landing on aircraft carrier
First England to Australia flight
Text author: Bryan R. Swopes