When it first appeared and fought in Korea, the MiG-15s shocked Americans by their superior features
The MiG-15 was the first “all-new” Soviet jet aircraft, a design that was more than simply adding jet engines to the older piston engine airframe. Employing swept-back wings, a tail fin, and horizontal stabilizers to reduce drag as the plane approached the speed of sound, it clearly exploited aerodynamic principles learned from German engineering at the close of World War II.
MiG-15 was powered by a centrifugal-flow engine that had been licensed from the British company Rolls-Royce and then upgraded by the Soviet manufacturer Klimov.
Basically, the MiG-15 has a design similar to the jets of the time. Its design has a nose-mounted intake, an identification feature of the first Mikoyan-Gurevich series including the MiG-17, MiG-19. Until the MiG-21 later appeared with a cone inside the intakes.
The Mig-15 fuselage has been streamlined and has an effective position with a center of gravity favoring the rear. The fuselage construction is made up of a semi-monolithic design with a riveted, a completely metal and framed design. The fuselage was divided into two main parts: the front area was the cockpit, the weapon compartment and the nose gear; the rear area was the engine, wing and tail section.
The cockpit was a soft curved canopy positioned forward in design, providing an impressive vision, especially on both sides. Most instrument gauges were placed on the forward panel with a traditional flight stick control column between the pilots legs.
The Mig-15 was equipped with a Klimov VK-1 jet engine. The MiG-15 arguably had sufficient power to dive at supersonic speeds, but the lack of an “all-flying” tail greatly diminished the pilot’s ability to control the aircraft as it approached Mach 1. As a result, pilots understood they must not exceed Mach 0.92, where the flight surfaces became ineffective.
To ensure the destruction of such large bombers, the MiG-15 carried autocannons: two 23 mm with 80 rounds per gun and a single 37 mm with 40 rounds. These weapons provided tremendous punch in the interceptor role, but their limited rate of fire and relatively low velocity made it more difficult to score hits against small and maneuverable enemy jet fighters in air-to-air combat.
The 23 mm and 37 mm also had radically different ballistics, and some United Nations pilots in Korea had the unnerving experience of 23 mm shells passing over them while the 37 mm shells flew under. The cannon were fitted into a simple pack that could be winched out of the bottom of the nose for servicing and reloading, allowing pre-prepared packs to be rapidly swapped out.
Some “bis” aircraft also adopted under-wing hardpoints for unguided rocket launchers or 50 to 250 kg bombs. Other fighter-bomber versions emerged with provision for fuel drop tanks – could be utilized for increased range.
- Crew: 1
- Length: 10.102 m (33 ft 2 in)
- Wingspan: 10.085 m (33 ft 1 in)
- Height: 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)
- Wing area: 20.6 m2 (222 sq ft)
- Airfoil: root: TsAGI S-10 ; tip: TsAGI SR-3
- Empty weight: 3,681 kg (8,115 lb)
- Gross weight: 5,044 kg (11,120 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 6,106 kg (13,461 lb) with 2×600 l (160 US gal; 130 imp gal) drop-tanks
- Fuel capacity: 1,420 l (380 US gal; 310 imp gal) internal
- Powerplant: 1 × Klimov VK-1 centrifugal-flow turbojet, 26.5 kN (5,950 lbf) thrust
- Maximum speed: 1,076 km/h (669 mph, 581 kn) at sea level
1,107 km/h (688 mph; 598 kn) / M0.9 at 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
- Maximum speed: Mach 0.87 at sea level
- Cruise speed: 850 km/h (530 mph, 460 kn) Mach 0.69
- Ferry range: 2,520 km (1,570 mi, 1,360 nmi) at 12,000 m (39,370 ft) with 2×600 l (160 US gal; 130 imp gal) drop-tanks
- Service ceiling: 15,500 m (50,900 ft)
- Rate of climb: 51.2 m/s (10,080 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 296.4 kg/m2 (60.7 lb/sq ft)
- Thrust/weight: 0.54
- Guns: **2 × 23 mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 autocannon in the lower left fuselage (80 rounds per gun, 160 rounds total)
- 1 × 37 mm Nudelman N-37 autocannon in the lower right fuselage (40 rounds total)
- Hardpoints: 2 with provisions to carry combinations of:
- Bombs: 100 kg (220 lb) bombs
- Other: drop tanks, or unguided rockets