When MotoArt owner Dave Hall discovered a MiG-21 UM in Georgia last year, he was stoked for himself and for the PlaneTags collector community. Keep reading to learn more about the MiG-21 and how MotoArt turned the cockpit of one into one of the most exciting PlaneTags to date.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter/interceptor aircraft, built in the former Soviet Union. First flown in 1955, and introduced in 1959, they were well received and widely exported to around 60 countries, among 4 continents. They were highly adaptable by any air force for their specific needs. This record setting aircraft is:
The rugged lightweight fighter was built after the Korean War, to fill a need for a short range light strike fighter and interceptor. They faced the F-4 Phantom and other US-built fighter aircraft in head-to-head conflicts throughout the Cold War.
There are several main and sub versions of the MiG-21, divided into different generations; however, all variants have about the same endurance and speed.
In addition to being the most produced supersonic fighter ever built, with approximately 11,496 units produced, the design was licensed and built by other countries. The People’s Republic of China, for instance, licensed and built more than 2,400 units named Shangdoj J7 or F7.
Drawing by Rob Schneider
Fishbed is the NATO reporting name for the MiG-21. What are NATO reporting names? They are code names for military aircraft from countries like Russia, the People’s Republic of China and nations of the former Warsaw Pact or Eastern Bloc. The Five Eyes Air Force Interoperability Council (AFIC) assigns unambiguous English codenames for fighters and military aircraft, sometimes called NATO reporting names or NATO designations. The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance amongst the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia (non NATO), and New Zealand (non NATO) nations, created after WWII and now recognized as the largest intelligence network in history.
The renowned MiG Design Bureau was named in 1939 by combining the names of its founders Artyem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. MiG was mainly concentrated on developing its fighters, using a few basic elements to create a plethora of variants. The MiG-21 and other Soviet fighters were simpler than American fighters, manufactured with traditional materials and a basic design that allowed for fast production in large quantities. They were also rugged and tough, able to be maintained without skilled labor and requiring minimal logistical support to operate. They were notable for fighter and interceptor planes, used by the Soviet and Russian Air Forces, as well as Soviet allies, Indian Air Force and Arab states.
MotoArt’s MiG-21, S/N 203, was delivered to the East German Army in May 1972. 203 served with JG-3 (Fighter Squadron), TAFS-47 and TAFS-87 (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons), and was later absorbed into the unified German Air Force as 23+84. 203 was withdrawn from use in 1991 and salvaged soon after. MotoArt acquired this mighty MiG-21 in 2021 and has now preserved it as collectible PlaneTags.
When MotoArt owner Dave Hall discovered the cockpit of #203 he was elated. “Many of us grew up hearing about the MiG and what an incredible aircraft this is,” says Hall. “We were stoked to get this.”
The many textures, paint and colors of #203 makes our MiG-21 PlaneTags some of our most interesting military PlaneTags to date. This small series is numbered to 3,500 and is expected to be one of our best selling Cold War or Military planes. They are customizable, allowing you to engrave to use as a luggage tag or with a special sentiment or message for a gift. Add one to your collection - available now at planetags.com.
Read more about some of our favorite Cold War birds - and missiles - from the past: