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Bulgarian MiG-21bis Fishbed-L/N type

Early years

The Soviet Union delivered a regiment of MiG-21bis Fishbed-N tactical fighters at a symbolic price to Bulgaria. In the early 1980s the MiG-21bis Fishbed-N type already wasnít a modern aircraft, but it was extremely cheap. The factory new 30 MiG-21bis Fishbed-N was delivered to the 19th Fighter Air Regiment at Graf Ignatievo airport between December 1983 and January 1985. These were average 2 years old aircraft.

The original Bulgarian MiG-21bis Fishbed-N fighter aircraft carried three-digit red bort numbers. It was soon changed to white colour numbers. The first 30 factory new MiG-21bis Fishbed-N used light-gray color scheme in the second half of the eighties.

The new improved MiG-21bis fighter type replaced the older MiG-21M/MF Fishbed-J types at the 19th Fighter Air Regiment at Graf Ignatievo. The old type was moved the 21st Fighter Air Regiment at Uzundzhovo airport. The first flight day with the new aircraft was held on January 16, 1984. The retraining was a short course with Soviet instructors who checked Bulgarian pilots.

Bulgarian Air Force 19th Fighter Air Regiment MiG-21bis Fishbed-N at Graf Ignatievo grey color. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

The factory new MiG-21bis Fishbed-N used in light-gray color scheme. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

Bulgarian Air Force 19th Fighter Air Regiment MiG-21bis Fishbed-N at Graf Ignatievo grey color. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

Bulgarian Air Force 19th Fighter Air Regimentís MiG-21bis Fishbed-N at Graf Ignatievo in 1991. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

Bulgarian Air Force MiG-21bis Fishbed-L MiG-21bis Fishbed-N  serial numbers

Six former Soviet Tactical Air Forces's MiG-21bis Fishbed-N was also delivered in October 1985. Together with the planes, eight spare engines R25-300 were delivered. These second-hand Fishbeds were painted Soviet pattern camouflage colour, but the example the b/n: 114 aircraft used a light-gray color scheme. These former Soviet Tactical Air Force's specimens were made in 1975. These second-hand fighters were ten years old in 1985.

Right: In 1985 delivered former Soviet MiG-21bis Fishbed-N tactical fighter under over industrial overhaul in the nineties before repainting. This aircraft was wearing original Soviet camouflage. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

Bulgarian Air Force 19th Fighter Air Regiment MiG-21bis Fishbed-L at Graf Ignatievo camouflage. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

 

Bulgarian Air Force MiG-21bis Fishbed-L MiG-21bis Fishbed-N  serial numbers

A total of 36 MiG-21bis Fishbed-N was received between 1983 and 1985. Used by the 19th Fighter Air Regiment at Graf Ignatievo for the tactical fighter role with RSBN navigation system.

Between the end of the eighties and early nineties, the 19th Fighter Air Regimentís factory new MiG-21bis Fishbed-N tactical fighter aircraftís gray paint were replaced with special Bulgarian camouflage.

Bulgarian Air Force 19th Fighter Air Regiment MiG-21bis Fishbed-N at Graf Ignatievo 1991. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

The 19th Fighter Air Regimentís factory new MiG-21bis Fishbed-N tactical fighter aircraft gray paint were replaced to special Bulgarian camouflage in 1991. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

Bulgarian Air Force 19th Fighter Air Regiment MiG-21bis Fishbed-N at Graf Ignatievo 1991. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

Bulgarian MiG-21UM Mongol-B and MiG-21bis Fishbed-N fighters in Graf Ignatievo airport in 1991. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

In 1990 the Bulgarian Air Defence and Air Force received 36 second-hand MiG-21bis Fishbed-L tactical fighter with Lasur-system and six MiG-21UM Mongol-B trainer aircraft free of charge from the Soviet Union.

The specimens were split evenly between two Bulagrian fighter regiments. From these, one squadron 18 MiG-21bis Fishbed-L transferred to Bulgarian Air Defence's 15th Fighter Air Regiment at Balchik airport as an interceptor fighter. Other 18 MiG-21bis transferred to Bulgarian Tactical Air Force's 21th Fighter Air Regiment at Uzundzhovo airport as a tactical fighter.

In 1990, the 21st Fighter Air Regiment, at Uzundzhovo airfield, disbanded with its personnel and second-hand MiG-21bis Fishbed-L forming the 19th regiment's 3rd Squadron, remaining at Uzundzhovo.
 

Bulgarian Air Force 15th Fighter Air Regiment former soviet MiG-21bis Fishbed-L fighter in 1991. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

The 15th Fighter Air Regimentís former soviet MiG-21bis Fishbed-L fighter in 1991. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

Bulgarian Air Force second-hand MiG-21UM Mongol-B trainer aircraft in Balchik airport in the early nineties. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

Second-hand MiG-21UM Mongol-B trainer aircraft in Balchik airport in the early nineties. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

Bulgarian Air Force MiG-21bis Fishbed-L MiG-21bis Fishbed-N  serial numbers

Used by units at Balchik (two-digit bort numbers between 80 and 97) and Uzundzhovo (three-digit bort numbers starting with 5) in the nineties. These former Soviet Tactical Air Force fighters were built between 1972 and 1980. Interesting, that these aircrafts used the SRZO-2 and SRO-1P IFF transponder together.

These second-hand MiG-21bis Fishbed-L type were withdrawn from service around 2000. The Bulgarian Air Forces retired factory new MiG-21bis Fishbed-N version in 2015.

Tags:
Bulgarian Air Force, VVS, Cold War, Warsaw Pact, 10th Composite Air Corps, Plovdiv, 19th Fighter Air Regiment, Graf Ignatievo, MiG-21bis Fishbed-N, 21st Fighter Air Regiment, Uzundzhovo, MiG-21M, MiG-21MF Fishbed-J, MiG-21PF Fishbed-D, MiG-21PFM Fishbed-F

Военновъздушни сили, ВВС, Военновъздушни сили на Република България, 10-и САК, 10-и Смесен авиационен корпус, Варшавски договор, Студена война, 19-ти изтребителен авиополк, 19-и ИАП, Граф Игнатиево, МиГ-21бис, 21-ви изтребителен авиополк, 19-и ИАП, Узунджово, МиГ-21МФ, МиГ-21М, МиГ-21ПФ, МиГ-21ПФМ