Mig-21 Fishbed Nort Vietnam model airplane. The MiG-21F is a short-range day fighter-interceptor and the first major production version of the popular MiG-21 series. It is but one of many versions of this aircraft that have served in the air arms of many nations around the world. The prototype of the MiG-21 was first flown in 1955 and made its first public appearance during the Soviet Aviation Day display at Moscow's Tushino Airport in June 1956.
During the Vietnam War, NVAF MiG-21s were often used against U.S. aircraft. Between April 26, 1965 and January 8, 1973, USAF F-4s and B-52s downed 68 MiG-21s. More than 30 countries of the world-including nations friendly to the U.S. have flown the MiG-21. At least 15 versions of the MiG-21 have been produced, some outside the Soviet Union. Estimates place the number built at more than 8,000, a production total exceeding that of any other modern jet aircraft.