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Recommended Reading on USAF-operated MiG-21s - 'Red Eagles'


britgliderpilot
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Some of you are probably already aware that the US test-flew a small number of captured MiGs at Groom Lake during the 1970's; what you may not be aware of is that the USAF operated a whole squadron of Soviet aircraft in Soviet colours as a routine part of Red Flag.

 

This squadron - 4477th TES - flew the MiG-17, MiG-21, and MiG-23 between 1980 and 1988.

 

For their final fling before retirement, they simultaneously launched 13 MiG-21s and 4 MiG-23s to participate in Red Flag. They flew 15,264 (!) sorties in their MiGs, exposing USAF, USN, and USMC pilots directly to mock combat against Soviet-designed aircraft, and taught a total of 69 pilots to fly and fight in them, with one pilot hitting the 500 sorties milestone in the MiG-21.

 

There is no official history for obvious reasons, but there is a book put together by interviews with the personnel who worked for the squadron and flew the aircraft in the Aggressor role.

 

It is chock full of first hand reports of USAF pilots getting to grips with the MiG-17, MiG-21, and MiG-23, and then learning to fly those aircraft effectively against the whole range of the US arsenal, and teaching US pilots their weaknesses. It is an absolute goldmine of information if you speak English and are interested in the MiG-21.

 

I have no connection with the author (promise!), I just think it's a completely fascinating book for those with a certain level of interest in Soviet aircraft - which if you're on this forum I automatically assume!

 

Amazon link here:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Red-Eagles-Americas-General-Aviation/dp/1846039703

 

blog-red-eagles-by-steve-davies-img675.jpg

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Yup not going to disclose the place in the states but we do have a facility that has Russian migs, hellis and all tanks and bmps. All operational really cool place. My younger years...... This book looks interesting. Miss the Cold War.

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Ft. Polk uses Russian Helos, tank, and bmps to simulate OPFOR for training US ground units. Not sure if the Mi24s and other helos were originals with US engines for practical reasons or replicas but they play the part. Wouldn't be surprised if other training facilities do the same thing. A little surprised that they had 13 mig 21s but I'm sure this gave our pilots valuable training.

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Interesting, thanks for the tip.

 

On a similar note, to get into the mood, would you recommend a book from the other side? Meaning something like a memoirs/first fand experience of eastern-block Mig 21 pilots?

 

Could not find any - all is just technical books about the plane itself, but no pilot experience.

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