Moscow reacted to the failure of the London foreign ministers’ meeting by calling into question Western rights in Berlin. The Soviet-licensed Berlin daily, Tägliche Rundschau, ran an editorial on December 19 arguing that quadripartite control of Berlin made sense only as long as Germany remained under four-power rule. After Clay and Robertson announced plans to give the Bizonal Economic Council limited political power, a second, stronger editorial appeared, reiterating the link between moves toward a west German government and a Western presence in Berlin. The newspaper claimed the West had created a west German state and thereby “nullified” Western rights in Berlin, which was part of the Russian zone.
In the spring of 1948 when Soviet pressure on the allies re Berlin began to ramp up, seven squadrons of allied day fighters were in Germany, four RAF and three USAF.
The RAF units were:
135 Wing, including
- 80 Squadron at Wunstorf, Germany, equipped with the Spitfire 24
- 16, 26 and 33 Squadrons at Gutersloh, all equipped with the Tempest II
The USAF fielded the 86th FG with three squadrons (525th, 526th and 527th) equipped with the P-47D-30 at Nordholz, Germany.
Airlift project replicates aircraft from RAF 80 and 33 because they were briefly stationed in Berlin for a period at the beginning of the Blockade. The 86th flew escort missions in the corridors.
There were several MiG-21 variants that featured dedicated subvariants with added-on nuclear capability, distinguished by the letter N (derived from the word Nositel – carrier [of a nuclear bomb]) in their type designation. The MiG-21S’ nuclear-capable derivative bore the Type 95N designation; MiG-21SM – Type 95MT (or Type 15N); MiG- 21SMT – Type 50N; MiG-21M – Type 96N; MiG-21MF – Type 96FN; and the MiG-21bis – Type 75N.
The MiG-21bis (known also as Ye-7bis and Type 75) was the last mass-produced version of the Fishbed. It was purposely redesigned in order to be better suited for high-G manoeuvring dogfights at low and medium levels, where previous versions had demonstrated a number of shortcomings and were hampered by a plethora of operating limitations in terms of maximum speed and G. This new-style air combat, experienced for the first time in the late 1960s in the Middle East, required from the Fishbed more power, more fuel, better weapons (i. e. missiles able to be launched during high-G manoeuvres) and better sighting systems, as well as improved stability and controllability characteristics and reduced low-level speed restrictions. In the event, the MiG-21bis, developed as a successor to the MiG-21SMT, successfully integrated a 1960s-technology airframe with a 1970s analogue avionics suite and a further uprated powerplant, combined in the mid/late-1970s with modern lightweight dogfight missiles.
The original MiG-25 was originally designed for the interceptor and reconnaissance roles, and was subsequently adapted for the SEAD role. Variants are divided into these three role-based families, with a separate section detailing the distinct family of MiG-31 variants and precursors. The MiG-31 was based on the aerodynamic configuration of the MiG-25, but featured a new structure, systems, avionics and engines, and was a much later aircraft optimised to meet the threat posed by air-launched cruise missiles. The MiG-31 brought the MiG-25 right up to date, and the type’s present moribund status reflects the political and economic realities of the new Russia, rather than any shortcoming of the aircraft itself.