The incredible MiG-25…



With its extensive borders – territorial, maritime and arctic – the Soviet Union had always needed to pay particular attention to its air defence. In the late 1950s a new lightweight turbojet, the R15-300, offered the potential to develop a fundamentally new type of interceptor. The Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) design bureau took up the challenge and the project was designated E-155.

Powered by a combination of jet and rocket engines, the machine aircraft promised dazzling performance. It could intercept targets flying at 2,500mph (4,000km/h) at 18-30 miles (30- 50km) high more than 100 miles away. Armament was to include K-9 air-to-air missiles (AAMs), with plans to replace them with the more advanced K-155s.



Yevgenij Pepelyaev



The aerial duel the MiG of Pepelyaev and the Sabre of Garrett. Illustration by Yury Tepsurkayev.


(March 18, 1918–)

Russian Fighter Pilot

Pepelyaev is generally regarded as the highest or second highest Soviet ace of the Korean War. He includes among his total no less than 14 of the superb North American F-86 Sabrejets.

Yevgenij Georgiyevich Pepelyaev was born near Irkutsk, Russia, on March 18, 1918. He enlisted in the Red Army in 1936 and two years later attended the Odessa Military Flying School. Having acquired his wings by 1939, Pepelyaev joined the 300 IAP (fighter squadron) in the Soviet Far East, rising there to squadron leader. He remained on garrison duty until November 1943 before shipping east to fight the invading Germans along the Byelorussian front. After logging 12 missions in Yakovlev Yak 7 fighters (scoring no kills), he transferred back to the Far East in time to fight the Japanese in August 1945. There, as commander of his old 300 IAP, he conducted 30 ground-support missions flying Yak 9s and was credited with one locomotive destroyed. By 1947, Pepelyaev had advanced to colonel of the 196 IAP and was selected for training on new jet aircraft.





The major production version of the Skyknight was the F3D-2. Preliminary specifications for the F3D-2 were released by the Navy on May 23, 1949, and the letter of intent was issued in October of 1949. The F3D-2 had improved cockpit air conditioning, a thicker armored windshield, revised electronic equipment, as well as improved versions of interception, tail warning, and gun targeting radars. In addition, the F3D-2 had a General Electric G-3 autopilot and was provided with wing spoilers for an improved rate of roll. According to original plans, it was to have been powered by two 4600 lb.s.t. Westinghouse J46-WE-3 turbojets housed in enlarged nacelles, which would have offered a substantially enhanced performance.



MiG-15 and Sabre



The appearance of the MiG-15 jet fighter in November 1950 threatened UN air superiority over Korea because the MiG outperformed available U. S. aircraft. FEAF requested the newest and best jet fighters, and on December 6, less than a month later, the 27th Fighter-Escort Wing, flying F-84 Thunderjets, arrived at Taegu. Then, on December 15 the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing flew its first mission in Korea in F-86 Sabres. Less than a week later, on the 22d, F-86 pilots shot down six MiG-15s, losing only one Sabre. The newer jet fighters permitted the UNC to maintain air superiority.