The MiG-15 was one of the initial swept wing jet fighters that achieved fame over Korea as it out performed other straight winged jet fighters. The plane was developed by Artem Mikoyan and also Mikhail Gurevich for the USSR. The MiG-15 design eventually evolved into the more advanced version – the MiG-17 – becoming a threat to American planes in the skies above North Vietnam during the 1960’s.
With over 12,000 built, it is believed the MiG-15 was the most extensively manufactured jet aircraft ever and was listed as one of the best fighter planes during the Korean War, along with the F-86 Sabre plane. The reporting name NATO assigned the MiG-15 was Fagot and the US Air Force reporting name was Type XIV.
In 1947, the USSR Council of Ministers gave the okay to proceed with the building of two prototypes of jet fighters. With this okay, they went back to the MiG-9 design, which was unreliable and had control problems, which would eventually be solved with the newer Klimov engine. The resulting swept wing (both in the wings and the tail) fighter prototype was designated the I-310 and was capable of reaching speeds in excess of 650 miles per hour. The main contender was the LA 168; however, the MiG-15 was selected for production. The very first model flew on December 31, 1948 and became part of the Soviet Air Force in 1949.
In 1950, the MiG-15 fighter aircraft was extensively exported to the Republic of China. In fact, it was the Chinese MiG-15 that was the first to partake in the jet-vs-jet dogfights that occurred throughout the war in Korea. Here, the Chinese MiG15 was up against straight-wing jets of the western air forces – such as the F-80, the British Gloster Meteor, the piston-engine P 51 Mustangs and F4U Corsairs. The first MiG-15 jet ace was First Lieutenant Semyon Jominich, who scored the first victory when he shot down an F-80C killing its pilot Frank Van Sickle. The F-86 Sabre, when piloted by extensively trained pilots, proved to be the only challenge for the MiG-15.