Famous Russian Aircraft: Mikoyan MiG-17

Published on
December 20, 2016
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov
Other Publication Information
Hard Bound, 8.5” x 11”, 480 pages
Product / Stock #
Provided by: Specialty Press
Front cover

Yefim Gordon was born in 1950 in Vilnius, Lithuania (then part of the Soviet Union) and graduated from the Kaunas Polytechnic Institute in 1972. He has been researching Soviet and Russian aviation history for more than 40 years. A professional photographer, Yefim Gordon has published hundreds of features and photographs in Russian and foreign aviation magazines. He has authored and co-authored more than 120 books on Soviet and Russian aviation.

Dmitriy Komissarov was born in 1968 in Moscow and graduated from the Moscow State Linguistics University in 1992. He has worked as a translator ever since, with the most of his work associated with his interest in aviation. Dmitriy Komissarov has authored two books and translated or co-authored more than 50 others. He has also written numerous magazine features in two languages on Soviet and Russian aviation.

The Mikoyan MiG-17 succeeded the MiG-15, and through a thinner wing with greater sweep, the MiG-17 was able to exceed Mach 1 in a shallow dive. The prototype’s first flight was on July 26, 1949 but its entry into service was delayed to October 1952 to focus the production lines on the MiG-15. The MiG-17 was initiated into combat in 1958 in a battle over the Straights of Taiwan when Chinese MiG-17s faced off with Taiwan F-86 Sabres. The MiG-17 gained more notoriety in battles in the Middle East flying against Israel and in Vietnam flying against US Phantom IIs. Over 11,000 aircraft were built in Russia, China, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The Chinese variant, the Shenyang F-5, is still in service today in North Korea (~ 106 aircraft). Additionally, trainer versions are still in service with the Chinese Air Force and Chinese Navy.

This tome is essentially an update of the MiG-17 book that Yefim Gordon published through Aerofax in 2002. Although that book is 144 pages and this one is 480 pages, this isn’t an exact replacement. The Aerofax book utilizes a different format and has a greater emphasis on drawings where this new book does not use all of those drawings, but has much more in the way of text and photographs as well as color profiles. Nevertheless, Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov have packed a whopping amount of information into this 480 glossy page monograph. I counted 586 black and white photographs, 193 color photos, 78 line drawings, at least 144 color profiles, and 67 tables. The contents listed below just reinforce how thorough this book is.

The Chapters include:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Building a Better Fighter
    • I-330 (MiG-15bis 45o) Experimental Fighter (Izdeliye SI) [Page 17]
  • Chapter Two: MiG-17 Production [Page 31]
  • Chapter Three: The MiG-17 Family: The Soviet Versions
    • MiG-17 Tactical Fighter (Izdeliye SI, Izdeliye 54, Izdeliye 40)
    • MiG-17A Tactical Fighter
    • MiG-17 Tactical Fighter with SRD-1 Gun Ranging Radar
    • MiG-17 Tactical Fighter with SRZO-2 IFF
    • MiG-17 Development Aircraft with Modified Airbrakes
    • MiG-17 Experimental All-Weather Interceptor (First Use of Designation; I-335, (Izdeliye SP-2)
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-O) Development Aircraft
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-P) Development Aircraft
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-5) Experimental Fighter-Bomber / Weapons Testbed
    • MiG-17F (Izdeliye SI-7) Experimental Fighter-Bomber / Weapons Testbed
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-15) Experimental Fighter-Bomber / Weapons Testbed
    • MiG-17 Experimental Fighter-Bomber / Weapons Testbed
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SG) Development Aircraft (Avionics Testbed)
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SG-5) Development Aircraft (Avionics Testbed)
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-16) Experimental Fighter-Bomber / Weapons Testbed
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-19) Experimental Fighter-Bomber / Weapons Testbed [Page 65]
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-21) Experimental Fighter-Bomber
    • MiG-17AS Production Fighter-Bomber
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-21M) Experimental Fighter-Bomber
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-??) Experimental Fighter-Bomber with ARS-160 Rockets
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-??) Experimental Fighter-Bomber with ARS-280 Rockets
    • MiG-17 Fresco-A Fighter-Bomber Conversion
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-91) Development Aircraft
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-N) Development Aircraft
    • MiG-17 (Izdeliye SI-10) Development Aircraft
    • MiG-17 Control System Testbeds
    • MiG-17 TVC Testbed
    • LL-MiG-17 Reaction Control Testbed
    • MiG-17 Aerodynamics Research Aircraft
    • MiG-17 Equipment Testbed with G-Suit
    • MiG-17 Avionics Testbeds
    • MiG-17 Probe-and Drogue IFR System Testbed
    • MiG-17 Wing-To-Wing IFR System Testbed
    • MiG-17 Drop Tank Testbeds
    • MiG-17 Development Aircraft with Revised Tail Unit (Izdeliye SI-55?)
    • Other MiG-17 Testbeds / Research Aircraft at Lll
    • MiG-17F Tactical Fighter Prototypes (Izdeliye SF)
    • Production MiG-17 Tactical Fighter (Izdeliye SF) [Page 99]
    • MiG-17F with R-35 AAMs
    • MiG-17F with Pozitron Rear Warning Radar (Project)
    • MiG-17F (Izdeliye SF-3) Development Aircraft
    • MiG-17F Experimental Fighter-Bomber with ARS-212M Rockets
    • MiG-17R (Izdeliye SR-2) Experimental Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft
    • MiG-17R Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft (Production Version (Izdeliye SR-2S)
    • MiG-17P Missile Armed All-Weather Interceptor (Izdeliye SP-6, Izdeliye 56)
    • MiG-17P Cannon Armed All-Weather Interceptor (Second Use of Designation; Izdeliye SP-6, Izdeliye 57)
    • MiG-17PF (Early) Interceptor (Izdeliye SP-7, Izdeliye 58)
    • MiG-17PF (Mid-Production) Interceptor (Izdeliye SP-7F, Izdeliye 58)
    • MiG-17P (Izdeliye SP-8) Avionics Testbed
    • MiG-17PF (Late-Production) Interceptor (Izdeliye SP-8)
    • MiG-17PFG Interceptor
    • MiG-17PF (Izdeliye SP-9) Weapons Testbed
    • MiG-17PF (Izdeliye SP-10) Avionics Testbed
    • MiG-17PF Weapons Testbed with K-13R (R-3R) AAMs [Page 126]
    • MiG-17PF (Izdeliye SP-11) Avionics Testbed
    • MiG-17PFU Interceptor Mid-Life Update (Izdeliye SP-15)
    • MiG-17PF (Izdeliye SP-16) Avionics / Weapons Testbed
    • MiG-17PF Avionics Testbed for Globus-2 System
    • MiG-17PF Avionics Testbed with Yupiter FLIR
    • MiG-17A and MiG-17P with Additional Antennas
    • MiG-17K (MiG-17SDK) Missile Guidance System Testbed (Izdeliye SDK or SDK-5)
    • MiG-17K (MiG-17SDK) Missile Guidance System Testbed (Izdeliye SDK-5TG)
    • MiG-17K (MiG-17SDK) Missile Guidance System Testbed (Izdeliye SDK-7 and SDK-7A)
    • MiG-17K (MiG-17SDK) Missile Guidance System Testbed (Izdeliye SDK-7TG)
    • MiG-17K (MiG-17SDK) Missile Guidance System Testbed (Izdeliye SDK-15)
    • M-17 (MiG-17M), M-17MM (MiG-17MM), M-17P, M-17PF. And M-17F Target Drones
    • M-17MNM Target Drone
    • M-17MNV Target Drone
    • MiG-17 Target Tugs
    • MiG-17 ‘False Bomber’ Radar Target
    • I-340 (Izdeliye SM-1) Development Aircraft
  • Chapter Four: Foreign ‘Cousins’
    • Chinese Production
    • Shenyang Dongfeng-101 (Type56) and J-5 (F-5) Tactical Fighter
    • Chengdu J-5A All-Weather Interceptor (J-5 Jia, F-5A) [Page 156]
    • Chengdu J-5A with Weapons Pylons
    • Shenyang J-5 Torpedo Bomber
    • Shenyang J-5 Avionics Testbed (JZ-5?)
    • Chengdu JJ-5 Advanced Trainer (FT-5; Product 55?)
    • Chengdu JJ-5 Aerobatic Version
    • Polish Production
    • Lim-5 Tactical Fighter (product CF)
    • Lim-5M Tactical Fighter (project; CM-1 – First Use of Designation)
    • Lim-5M Tactical Fighter (product CM (CM-II – First Use of Designation; CM-I – Second Use of Designation)
    • Lim-5MR Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft (Project; product CMR)
    • Lim-6 Experimental Tactical Fighter (product CM; Lim-5M-II, CM-II – Second Use of Designation)
    • Lim-6bis Fighter-Bomber
    • Lim-6R Tactical Reconnaissance Aircraft (Lim-6bisR, product CMR)
    • Lim-6M (Lim-5Pbis) Fighter-Bomber
    • Lim-6MR Reconnaissance / Strike Aircraft
    • Bulgarian Strike Version [Page 193]
    • Easter German Strike Version
    • Egyptian Strike Version
    • North Vietnamese Modifications
    • Indonesian Modification
  • Chapter Five: The MiG-17 In Detail
    • Type
    • Fuselage [Page 205]
    • Wings
    • Tail Unit
    • Landing Gear
    • Powerplant
    • Control System
    • Fuel System
    • Hydraulics
    • Electrics
    • Pneumatic System
    • Oxygen System
    • De-Icing System
    • Air Conditioning and Pressurization System
    • Fire Suppression System
    • Avionics and Equipment
    • Armament
    • Crew Escape System
    • The Interceptors
    • Fuselage
    • Tail Unit
    • Landing Gear
    • Control System
    • Electrics
    • De-Icing System
    • Avionics and Equipment
    • Armament
  • Chapter Six: In Soviet Service
    • Defending the Homeland Skies: The MiG-17 in PVO Service
    • Foreign Deployments
    • In Naval Service
    • Showtime [Page 267]
    • Training Role
  • Chapter Seven: In Action Abroad
    • Clashes in the Far East
    • Wars in the Middle East [Page 293]
    • Asia: The Vietnam War…and More
    • Wars in Africa
    • The Ones That Got Away
  • Chapter Eight: The Analogues [Page 317]
  • Chapter Nine: MiG Operators Worldwide
    • Soviet Union
    • Afghanistan
    • Albania
    • Algeria
    • Angola
    • Bangladesh
    • Bulgaria
    • Burkina Faso
    • Cambodia (Kampuchea)
    • China (People’s Republic of China)
    • Taiwan (Republic of China)
    • Congo (Congo-Brazzaville)
    • Cuba
    • Czechoslovakia [Page 361
    • East Germany
    • Egypt (United Arab Republic; Arab Republic of Egypt)
    • Guinea (Guinea-Conakry)
    • Guinea-Bissau
    • Indonesia
    • Iraq
    • Israel
    • Madagascar (Malagasy Republic)
    • Mali
    • Mongolia
    • Morocco
    • Mozambique
    • Nigeria
    • North Korea
    • Pakistan [Page 403]
    • Poland
    • Romania
    • Somalia
    • Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
    • Sudan
    • Syria (United Arab Republic, Syrian Arab Republic)
    • Tanzania
    • Uganda
    • USA [Page 447]
    • Vietnam
    • North Yemen (Yemen Arab Republic)
    • South Yemen (People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen)
    • Zimbabwe
    • Warbirds
  • Appendix One: ‘On Display’ [Page 467]
  • Appendix Two: Variants (Profile Drawings) [Page 472]
  • Index

I found the section on Showtime quite interesting. Ostensibly about the Russian demonstration team, the Red Five, the authors cover an incident that replicated famed test pilot Vaeriy Chkalov’s flight under a Leningrad bridge across the Neva River in a Fokker D-XI fighter in the 1920s. Captain Valentin Privalov, 712th GviAP, decided to replicate this event. Flying back from a military exercise, Privalov descended below cloud cover and found himself flying along the Ob’ River with the Oktyabr’sky bridge directly ahead. He descended to one meter above the water and passed under the center span before pulling up hard to avoid a railroad bridge six-tenths of a mile later. The stunt didn’t go unnoticed and was widely publicized at the time. You can even find a fake altered photo floating around the internet of the event. Rumors quickly spread that it was actually a Tu-104 airliner and the Chinese hyped it as a new technique for bridge destruction. Captain Valentin Privalov didn’t escape punishment and was arrested and being prepared for a court martial. The Minister of Defense, Marshal Rodion Ya. Malinovskiy eventually decided to spare this poor pilot and Captain Valentin Privalov later served in a unit at Kubinka AB.

All I can say is Wow! I was extremely impressed with the coverage and quality of this monograph. Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov are able to weave in a tremendous amount of data and still manage to provide a compelling and readable storyline. I will be looking for more in this series of hard bound books after reviewing this example.

My thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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