One of the Worlds first level supersonic fighters the MiG-19 has remained in production for more than 32 years! What is more unlike its contemporaries it is still in service in many airforces although only in the Third World. Sturdy and easy to handle the MiG-19 is popular among pilots many of which claim that it is a better fighter in many respects than the MiG-21 which replaced it since it can out turn and outclimb its successor up until 20,000 ft. The MiG-19 has been described as a triumph of brute force over beauty and although lacking in almost every regard compared to modern aircraft its three 30mm cannon give it considerable stopping power making it useful in ground attack missions. The design project was authorized in 1951 just as the Korean War was breaking out. A 'T' tailed prototype proved lethally flawed but the design soon got back on track and went into production in the closing months of 1954, with enough produced to appear on aviation day in 1955. An all weather version was also produced the MiG-19P with the MiG-19PM being the final version in 1958 which replaced the guns with missiles, although the older ground attack versions kept the guns. Soviet allies such as Czechoslovakia and Poland kept production going into the 1960's and some were even seen fighting the Mujahideen during the Afghan War. In 1958 China secured a manufacturing licence and produced the aircraft as the Shenyang J-6. When China and Russia fell out diplomatically the Chinese were left with no prospect of a better replacement and an attempt to copy the MiG-21 failing the Chinese upped production and produced several versions. In 1970 China produced a radically different version of the MiG-19 as a ground attack aircraft named the Nanchang Q-5 'Fantan' by the West. This proved a great success as a cheap ground attack aircraft able to carry 200kg of weapons, twice that of the normal MiG-19. The Q-5 has been exported by the Chinese to several countries giving the MiG-19 an amazing record of nearly 50 years in frontline service around the world.
Maximum speed; 957mph(1540km/h) Mach 1.45.
Weapon load; 1000kg (1200lbs),
Combat radius; 426 miles(685km) with drop tanks.
How to cite this article:
Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (18 February 2001), MiG-19 'Farmer', http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_mig19.html