MiG-15 restored in Prague

A popular Cold War jet fighter-bomber is back in fit shape

A MiG-15 fighter-bomber jet plane has been renovated and will be exhibited by the Military History Institute (VHÚ). The renovation by the Military Technical Institute (VTÚ) took five months and cost some Kč 1 million. The VTÚ and Defense Ministry presented the plane to the media Dec. 8. at the military airbase at Kbely.

The MiG-15bis SB with a hull number 3255 had been in the collection of the Aviation Museum, but was in a rundown condition. This particular place had been stationed at bases in Sliač, Hradčany nad Ploučnicí, Přerov and Hradec Králové. The restoration project was announced by the Defense Ministry on July 4.

The first step in the renovation of the plane included removing old paint and dirt with sandblasting. It was then degreased and cockpit glass was replaced. The weapon were also fixed. The entire fuselage was sanded to remove graffiti that had been scratched into it. The plane was repainted with Czechoslovak military insignia.

There had been some 600 MIG-15 in the Czechoslovak fleet. The plane was first introduced in 1949. Starting in 1952 they were manufactured in Czechoslovakia and were in service until the 1980s.

The MiG-15 was used in the Soviet Union and across the Soviet bloc as well as in China and North Korea. It is still used as a training aircraft in the latter country.

During the Korean War between 1950 and '53 the MiG-15 faced off against the similarly designed North American F-86 Sabre used by the United States and South Korea.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was one of the first successful jet fighters to incorporate swept wings to achieve high transonic speed. It is one of the most widely produced jet aircraft. Some 12,000 were manufactured, and licensed foreign production raises the total to over 18,000. MiG-15bis was a second version that has some visible improvements over the earlier model such as different gun placement, a different engine and modified airbrakes. MiG-15s were made under license in Poland as well as in Czechoslovakia. The plane could fly up to 1,075 kilometers per hour and could climb to 15,500 meters.

The VTÚ is currently looking for other rare military planes of the type used in Czechoslovakia that can be restored.

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