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Mikoyan MiG-17

Mikoyan MiG-17 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2018 Title Mikoyan MiG-17
Author Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Crecy
Published 2016 ISBN 978-1857803723
Format 480 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $64.95


We recently looked at the latest masterpiece from Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov cover the MiG-19. That title discussed the evolutionary development of the MiG-19 as using the MiG-17 as a starting point, and adding a second engine to provide the thrust for sustained supersonic flight in level flight. In 2016, this writing duo released a similar tome covering the MiG-17, and like the MiG-19, one MiG-17 looks like the next one to the untrained eye. When you open the cover of this title, you quickly realize that the Fresco (the MiG-17's NATO Codename) has a diverse upbringing as well. While the MiG-15 gained its fame in the skies over Korea, the MiG-17 would be caught up in air wars over Vietnam, Israel, and many other battlefields around the globe.

The authors follow a similar outline to the MiG-17 as previous releases:

  • Building a better fighter
  • MiG-17 production
  • The MiG-17 family: Soviet versions
  • Foreign 'cousins'
  • The MiG-17 in detail
  • In Soviet service
  • In action abroad
  • The analogues
  • MiG-17 operators worldwide

The title starts off with the initial concept for the follow-on to the MiG-15, initially dubbed the MiG-15-45. Since the MiG-15 was unable to go supersonic without a serious dive (as found by test pilot Chuck Yeager), the MiG Experimental Design Bureau (OKB) thought the solution would be to increase the MiG-15's wing sweep to 45 degrees. The idea was to build an incremental improvement to the MiG-15 by keeping the same fuselage, tail section, and VK-1 engine, but replacing the wings with the 45 degree wing sweep.

The MiG-17 would go on to expand the capabilities of Soviet tactical aviation by adding new technologies including an air intercept radar (MiG-17P), an afterburning VK-1 (MiG-17F), air-to-air guided missiles, and additional air-to-ground weapons.

In addition to the Soviet produced MiG-17 variants, this title also looks at the license-production aircraft including the Polish Lim-5/Lim-6 series that also added photo reconnaissance to the list of capabilities, as well as the Chinese J-5 series that included the JT-5 two-seat trainer. The authors also look at some of the unique modifications applied to the airframe by various users around the globe.

The title also provides a nice look at the aircraft in combat around the globe. Color profiles illustrate the variety of camouflage schemes applied to the MiG-17 series as well as nice period imagery of the aircraft in action. These include some of the famous photos that came out of the Israeli air wars that gained that air arm the distinction of being "the largest distributor of MiG parts in the world", and the photos of those wrecks back up that claim.

The MiG-17 in detail section is another area modeler's and tail spotters will want to spend time studying. While you might think all MiG-17s look alike (a myth quickly dispelled in the previous chapters), this section looks closely at the external and some internal details around the airframe.

Whether you're looking for the best reference to tackle Trumpeter's 1/32 MiG-17 or fill in the gaps of when/how/why certain avionics, weapons, or other distinctive capabilities first appeared into the Mikoyan family tree, this title will fill the gap between Gordon's MiG-15 and MiG-19 references.

One important note - as I've mentioned in other Yefim Gordon book reviews, the older titles tend to become very expensive after the last copies are sold out. The MiG-15 title, for example, was published in 2011 and is now commanding prices well over $130 USD. This title can still be found in that sweet spot - in the mark-down section of various book sellers including Amazon since this title is now approaching two years old.

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!