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Mikoyan MiG-19

Mikoyan MiG-19 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2018 Title Mikoyan MiG-19
Author Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov Publisher Crecy
Published 2017 ISBN 978-1910809075
Format 480 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $64.95


Here is the latest gem from the Soviet/Russian Aviation duo of Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov - the Mikoyan MiG-19. I think I've mentioned in previous reviews of Gordon's books that I now automatically order anything from this duo and this latest title doesn't disappoint. When I was still active duty, the Cold War was still raging but the MiG-19 had all-but-disappeared from frontline service. Nick-named the 'widow-maker' by its pilots, the MiG-19 was relegated to the Warsaw Pact and allied air forces to be replaced by the MiG-21. Ironically, the Chinese not only produced the aircraft in quantity, they also fixed its major flaws and turned it into a well-regarded tactical workhorse.

Looking at the chapter coverage, you might think this title to be rather tame...not so fast:

  • Almost There
  • The MiG-19 is born
  • The Soviet versions
  • Foreign production and further development
  • The MiG-19 in detail
  • In Soviet service
  • Foreign operations
  • MiG-19 operators worldwide

The authors have compiled an impressive amount of information to fill these 480 pages and provide some fascinating insight to the aircraft. For example, in the 'Almost There' chapter, the authors talk about the core weapons fit (guns) that continued from the MiG-15 through the MiG-17 and into the concept for the MiG-19. During development, the early test article was called the SM-2 and introduced twin-engine power and additional innovations, but still lacked the performance to replace the MiG-17.

In the following chapter, the coverage turns to the SM-9 which pushes the airframe into supersonic flight as well as offering other improvements. Like the F-100 Super Sabre and early F8U Crusader, the MiG-19 airframe lacked area rule, but its twin engines provided the needed thrust for supersonic flight. As flight test continued, this title provides nice period photos that chronical the evolution of the design into a viable production aircraft.

Looking at Soviet development of the MiG-19, you'll see some interesting variants that you may not have seen before. Air refueling? Yes, two different techniques were tested. ZEL? No-doubt after seeing an F-100 being rocketed into the air from a fixed launcher, they stuck a rocket under a MiG-19 and did the same thing. You will be fascinated with what other variations were tested with this design. Want to see what the MiG-19 looked like fitted with the MiG-21F or MiG-21PFM radomes? Those are here too with good detailed information.

As I mentioned above, the Chinese 'fixed' the MiG-19's flaws and produced it as the J-6 and even produced a two-seat variant, something the Soviets never did. The Chinese continued their own evolution of the airframe to produce a solid-nose fighter called the Q-5 (A-5) (code-named Fantan). But the Chinese were not the only ones to produce the MiG-19. That's here too.

The MiG-19 in detail section is another area modeler's and tail spotters will want to spend time studying. While you might think all MiG-19s 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-19 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-17 and MiG-21 references.

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!