Polish Aviation Museum

31-864 Kraków,
al. Jana Pawła II 39
phone: (12) 640 99 60,
(12) 642 40 70
e-mail: info@muzeumlotnictwa.pl

a cultural institution of the Malopolska Region

Małopolska – Kraków Region

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Kraków Airport

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Aeroplane: WSK Lim-1 (licenced MiG-15, NATO: Fagot)

WSK Lim-1 (licenced MiG-15, NATO: Fagot)
USSR / Poland

  • Technical data

Span 10.08 m (33 ft 0 in)
Length 10.1 m (33 ft 1 in)
Take-off weight 4,806 kg (10,595 lb)
Maximum speed 1,031 kph (557 kt / 640 mph)
Ceiling 15,200 m (49,869 ft)
Range 1,505 km (with additional fuel tanks)
Armament two NS-23 23 mm cannons and a 37 mm N-37 cannon, 50- or 100-kg bombs or external fuel tanks on two underwing hardpoints
Powerplant :
a Lis-1 (lic. RD-45F) turbojet rated at 2,700 kG of thrust.


A superb early Soviet jet fighter famous for its part in the Korean War (1950–1953).

On 11th March 1947, the Soviet Union's Board of Ministers approved the plan of building a new experimental aircraft. Appropriate orders for a new jet fighter were directed to all construction teams engaged with the subject. Among them was the No. 155 Construction and Experimental Bureau of Mikoyan and Guryevich. An order for a pressurised cockpit, made in two copies and introduced into the test flights by December 1947, frontline fighter was received by the team. The I-310 designation was reserved for a new construction. On 30th April 1947, the Soviet Air Force approved the tactical and technical specifications for the new fighter.

The new plans and decisions of the Boards of Ministers were possible thanks the acquisition of the most modern Rolls-Royce built turbojet engines. By the end of 1946, the Soviet commercial delegation, including aircraft designer Artiom Mikoyan and engine designer Wladimir Klimov, came to Great Britain. The negotiations resulted, among others, in the purchase of the Nene and the Nene II turbojet engines. This created a great opportunity for the development of modern combat aircraft in the Soviet Union, an undertaking up to that point hampered by the lack of big thrust engines. Thus, the British "helped" the Soviets step into the world of advanced technology and quickly get to the forefront of aircraft design.

The main problem the designers faced was the choice of the new aircraft's aerodynamic configuration, with the aim of enabling the highest possible speed of flight. At that time this goal could be achieved through the use of swept wings and empennage. Such a configuration decreased the wave drag and limited the intensity of subsonic speed shock stall. The aviation stepped into the world of new aerodynamic phenomena.

On 30th December 1947, the S‑1 experimental aircraft with a 35 degree swept wing and powered by the Nene turbojet was flown. Trials showed the necessity for making several technological changes, gradually introduced in the second prototype designated the S‑2 and powered by the Nene II engine. Both aircraft showed very good performance, placing them among the top Soviet aviation constructions. In 1948, the S‑3 test aircraft was built in which modifications aimed at increasing performance and service features (the air brakes envisaged but not used on the S‑1 and the S‑2 prototypes) were applied. Tests run in November and December 1948 finally led to recognition of the S‑3 as the benchmark for serial production.

On 23rd August 1948, the Board of Ministers approved the mass production and introduction into service of the aircraft designated the MiG-15. The decision was made in haste, even before the conclusion of trials. Continuous changes in technical documentation led to the waste and scrapping of many already manufactured components. In 1949, the first MiGs reached the air regiments. The initial service of the fighter revealed further technical problems. The construction bureau reacted instantly, and quickly introduced appropriate improvements. The aircraft was powered by the RD-45F turbojet engine, which was a copy of the British Nene II. During production run a hydraulic actuator, activating ailerons and an auxiliary power unit for starting the engine's on the ground, were fitted. The armament consisted of two 23 23 NS‑23 cannons and a single 37 mm NS-37 cannon, which constituted a very strong armament for a fighter. The external stores consisted of two bombs, 50 kg or 100 kg each, or two auxiliary fuel tanks.

The MiG-15 was mass produced in the Soviet Union between 1949–1950 in five different factories. Production totalled 1344 aircraft. In 1951 licence production started in Czechoslovakia, ending after 821 examples had been built. In 1950 MiG-15 fighters flown by Soviet pilots were for the first time used operationally in limited combat actions over Chinese territory during the closing stages of the Chinese Civil War.

The MiG-15's went through a truly hard trial during the Korean War in 1950–1953. Air combat proved to be an especially demanding test for the airframe. The Soviets became involved in Korea on a large scale, however the use of regular Soviet air force units for many years was kept secret by Soviet authorities. The pilots quickly came up with a whole list of required changes in construction and equipment of the aircraft. Some changes were introduced instantly, some only in follow-up MiG types. In 1949 an improved variant, the MiG-15bis, went into production.

The arrival of the MiG-15 was a big surprise for the United Nations forces. The United States reacted at once, delivering to Korea the most modern US fighter the North American F‑86 Sabre flown by experienced pilots. Dogfight experience proved the effectiveness of some of the technical solutions applied in the MiG, while other assumptions of the designers proved wrong. The Mig-15 outperformed the F‑86 in vertical and high altitude horizontal speed, it also proved better in vertical manoeuvres. The F‑86 outmanoeuvred the Mig‑15 in horizontal flight: the reason was the lack of the MiG-15 wing's mechanisation. Worth mentioning was also the impressive punch provided by the MiG's weapons.

Poland was another manufacturer of the MiG‑15. In the years 1952–1954 227 examples designated the Lim‑1 (Polish abbreviation for "Licence Fighter 1") were produced at the Mielec aircraft factory (in cooperation with the factory in Świdnik). At the same time licence production of RD-45F engines, named the Lis‑1 (Licence engine-1), started in Rzeszow. Lim‑1 aircraft served with the Polish Air Force along 60 Czechoslovak and several Soviet MiG‑15s.

The aircraft construction number 1A 07‑012, side number 712 was built in 1952. From 1952 to 1967 it served with Polish military aviation. Withdrawn in 1967, it was donated to the aviation museum in Krakow. The aircraft "starred" in a 2006 documentary about escapes from Poland under communist rule as the mount of 2nd Lt. Franciszek Jarecki, who in 1953 flew on a MiG‑15 to the Danish island of Bornholm, thus allowing the NATO to thoroughly examine the Soviet fighter.


Dofinansowano ze środków Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego
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