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Nigeria: Soviet-made MiG-21 Fishbed
 fighter aircrafts

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Nigerian MiG-21MF Fishbed-J

After the Nigerian Civil War, in the mid-seventies, the Soviet Union delivered around 25 MiG-21MF 'Fishbed-J' tactical fighter and six MiG-21UM 'Mongol-B' trainer aircraft to Nigeria. (B/N: NAF65x, NAF66x, NAF67x)

These MiG-21MF-75s fighter version were made in the factory in Gorky No. 21 between 1975 and 1976.

Known serial number:
  96003137 (NAF654) Production date: 1975
  96003295 (NAX6xx) Production date: 1975

All Nigerian MiG-21MF-75 worn standard 'middle east' Soviet factory camouflage paint. The two-seater MiG-21UM arrived with metal color.


Nigerian MiG-21MF Fishbed-J Nigerian MiG-21MF Fishbed-J and L-29 Delfin
Nigerian MiG-21UM Mongol-B Nigerian MiG-21MF Fishbed-J and MiG-21UM Mongol-B

          Photo sources: AircraftSlides, ACIG Forum

In 1978, the Nigerian Air Force formed the Tactical Air Command and the Training Command. The new Tactical Air Command subordinated the Nigeran MiG-21MF-75 'Fishbed-J', IL-28 'Beagle, and the older MiG-17 'Fresco's combat aircraft.

Later, in the eighties, the Soviet Union sent MiG-21bis 'Fishbed-N' tactical fighter and MiG-21UM 'Mongol-B' two-seater aircraft too to Nigeria. Circa one new squadron, probably 10-12 pieces. B/Ns: NAF68x and NAF69x.

These Nigerian MiG-21bis 'Fishbed-N' combat aircraft were equipped with Soviet RSBN is a short-range navigation system.

Know Nigerian MiG-21bis ‘Fishbed-L’ photos:

NAF692 from the

NAF693 from the


In the early nineties, the Nigerian Air Force put into storage their MiG-21MF-75/bis and UM aircraft due to a lack of spares and finance. During operation, the Nigerian Air Force lost many MiG-21 aircraft. The known crashed:

  • NAF6xx MiG-21    w/o 24. Sept. 1976
  • NAF675 MiG-21MF  w/o 01. Oct. 1976
  • NAF6xx MiG-21UM  w/o 01. Marc. 1978
  • NAF672 MiG-21MF  w/o 19. Jun. 1981
  • NAF651 MiG-21MF  w/o 04. Nov. 1981
  • NAF6xx MiG-21    w/o 13. May 1985
  • NAF660 MiG-21UM  w/o 13. May 1986?
  • NAF6xx MiG-21    w/o 03. Jun. 1988

In 2009 - before the Chinese F-7 (MiG-21) aircrafts arrived - the Google Earth show 28 delta wing Soviet-made MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’ aircraft yet on the Maiduguri, Makurdi, and Kaduna airports:

Nigerian MiG-21 and SEPECAT Jaguar storage on Makurdi airbase in 2009

Nigerian MiG-21 and SEPECAT Jaguar storage on Makurdi airbase in 2009

Nigerian Maiduguri airport in 2009

Nigerian Maiduguri airport in 2009