Early U.S. and Soviet Supersonic Fighter Jets: Contrast Design, Part 3 of 4

Soviet MIG-19 Farmer fighter jet

Part 3 of the series explains the development and design of the Soviet Union MIG-19 (NATO reporting name “Farmer”) supersonic fighter jet. In Part 2, we discussed the development of the Douglas XF4D-1 Skyray. The airplane type “MIG” is named after the two Soviet aircraft designers Mikoyan and Gurevich.

MIG-19. Soviet Air Force.

At the behest of Soviet leader Josef V. Stalin on 30 June 1950, a meeting was organized. The meeting, regarding the Soviet’s next-generation fighter beyond the MIG 17, consisted of:

  • Artyom Ivanovich Mikoyan (MIG OKB Design Bureau),
  • Aleksandr Sergeyevich Yakovlev (RIVAL OKB-115 Design Bureau),
  • Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Milkulin (Head of OKB-500 Turbojet Design Bureau), and
  • Minister of Aircraft Industry Mikhail V. Khroonichev.

The emphasis of the meeting stipulated that the new design must be capable of sustained Mach 1 performance in level flight.

MIG-17 derivative

The issue was further defined on 20 April 1951 by a meeting of the Council of Ministries of the Soviet Union and their directive No. 1282-648. It tasked the Mikoyan OKB Design Bureau with developing the I-340 fighter, a modified MIG-17 derivative powered by two AM-5 turbojets.

Performance specifications and expectations were: 

  • Top speed 721 mph at 6,561 ft,
  • Ceiling 54,133 feet,
  • Range 932 miles, supporting an initial fuel capacity of 503.8 gallons and 1,243 miles with wing tanks.

The Soviet MIG-19 Farmer, the ultimate of communist fighter jets

After a progression of failed design and prototype flight tests involving design studies, I-340, I-350, SM-1, 1-360/SM-2/SM2A/SM2B, it wasn’t until the project SM-2B or SM9/1 that the MIG 19 farmer achieved fruition.

MIG-19 Farmer. YouTube/Michelotto Ferrari.

Soviet MIG 19 Farmer design

The MIG 19 employed a more conventional aircraft design architectural sporting an accepted wing/tail layout. 


The fighter jet utilized a nose inlet, bifurcated internally (split) in order to aspirate its two original AM-5 turbojets. 


The wing was mid-mounted on the fuselage and employed a leading-edge sweep of 55° at the quarter chord.  This wing also used anhedral (wing canted downward) of 4° 30”.

soviet fighter jets MIG-19 Anhedral wing
The MIG-19 was developed with an anhedral wing. Schematic: The angle at which the airplane wing is designed makes the wing either (top to bottom) a dihedral, straight, or an anhedral wing. Wikipedia.


Its vertical tail employed a 56° leading-edge sweep accompanied with a lower mounted horizontal stabilizer (all moving horizontal stabilizer) of 55° leading-edge sweep.  Its top speed was estimated around Mach 1.2-1.3.

The MIG-19 development

The MIG 19 had experienced a rather brutal developmental period resulting in numerous fatal test flights.

MIG-19 Farmer A test flight

G. A. Sedov, a chief constructor for Mikoyan OKB Design Bureau, took the SM-9/1 or MIG 19 Farmer A on its maiden flight and managed to exceed Mach 1 in level flight on 5 January 1954. 

This event took place roughly seven months after American George Welch exceeded Mach 1 in the YF-100 Super Sabre. 

However, there were reports that the Soviets did attain Mach 1 briefly in its other prototypes, but failed to fulfill any of the sustainability requirements outline in their design. 

The MIG 19 for a time became the preferred fighter for the counties of the Soviet Eastern Block due largely to its simple design and ease of manufacturing.

Part 3 of this series on the early U.S. and Soviet supersonic fighter jets discussed the development of the Soviet Union MIG-19 Farmer. In the final Part 4 of the series, we’ll get an overview of all three of the fighter jets that we have covered in this series.

Part 1. Part 2.

Story: ©2020 Thomas E. Gardner. You can contact the author here.

Featured Image: Wikimedia.

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