Crecy's Mikoyan MiG-17


Yefim Gordon & Dimitriy Komissarov


Crecy Publishing


$64.95 from Specialty Press


Scott Van Aken

Notes: ISBN 978-1-8578-0372-3, 480 pages, Hundreds of images


Like the MiG-15 before it and the MiG-21 after, the MiG-17 was one of those aircraft that was extensively used by both the Soviet Union as well as dozens of other nations friendly to the Soviets.

The design was basically a growth of the previous MiG-15. It used the same engine and the cockpit was quite similar. The airframe was enlarged to provide more fuel capacity and the flight surfaces were also modified to provide for greater speed. Initial production of the aircraft was without an afterburner, but later models, the MiG-17F, included this feature. While it did not increase straight line speed, it had a remarkable affect on the plane's climbing ability and offered it more power in the vertical. It also allowed the plane to keep speed in turns.

Typical of MiG offerings, the aircraft was a relatively simple design that was both easy to fly and easy to maintain. It was not without vices, but it gave plenty of warning before getting the tyro into trouble. These factors made it ideal for nations who wanted a jet, but did not have the talent for a more complex airframe. Flown by experienced pilots, the MiG-17 was able to defeat much more sophisticated aircraft, as the US discovered in Vietnam. It was a superb dog-fighter and so adversaries had to learn not to dog-fight it.

The 'Famous Russian Aircraft' series has gone through several publishers, but thanks to the superb research of the authors, has always resulted in the best reference of the type. This book is no exception. We get to look at the design and testing of the aircraft. A part of these books I really like is that every single different test aircraft is covered. The Soviets were never afraid to try something a bit different and the MiG-17 airframe was no exception. Often these did not work as planned, but there were times when they did and the results were often incorporated into the airframe. One of the more interesting test planes had the upper intake of an F-86 grafted onto it in order to test the capabilities of the Sabre's gunsight radar system. A system that was eventually copied and used.

The MiG-17 was the basis for one of the more successful jet night fighters, the MiG-17PF. This design incorporated two radar antennas into the intake design, resulting in an interesting 'lip' on the top and a round antenna in the intake. These jets were later equipped with beam riding missiles of dubious abilities, but one has to start somewhere.

In addition to the Soviet Union, the aircraft were built in Poland by Lim and by the Chinese. The Lim versions were extensively modified in later variants to include a braking parachute and ground attack pylons. These latter devices were also incorporated in the MiG-17s of other nations such as the Egyptians who used them in some of their wars with the Israelis.

An extensive look at the various systems is provided in the book as well as modifications to the airframe over time. Use by nation is also part of this edition and is one of the more interesting parts of the book for me. The authors have tried to get a full serial number listing along with what happened to each airframe in this section, quite an undertaking to say the least. There is also a rather large section on the use of the MiG-17 in various conflicts. We also get to see some of the extant museum and war birds with information on both of those provided. Some nice color profiles are sprinkled throughout the book. This is all finished with several pages of line drawings of the different variants and modifications.

In all, it makes for a most complete book on the development, service history, and combat use of this important aircraft. It is a book that will certainly take a while to read, but is one that keeps your attention while doing so. Highly recommended.

December 2016

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