Air International 2021-02
A.Radic - Journey's end for Serbia's MigGs
The last Serbian MiG-21 jets are with the 4th Flight, 101st Fighter Aviation Squadron. The unit formed in 2006, having evolved from the 126th Squadron. The demon emblem on the MiG-21UM nose was inherited from the disbanded 126th
Aircraft number 16174 is one of nine MiG-21UMs that were converted to become non-combat aircraft in 1996
Between 2015 and 2020, the QRA occasionally had two dual-seaters - one MiG-21UM and one MiG-29UB. When the MiG-29s became operational again in 2018, the need for air policing with the MiG-21 disappeared
The sun sets on the MiG-21 at Batajnica, where MiG-21s have operated for 58 years under Yugoslavian and, after 2006, in Serbian markings
MiG-21UM 16185 (c/n 516999513) was the last MiG-21 produced in the former USSR, at the 31st plant in Tbilisi in December 1986. It was the final MiG-21 to be put into service by the Yugoslav Air Force
Dual-seat MiG-21UMs were used in the fighter squadrons for conversion training from subsonic aircraft; pilots regaining currency after a flying break; as well as for checking flight qualities, weather flights and other auxiliary tasks
The only remaining MiG-21 in the SAF&AD, 16180, could potentially still fly in 2021. However, it will probably never take off again because the fatal crash of 16185 extinguished any enthusiasm to extend the career of obsolete Cold War technology