A MiG-21 from the Polish Air Force is being donated to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola by Draken International, a Lakeland, Fla.-based compny that provides combat training around the world. The MiG-21 will become part of an exhibit detailing an incident in Operation Desert Storm.
PENSACOLA — A MiG-21 supersonic fighter jet is being donated to the National Naval Aviation Museum.
Scheduled to arrive at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Aug. 26, the jet — a fixture of Russian air forces and also used in other European countries — will be restored by the museum's staff before going on display.
The MiG-21 will be a part of an exhibit telling the story of the Navy’s downing of two Iraqi Air Force MiG-21s by two F/A-18C Hornets from the USS Saratoga (CV 60) at the start of Operation Desert Storm on Jan. 17, 1991. The actual Hornets that scored those MiG kills arrived at the museum earlier this summer.
“In telling the full story of naval aviation, it is important to present to the public the capabilities of adversary air forces,” said retired U.S. Navy Capt. Sterling Gilliam, director of the National Naval Aviation Museum. “The acquisition of the MiG-21 allows us to do just that, as it was an aircraft that generations of naval aviators were trained to fight against and actually battled from Vietnam to the modern era.”
The MiG-21 debuted in 1955 and has since served in more than 60 air forces around the world.
The MiG-21 coming to the National Naval Aviation Museum was previously flown by the Polish Air Force. It is being donated to the museum by Lakeland, Florida-based Draken International, which owns the world's largest fleet of tactical ex-military aircraft and uses those aircraft to support military training around the world.
The National Naval Aviation Museum, located aboard Pensacola Naval Air Station, features nearly 350,000 square feet of displays and includes more than 150 restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aviation.