MiG-21 Balalaika
МиГ-21 Балалайка

MiG-21 with NVA markings.

MIG-21 soviet camo
MIG-21 with Soviet markings.

Manufacturer(s) Mikoyam Guluvich
Generation 1st Generation
Role All-Purpose Fighter
Initial Deployment 1975
Height 17.7m
Engines K-25-300
Armament(s) WS-16 Assault Cannon
CIWS-1A Close Combat Knife

Type-77 Close Range Battle Halberd
DS-3 Multi-Purpose Supplemental Armor

Appearance(s) Schwarzesmarken, TSFiA

A 1st generation Soviet Tactical Surface Fighter developed from the F-4R Phantom, with modifications and specifications geared towards higher mobility. It is named after the Russian stringed instrument of the same name, and is a reference to the shape of each of its jump units resembling a balalaika.


The MiG-21 was developed by Mikoyam Guluvich Design Bureau from the F-4R due to the need for a domestic TSF design. As the Soviets were fighting on their own lands against the BETA, they required an improved TSF that could enter and exit close-combat situations reliably and with all due speed, as well as handle close-combat against the BETA.

The MiG-21, while being based off the F-4R, handles differently from its base machine, with reduced weight[1] and improved operational endurance.[2] The design of its arms and legs have been simplified by removing excess armor volume, and its shoulder armor blocks are notably smaller.[1] Other changes include a reduction in head module size and a wire cutter added to the front of its head to reduce the risk of component destruction in the heat of close-range battle,[2][1] and its Jump Units utilize Soviet components and designs, rather than the F-4's own; the resultant change in Jump Unit frame shape also increased the MiG-21's maneuverability.[1] Multi-environment adaptability, with the aim of aiding Soviet forces in combat across the varying climes of their territories, has also been worked into its design.[1]

The armaments of the MiG-21 differ from nation to nation. Apart from the WS-series of Assault Cannons and the CIWS-1A Close Combat Knife, MiG-21s of the German Democratic Republic were also seen equipped with Type-77 Battle Halberds, imported from the People's Republic of China. However, the equipment remained rare, as few pilots were able to master the heavier weapon, and more often than not, NVA pilots were seen utilizing the DS-3 Schurzen Multi-purpose Supplemental Armor to improve the survivability and close-quarter capabilities of the MiG-21.

Early MiG-21s were simply reworked F-4Rs instead of factory productions; the process of converting a Phantom into a Balalaika usually took a day. It is interesting to note that while the MiG-21 is directly related to the F-4 lineage, the vast majority of the later MiG-series TSFs by the Mikoyam Guluvich Design Bureau would be developed from, and are operationally-wise, closer to the F-5 Freedom Fighter.


The MiG-21 is used by the majority of Warsaw Pact countries and the Soviet Union. Of note is the deployment of Soviet MiG-21s during Operation Palaiologos; the Volk Regiment of the 43rd Tactical Armored Division was known to have used MiG-21s in the assault on the Minsk Hive, and the retrieval of what would later become the Volk Data.[2]

After the separation of central Europe from Soviet influence by the BETA advance from the Minsk Hive, the German Democratic Republic began manufacturing their own MiG-21s by analyzing their first-production batch of TSFs delivered by the Soviet Union.

Several MiG-21s are used by the 666th, 661st and other laserjagd squadrons deployed to the Oder-Neisse Defence Line in the GDR to destroy Laser-class BETA during engagements, allowing artillery and air support to work with greater effectiveness in supporting the defenders. Surviving numerous engagements, the MiG-21s of the 666th were also present during Operation Neptune, spearheading the assault on the Gulf of Gdansk alongside US, European, and UN troops.



Jurgen's MiG-21PF
Jürgen's Bernhard's MiG-21P with his flamingo red ace colors.

MiG-21PF lineart
Irisdina Bernhard's MiG-21PF with 666th TSF Squadron markings.

Manufacturer(s) Mikoyam Guluvich
Generation 1st Generation
Role Improved Sensors/Data-Link All-Purpose Fighter
Initial Deployment 1975
Engines K-25-300
Armament(s) WS-16 Assault Cannon
CIWS-1A Close Combat Knife
DS-3 Multi-Purpose Supplemental Armor
Appearance(s) Schwarzesmarken, TSFiA

To counter electromagnetic interference from anti-laser heavy metal clouds, Jürgen Bernhard requested and helped develop a specialized variant of the MiG-21, equipped with a larger sensor mast to facilitate improved detection and communication performance.

The early production models were given the title MIG-21P, and were only used for experimental testing purposes. The finalized mass production type was christened the MIG-21PF.

The MiG-21PF was manufactured in small numbers, with one unit operated by Captain Irisdina Bernhard, commander of the GDR's 666th TSF Squadron.


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Manufacturer(s) Mikoyam Guluvich

The refined and final production variant of the MiG-21.


J-8 color
Manufacturer(s) Shenyang
Generation 1st Generation
Role Localized All-Purpose Fighter
Initial Deployment 1976
Height 17.7m
Engines K-25-300
Armament(s) Type-82 Tactical Assault Cannon

CIWS-1A Close Combat Knife
Type-77 Close Range Battle Halberd

When the experience gained by fighting the BETA resulted in the People's Republic of China selecting the close-combat-specialized MiG-21 over the multirole F-4 Phantom, the PRC modified the MiG-21's design by replacing the original head unit with an armored round-monitor head module type, so as to reduce the risk of damage to the main sensors.[3] This change was made based on the PRC's viewpoint that their forces would be involved in denser close-quarters battle conditions against the BETA (as compared to the Soviets).[3]

Developed and manufactured by Shenyang, the J-8 received high praise for its performance on the battlefield during its day, and the round-head monitor module design was thereafter widely recognized as a major trait of Chinese TSFs.[3]


  • The name of balalaika was an unofficial but actual nickname given to the real-world MiG-21.
  • Unlike the real-world MiG-21, the Muv-Luv MiG-21 is a marked departure in terms of its origins, being the half-child of a nonexistent F-4 variant rather than a continuation of the earlier MiG-17/19 fighters.
  • The actual J-8, in real life, was an early modification of the MiG-21 into a twin-engined interceptor, with years of upgrades changing its appearance until the final product was markedly different from its early design.
  • The MiG-21/J-8 (visible lower body, left of the picture) was originally slated to appear in a segment of Muv-Luv Alternative to showcase part of the diversionary assaults on BETA Hives during Operation Ouka, alongside several Type-97 Fubuki. This segment was cut from the final product.

Image GalleryEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Integral Works, pg. 51, MiG-21 バラライ力
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Integral Works, pg. 49, F-4シリーズのバリエーション
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Integral Works, pg. 51, 殲撃8型

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