This Polish MiG 21bis was seen in spring 2001 at Malbork airbase, central Poland. It clearly means business since Draken International bought 25 of them (Image © Elmer van Hest)

Polish Fishbeds surface in Florida

This Polish MiG 21bis was seen in spring 2001 at Malbork airbase, central Poland. It clearly means business. (Image © Elmer van Hest)
This Polish MiG-21bis was seen in spring 2001 at Malbork airbase, central Poland. It clearly means business. (Image © Elmer van Hest)

At AIRheads↑FLY, we had been wondering for quite some time where they all went; the many MiG-21 Fishbeds – like this one – that once formed the backbone of the Polish air force. Now it turns out, that 25 ex-Polish MiG 21 were bought recently by US-company Draken International.

According to a statement of September 30th on the company’s website, delivery of the aircraft already took place. In the same statement it says “Draken International maintains the largest fleet of privately owned tactical aircraft in the world. The fleet is composed of over 50 ex-military aircraft including Douglas A-4K Skyhawks, Aermacchi MB-339CBs, Mikoyan MiG-21UM and MiG-21BIS fighters.”

Draken International uses the aircraft to act a ‘red air’ forces during military exercises. The company is located at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, FL.

Poland used to have into the hundreds of MiG-21s in service with both its air force and its navy. The air force MiGs were partly replaced with MiG-29 Fulcrums and Lockheed Martin F-16s. The MiG-21 was the last fast jet to be operated by the Polish navy.

Source: Draken International, with additional reporting by © 2013 AIRheads’ Elmer van Hest