MiGs in the Middle East

Volume 1: The First 10 Years, 1955-1967

Davis Nicolle, Tom Cooper

An exclusive source of reference on the operational history of MiG-15, MiG-17, and MiG-19 fighter jets in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, and Syria from 1955 until 1965. This is the first volume in a mini-series.
Date Published :
April 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
89 b/w photos, 21 color aircraft profiles, 1 color & 3 b/w maps, 6 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913336363
Pages : 72
Dimensions : 11.7 X 8.3 inches
Stock Status : Available


Egypt and Czechoslovakia signed the so-called ‘Czechoslovak Arms Deal’, thus initiating a unique era of close cooperation between major Arab military powers, the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its allies. During the first decade of this period, the air force of Egypt, followed by those of (in chronological order) Syria, Iraq, Morocco and Algeria, were all equipped with dozens and then hundreds of Soviet-made fighters designed by the Mikoyan I Gurevich Design Bureau – the same swept-wing jets that took the Western powers by surprise during the Korean War.

While the first generation of MiG jet fighter – the MiG-15 – saw only a relatively brief service in Egypt, its more efficient and upgraded successor, the MiG-17F, entered service in bigger numbers, and then formed the backbone of additional air forces around the Middle East. The MiG-17PF became the first radar-equipped combat aircraft while the MiG-19 became the first supersonic fighter flown by the air forces of Egypt and Iraq, in the period 1958-1963. In Morocco and Algeria, the MiG-17 was the first and the only jet fighter in service during the first half of the 1960s. Unsurprisingly, MiG-15s, MiG-17s and MiG-19s thus served with many different units and – especially in Egypt and Algeria, and also in Syria – wore a wide range of very different, and often very colorful unit insignia and other markings. They were also flown by many pilots who subsequently played crucial roles in the future of their nations.

Based on original documentation and extensive interviews with veterans, and richly illustrated, MiGs in the Middle East, Volume 1 is a unique source of reference on the operational history of MiG-15, MiG-17, and MiG-19 fighter jets in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, and Syria from 1955 until 1956. This is the first volume in a mini-series.

About The Author

Dr. David C Nicolle is a British historian specialising in the military history of the Middle Ages, with special interest in the Middle East and Arab countries. After working for the BBC Arabic Service, he obtained his MA at SOAS, University of London, followed by a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. He then lectured in art history at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan. Dr. Nicolle has published over 100 books about warfare ranging from Roman times to the 20th century, mostly as sole author. Lately, he has authored multiple volumes of the Middle East@War series, including the unique Air Power and the Arab World series, covering the history of Arab air forces during the first half of the 20th Century. Furthermore, he has appeared in several TV-documentaries, and has published numerous articles in the specialized press. This is his sixth instalment for Helion’s @War series.

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialization in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African and Asian air forces. Except for authoring and co-authoring more than 30 books - including about a dozen of titles for Helion’s @War series - and over 1000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defense-related publications.


"...highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Soviet export aircraft, Middle East aerial operations, or both."

- Air Power History

"The lavishly illustrated effort sports several dozen rare, period photos and archival images. Twenty-one color profiles offer aircraft modelers potent project potential."

- Cybermodeler

"​Highly recommended."

- AMPS Indianapolis

"You'll find plenty of material for air-to-air scenarios, including those unconnected with the 1956 war."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"...another fascinating historical study by the folks at Helion. Lots of great photos and maps along with some insight that you simply don't get from other books on the subject."

- ModelingMadness.Com

"This is an excellent detailed book on the post war start of these Air Forces and the introduction of more modern Soviet Aircraft. The history is well worth a read and this book no doubt sets the reader up wanting the rest of the series which will follow. Highly recommended."

- Britmodeller.com

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