Soviet engine designer Vladimir Klimov travelled to the UK for help and to both his and Stalin's surprise was given all the technical information he required and sold 40 Rolls-Royce derwent jet engines which he reverse engineered and modified to produce the Klimov VK-1 turbojet engine.
The goodwill gesture of the UK Government in allowing the Soviets access to a modern jet engine was seen as a bad move by other Western military powers, especially the US, this opinion became even more pronounced when during the Korean War when the MiG-15 fighter proved to be superior to the American piston-engined P-51 Mustang and F4U Corsair fighters, even worse it outperformed the American F-80 Shooting Star and the British Gloster Meteor jet fighters, the American response to this technological shortcoming was to offer $100,000 and asylum to any enemy pilot prepared to defect with his MiG-15 fighter! In 1953 the American offer was taken up by the Korean pilot Lieutenant No Kum-Sok, his MiG-15 aircraft was later test flown and evaluated for the USAF by test pilot Chuck Yeager, this aircraft is now on display at the USAF museum at Dayton Ohio.
It is of note that it was whilst flying a MiG-15 fighter that Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, unfortunately died in a routine training flight during March 1968, a result of poor visibility in bad weather.
MiG-15 bis Specifications:
- Crew: Pilot only
- Length: 10.11 m (33 ft 2 in)
- Wingspan: 10.08 m (33 ft 1 in)
- Height: 3.70 m (12 ft 2 in)
- Empty weight: 3,580 kg (7,900 lb)
- Maximum takeoff weight: 6,105 kg (13,460 lb)
- Fuel capacity: 1,400 L (364 US gal)
- Engine: Single 26.5 kN (5,950 lbf) Klimov VK-1 turbojet
- Maximum speed: 1,075 km/h (668 mph)
- Range: 1,200 km, 1,975 km with external tanks (745 mi / 1,225 mi)
- Service ceiling 15,500 m (50,850 ft)
- Rate of climb: 50 m/s (9,840 ft/min)
MiG-15 bis Armament:
- Twin 23 mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23KM cannon
- Single 37 mm NL-37D cannon
- Twin 100 kg (220 lb) bombs or unguided rocket projectiles mounted underwing