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PZL-Mielec Lim-6bis “Fresco-C”
Single-engine single-seat swept-wing jet fighter

Archive Photos ¹

PZL-Mielec LIM-6bis “Fresco-C” (NX619M/619, c/n 1J0619) circa 6/25/2000 at the Aviation Expo 2000, Van Nuys Airport, Van Nuys, CA (John Shupek photo copyright &sopy; 2000 Skytamer Images)

PZL-Mielec LIM-6 “Fresco-C” (N2503N, s/n 1F0319, 1961) on display c.2005 at the Tillamook Air Museum, Tillamook, Oregon (John Shupek photos copyright © 2005 Skytamer Images)

Overview ²

  • Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17
  • Role: Fighter aircraft
  • National origin: Soviet Union
  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich
  • First flight: 14 January 1950
  • Introduction: October 1952
  • Status: Active with North Korea Air Force
  • Primary users: Soviet Air Force; PLA Air Force; Polish Air Force; Vietnam People's Air Force
  • Number built: 10,603
  • Developed from: Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15
  • Variants: PZL-Mielec Lim-6; Shenyang J-5

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 (NATO: “Fresco”) (China:Shenyang J-5) (Poland: PZL-Mielec Lim-5 & Lim-6) is a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952 and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. Most MiG-17 “Fresco” variants cannot carry air-to-air missiles, but shot down many aircraft with its cannons. It is an advanced development of the very similar appearing MiG-15 “Fagot” of the Korean War.

The MiG-17 “Fresco” first saw combat in 1958 over the Straits of Taiwan and was used as an effective threat against supersonic fighters of the United States in the Vietnam War. It was also briefly known as the “Type 38”, by U.S. Air Force designation prior to the development of NATO codes.

Development ²

While the MiG-15“bis” “Fagot” would be destined to introduce swept wings to air combat over Korea, by 1949, the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau had already begun work on its replacement, originally the MiG-15“bis”45, which would fix any problems found with the MiG-15 “Fagot” in combat. The result was one of the most successful transonic fighters introduced before the advent of true supersonic types such as the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 “Farmer” and North American F-100 “Super Sabre”. The design would ultimately still prove effective into the 1960s when pressed into dogfights over Vietnam against supersonic types which were generally flown at subsonic speeds, and not optimized for subsonic maneuvering short-range engagements.

While the MiG-15 “Fagot” used a Mach sensor to deploy air brakes because it could not safely exceed Mach 0.92, the MiG-17 “Fresco” was designed to be controllable at higher Mach numbers. Early versions which retained the original Soviet copy of the Rolls-Royce “Nene VK-1” engine were heavier with equal thrust. Later MiG-17 “Frescos” would be the first Soviet fighter application of an afterburner which offered increased thrust on demand by dumping fuel in the exhaust of the basic engine.

Though the MiG-17 “Fresco” still strongly resembles its forebear, it had an entirely new thinner and more highly swept wing and tailplane for speeds approaching Mach 1. While the North American F-86 “Sabre” introduced the “all-flying” tailplane which helped controllability near the speed of sound, this would not be adopted on MiG's until the fully supersonic MiG-19 “Farmer”. The wing had a “sickle sweep” compound shape with a 45° angle like the U.S. North American F-100 “Super Sabre” near the fuselage and tailplane, and a 42° angle for the outboard part of the wings. The stiffer wing resisted the tendency to bend its wingtips and lose aerodynamic symmetry unexpectedly at high speeds and wing loads.

Other easily visible differences to its predecessor were the three wing-fences on each wing, instead of the MiG-15 “Fagots” two, the addition of a ventral fin and a longer and less tapered rear fuselage that added about 3 feet in length. The MiG-17 “Fresco” shared the same Klimov VK-1 engine and much of the rest of its construction such as the forward fuselage, landing gear and gun installation was carried over. The first prototype, designated I-330 “SI” by the construction bureau, was flown on the 14 January 1950, piloted by Ivan Ivashchenko.

In the midst of testing, pilot Ivashchenko was killed when his aircraft developed flutter which tore off his horizontal tail, causing a spin and crash on 17 March 1950. Lack of wing stiffness also resulted in aileron reversal which was discovered and fixed. Construction and tests of additional prototypes “SI-2” and experimental series aircraft “SI-02” and “SI-01” in 1951, were generally successful. On 1 September 1951, the aircraft was accepted for production, and formally given its own MiG-17 designation after so many changes from the original MiG-15 “Fagot”. It was estimated that with the same engine as the MiG-15 “Fagot's”, the MiG-17 “Fresco's” maximum speed is higher by 40-50 kmh, and the fighter has greater maneuverability at high altitude.

Serial production started in August 1951, but large quantity production was delayed in favor of producing more MiG-15 “Fagots” so it was never introduced in the Korean War. It did not enter service until October 1952, when the MiG-19 “Farmer” was almost ready to be flight tested. During production, the aircraft was improved and modified several times. The basic MiG-17 “Fresco” was a general-purpose day fighter, armed with three cannons, one Nudelman N-37 37 mm cannon and two 23 mm with 80 rounds per gun, 160 rounds total. It could also act as a fighter-bomber, but its bomb load was considered light relative to other aircraft of the time, and it usually carried additional fuel tanks instead of bombs.

Although a canopy which provided clear vision to the rear necessary for dog fighting like the North American F-86 “Sabre” was designed, production MiG-17F “Frescos” got a cheaper rear-view periscope which would still appear on Soviet fighters as late as the MiG-23 “Flogger”. By 1953, pilots got safer ejection seats with protective face curtain and leg restraints like the Martin-Baker seats in the west. The MiG-15 “Fagot” had suffered for its lack of a radar gun sight, but in 1951, Soviet engineers obtained a captured North American F-86 “Sabre” from Korea and they copied the optical gun sight and SRD-3 gun ranging radar to produce the ASP-4N gun sight and SRC-3 radar. The combination would prove deadly over the skies of Vietnam against aircraft such as the McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom II” whose pilots lamented that guns and radar gunsights had been omitted as obsolescent.

The second prototype variant, “SP-2” “Fresco A”, was an interceptor equipped with a radar. Soon a number of MiG-17P “Fresco B” all-weather fighters were produced with the Izumrud radar and front air intake modifications.

In early 1953 the MiG-17F day fighter entered production. The “F” indicated it was fitted with the VK-1F engine with an afterburner by modifying the rear fuselage with a new convergent-divergent nozzle and fuel system. The afterburner doubled the rate of climb and greatly improved vertical maneuvers. But while the plane was not designed to be supersonic, skilled pilots could just dash to supersonic speed in a shallow dive, although the aircraft would often pitch up just short of Mach 1. This became the most popular variant of the MiG-17 “Fresco” series. The next mass-produced variant, MiG-17PF “Fresco D” incorporated a more powerful Izumrud RP-2 radar, though they were still dependent on Ground Control Interception to find and be directed to targets. In 1956 a small series (47 aircraft) was converted to the MiG-17PM standard (also known as PFU) with four first-generation Kaliningrad K-5 (NATO reporting name AA-1 “Alkali”) air-to-air missiles. A small series of MiG-17R reconnaissance aircraft were built with VK-1F engine, after first being tested with the VK-5F engine.

Over 6,000 MiG-17 “Frescos” were built in the USSR by 1958. Another 2,000 were built under licence in Poland and China.

The next development, the MiG-19 “Farmer” was yet another derivative intended to reach supersonic speeds in level flight. The first prototype I-350 was based on the MiG-17 “Fresco” with an even greater wing and tail sweepBack of 60°, though the finalized design would look quite different from the original MiG-15 “Fagot”.

Design ²

Day-fighter variants (MiG-17, MiG-17F) were armed with two 23 mm NR-23 cannons (80 rpg) and one 37 mm N-37 cannon (40 rounds), which were mounted on a common bed under the central air intake. The gun bed could be easily wound down for maintenance. On radar-equipped variants (MiG-17P, MiG-17PF), the 37 mm N-37 was replaced with a third 23 mm NR-23 (carrying 100 rpg) to compensate for the weight aft of the radar. All variants could carry 100 kg (220 lb) bombs on two underwing pylons and some could carry 250 kg (551 lb) bombs; however, these pylons were usually used for 400 liter (106 US gal) fuel tanks. The MiG-17R “Fresco” was armed with two 23 mm cannons.

The only variant with air-to-air missiles was the MiG-17PM (or MiG-17PFU), which could carry four K-5 (NATO: AA-1 “Alkali”). It had no cannons. Some countries occasionally modified their MiG-17 “Frescos” to carry unguided rockets or bombs on additional pylons.

The MiG-17P was equipped with the Izumrud-1 (RP-1) radar, while the MiG-17PF was initially fitted with the RP-1 which was later replaced with the Izumrud-5 (RP-5) radar. The MiG-17PM was also equipped with a radar, used to aim its missiles. Other variants had no radar.

License Production ²

In 1955, Poland received a license for MiG-17 “Fresco” production. The MiG-17F “Fresco-C” was produced by the WSK-Mielec factory under the designation Lim-5. The first Lim-5 was built on 28 November 1956 and 477 were built by 1960. An unknown number were built as the Lim-5R reconnaissance variant, fitted with the AFA-39 camera. In 1959-1960, 129 MiG-17PF “Fresco-D” interceptors were produced as the Lim-5P . PZL-WSK also developed several Polish strike variants based on the MiG-17 “Fresco”: the Lim-5M, produced from 1960; Lim-6bis, produced from 1963; and Lim-6M (converted in the 1970s); as well as two reconnaissance variants: the Lim-6R (Lim-6 "bis" R) and MR.

In China, an initial MiG-17F “Fresco-C” was assembled from parts in 1956, with license production following in 1957 at Shenyang. The Chinese-built version is known as the Shenyang J-5 (for local use) or F-5 (for export). According to some sources, earlier MiG-17 “Frescos” which had been delivered directly from the USSR were designated “J-4”. From 1964, the Chinese produced a radar-equipped variant similar to the MiG-17PF “Fresco-D”, which was known as the J-5A (F-5A). The Chinese also developed a two-seat trainer variant, the JJ-5 (FT-5 for export), which integrated the cabin of the JJ-2 (a license-built MiG-15UTI “Midget”) with the J-5. It was produced in 1966-1986, being the last-produced MiG-17 “Fresco” variant and its only twin-seater variant. The Soviets did not produce a two-seat MiG-17 as they felt that the training variant of the older MiG-15 “Midget” was sufficient.

Operational History ²

MiG-17 “Frescos” were designed to intercept straight and level flying enemy bombers, not for air to air combat (Dog-fighting) with other fighters. This subsonic (0.93 Mach) fighter was effective against slower (0.6-0.8 Mach), heavily loaded U.S. fighter-bombers, as well as the mainstay American strategic bombers during the MiG-17 “Fresco's” development cycle (such as the Boeing B-50 “Superfortress” or Convair B-36 “Peacemaker”, which were both still powered by piston engines). Even if the target had sufficient warning and time to shed weight and drag by dropping external ordnance and accelerate to supersonic escape speeds, doing so would have inherently forced the enemy aircraft to abort its bombing mission. However, the USAF's introduction of strategic bombers capable of supersonic dash speeds such as the Convair B-58 “Hustler” and General Dynamics FB-111 “Aardvark” rendered the MiG-17 “Frescos” obsolete in front-line PVO service and they were supplanted by supersonic interceptors such as the MiG-21 “Fishbed” and MiG-23 “Flogger”.

MiG-17 “Frescos” were not available for the Korean War, but saw combat for the first time over the Straits of Taiwan when PRC (Communist China) MiG-17 “Frescos” clashed with ROC (Nationalist China) North American F-86 “Sabres” in 1958.

In 1958, MiG-17 “Frescos” downed a US reconnaissance Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” over Armenia, with 17 casualties.

Vietnam War ²

In 1960, the first group of approximately 50 North Vietnamese airmen were transferred to the People's Republic of China (PRC) to begin transitional training onto the MiG-17 “Fresco”. By this time the first detachment of Chinese trained MiG-15 “Fagot” pilots had returned to North Vietnam, and a group of 31 airmen were deployed to the People's Liberation Army Air Force base at Son Dong for conversion to the MiG-17 “Fresco”. By 1962 the first North Vietnamese pilots had finished their MiG-17 “Fresco” courses in the Soviet Union and Red China, and returned to their units; to mark the occasion, the Soviets sent as a "gift" 36 MiG-17 “Fresco” fighters and MiG-15UTI “Midget” trainers to Hanoi in February 1964. These airmen would create North Vietnam's first jet fighter regiment, the 921st. By 1965, another group of MiG pilots had returned from training in Krasnodar, in the USSR, as well as from the PRC. This group would form North Vietnam's second fighter unit, the 923rd Fighter Regiment. While the newly created 923rd FR operated strictly MiG-17 “Frescos”, and initially these were the only types available to oppose modern American supersonic jets, more modern supersonic Soviet fighters would be later introduced as the 921st FR would operate both MiG-17 “Frescos” and MiG-21 “Fishbeds” (in 1969 the 925th FR MiG-19 “Farmer” unit would be formed).

Although U.S. fighter-bombers had been engaged in combat since 1961, and some of the most experienced Americans such as James Robinson Risner were Korean War aces, the North Vietnamese Air Force MiGs and their untried pilots lacked combat experience. The baptism of fire of the MiG-17 “Fresco” in this conflict occurred on 3 April 1965. That day two groups of MiGs took off from Noi Bai air base. The first group comprised two jets and acted like a bait; the second was made-up of four MiG-17 “Frescos” and was the strike group. Their target were U.S. Navy aircraft supporting an USAF 80-aircraft strike package trying the knock out Ham Rung bridge near Thanh Hoa. The MiG-17 “Fresco” leader, Lt. Pham Ngoc Lan, spotted a group of Vought F-8 “Crusaders” of the VF-211, “USS Hancock”, and shot-up the Vought F-8E “Crusader” flown by Lt. Cdr. Spence Thomas, which would perform an emergency landing ashore at Da Nang. His wingman Phan Van Tuc claimed a second Vought F-8 “Crusader”, but this is not corroborated by USN loss listings.

On 4 April 1965, the USAF conducted a "re-strike" on the Hàm Rông/Thanh Hoa bridge with 48 Republic F-105 “Thunderchiefs” of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) loaded with 384 × 750 lb (340 kg) bombs. The “Thunderchiefs” were escorted by a MiG CAP flight of North American F-100 “Super Sabres” from the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS). Coming from above, four MiG-17 “Frescos” from the 921st Fighter Regiment (FR) tore through the escorts and dove onto the “Thunderchiefs”, shooting two of them down; the leader Tran Hanh downed Republic F-105D “Thunderchief” (AF 59-1754) of Major F. E. Benett, and his element leader Le Minh Huan downed Republic F-105D “Thunderchief” (AF 59-1764) of Captain J. A. Magnusson. The North American F-100 “Super Sabres” engaged with one firing a AIM-9 “Sidewinder” air-to-air missile which apparently missed, or malfunctioned, and another North American F-100D “Super Sabre” flown by Captain Donald Kilgus fired 20 mm cannons, which also apparently missed, but shot down and killed Tran Hanh's wingman Pham Giay. No other U.S. airmen reported any confirmed aerial kills during the air battle. However, Tran Hanh stated that three of his accompanying MiG-17 “Frescos” had been shot down by the opposing USAF fighters.

During the 4 April 1965 engagement, four MiG-17 “Frescos” from the 921st FR had tangled with over 50 U.S. jet fighter-bombers, consisting of Republic F-105 “Thunderchiefs” and North American F-100 “Super Sabres”. Three North American F-100 “Super Sabres” from the MiGCAP, piloted by LTC Emmett L. Hays, CPT Keith B. Connolly, and CPT Donald W. Kilgus, all from the 416th TFS, engaged the MiG-17 “Frescos”. One North American F-100 “Super Sabre” fired an air-to-air missile and Connolly and Kilgus engaged with 20 mm cannon, with only Kilgus claiming a probable kill. The four attacking MiGs from the 921st FR were flown by Flight Leader Tran Hanh, Wingman Pham Giay, Le Minh Huan and Tran Nguyen Nam. Flight Leader Tran Hanh was the only survivor from the air battle and reportedly stated that his three MiG-17 “Frescos” were "... shot down by the Republic F-105 “Thunderchiefs”." Based upon the report, the USAF North American F-100 “Super Sabres” very well could have been mistaken for Republic F-105 “Thunderchiefs”, and the reported loss of three MiG-17 “Frescos” to those mistaken jet fighters would indicate that the USAF North American F-100 “Super Sabres” had obtained the first U.S. aerial combat victories during the Vietnam War.

The MiG-17 “Fresco” was the primary interceptor of the fledgling Vietnam People's Air Force in 1965, scoring its first aerial victories and seeing extensive combat during the Vietnam War, the aircraft frequently worked in conjunction with MiG-21 “Fishbeds” and MiG-19 “Farmers”. Many historians believe that some North Vietnamese pilots, in fact, preferred the MiG-17 “Fresco” over the MiG-21 “Fishbed” because it was more agile, though not as fast; however, of the 16 NVAF Aces of the war, 13 of them attained that status while flying the MiG-21 “Fishbed”. Only three North Vietnamese Airmen gained Ace status while flying the MiG-17 “Fresco”. Those were: Nguyen Van Bay (7 victories), Luu Huy Chao and Le Hai (both with six).

The MiG-17 “Fresco” was not originally designed to function as a fighter-bomber, but in 1971 Hanoi directed that United States Navy warships were to be attacked by elements of the North Vietnamese Air Force. This would require the MiG-17 “Fresco” to be fitted with bomb mountings and release mechanisms. Chief Engineer of the NVAF ground crews, Truong Khanh Chau, was tasked with the mission of modifying two MiG-17 “Frescos” for the ground attack role; after three months of work, the two jets were ready. On 19 April 1972, two pilots from the 923rd FR took their bomb laden MiG-17 “Frescos” and attacked the U.S. Navy destroyer “USS Higbee” (DD-806) and light cruiser “USS Oklahoma City” (CLG-5). Each MiG was armed with two 250 kg (550 lb) bombs. Pilot Le Xuan Di managed to hit the destroyer's aft 5" gun mount, destroying it, but inflicting no fatalities, as the crewmen had vacated the turret earlier due to a malfunction with the gun system. The other attacker from the two-plane sortie was flown by Nguyen Van Bay, an airman who would later end the war with seven confirmed air victories, all accomplished with his MiG-17 “Fresco”. On this day however, his fighter either managed to slightly damage the “USS Oklahoma City”, or miss it entirely, depending upon the source. Each pilot had completed their drop of two bombs each and returned to base. After the war, Truong Khanh Chau became the director of the Vietnam Institute for Science and Technology in 1977.

From 1965 to 1972, MiG-17 “Frescos” from the NVAF 921st and 923rd FRs would claim 71 aerial victories against U.S. aircraft: 11 Vought F-8 “Crusaders”, 16 Republic F-105 “Thunderchiefs”, 32 McDonnell Douglas F-4 “Phantom IIs”, two Douglas A-4 “Skyhawks”, seven Douglas A-1 “Skyraiders”, one Douglas C-47 cargo/transport aircraft, one Sikorsky CH-3C helicopter and one Ryan “Firebee” UAV.

The American fighter community was shocked in 1965 when elderly, subsonic MiG-17 “Frescos” downed sophisticated Mach-2-class Republic F-105 “Thunderchief” fighter-bombers over North Vietnam. To redress disappointing combat performance against smaller, more agile fighters like the MiGs, the Americans established dissimilar air combat training (DACT) in training programs such as "TOPGUN", which employed subsonic Douglas A-4 “Skyhawk” aircraft to mimic more maneuverable opponents such as the MiG-17 “Fresco”. The U.S. Navy also set adversary squadrons equipped with the nimble Douglas A-4 “Skyhawk” at each of its fighter and attack Master jet bases to provide DACT.

Other MiG-17 “Fresco” Users ²

Twenty countries flew MiG-17 “Frescos”. The MiG-17 “Fresco” became a standard fighter in all Warsaw Pact countries in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They were also bought by many other countries, mainly in Africa and Asia, that were neutrally aligned or allied with the USSR. The MiG-17 “Fresco” still flies today in the air forces of Burkina Faso, China (JJ-5 Trainer), Mali, Mozambique, North Korea, Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Middle East

MiG-17 “Frescos” were sold and/or imported to many Middle Eastern countries and saw action in nearly all of the Arab-Israeli conflicts starting when 12 of them served with the Egyptian Air Force during the Suez Crisis of 1956, plus hundreds more served, and were mostly destroyed, in the Egyptian and Syrian Air Forces during the Six-Day War of 1967 as well as the War of Attrition, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the 1982 Israeli Invasion of Lebanon.


At least 24 of them served with the Nigerian Air Force and were flown by a mixed group of local Nigerian and mercenary pilots from East Germany, Soviet Union, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Australia during the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War.


Four were hurriedly supplied by the USSR to Sri Lanka during the 1971 insurgency and were used for bombing and ground attack in the brief insurgency. Four North Korean MiG-17 “Fresco” aircraft were involved in the Lockheed EC-121 “Warning Star” shootdown incident in 1969.

Soviet Union

Similarly in 1958, a U.S. Air Force Lockheed C-130 “Hercules” was shot down by four MiG-17 “Fresco” fighters when it flew into Soviet airspace near Yerevan, Armenia while on a “Sun Valley SIGINT” mission, with all 17 crew killed.

United States

A number of U.S. federal agencies undertook a program at Groom Lake to evaluate the MiG-17 “Fresco” to help fight the Vietnam War, as North Vietnamese MiG-17 “Frescos” and MiG-21 “Fishbeds” had a kill rate against them of 9:1. The program was code-named “HAVE DRILL”, involving trials of two ex-Syrian MiG-17F “Frescos-C” fighters over the skies of Groom Lake. These aircraft were given USAF designations and fake serial numbers so that they may be identified in DOD standard flight logs.

In addition to tracking the dog fights staged between the various MiG models against virtually every fighter in U.S. service, and against SAC's Boeing B-52 “Stratofortress” and Convair B-58 “Hustlers” to test the ability of the bombers' countermeasures systems. They also performed radar cross-section and propulsion tests that contributed greatly to improvements in U.S. aerial performance in Vietnam.

According to the FAA there are 27 privately owned MIG-17 Frescos in the United States.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 Variants (USSR) ²

  • I-330: Prototype.
  • MiG-17 Fresco A: Basic fighter version powered by VK-1 engine ("aircraft SI").
  • MiG-17A: Fighter version powered by VK-1A engine with longer lifespan.
  • MiG-17AS: Multirole conversion, fitted to carry unguided rockets and the K-13 air to air missile.
  • MiG-17P Fresco B: All-weather fighter version equipped with Izumrud radar ("aircraft SP").
  • MiG-17F Fresco C: Basic fighter version powered by VK-1F engine with afterburner ("aircraft SF").
  • MiG-17PF Fresco D: All-weather fighter version equipped with Izumrud radar and VK-1F engine ("aircraft SP-7F").
  • MiG-17PM/PFU Fresco E: Fighter version equipped with radar and K-5 (NATO: AA-1 “Alkali”) air-to-air missiles ("aircraft SP-9").
  • MiG-17R: Reconnaissance aircraft with VK-1F engine and camera ("aircraft SR-2s")
  • MiG-17SN: Experimental variant with twin side intakes, no central intake, and nose redesigned to allow 23 mm cannons to pivot to engage ground targets. Not produced.
  • Shenyang J-5: Some withdrawn aircraft were converted to remotely controlled targets.

PZL-Mielec LIM-5 and -6 Variants (Poland) ³

  • Lim-5: Day-fighter (licensed MiG-17F) (serial numbers: 1C 00-01 to 1C 19-14).
  • Lim-5R: Reconnaissance version of Lim-5.
  • Lim-5P: All-weather interceptor (licensed MiG-17PF)
  • Lim-5M: Attack aircraft
  • Lim-6: Experimental attack aircraft
  • Lim-6bis: Basic attack aircraft
  • Lim-6R (Lim-6bisR): Reconnaissance variant of Lim-6bis.
  • Lim-6M: Attack aircraft, conversion of Lim-5P.
  • Lim-6MR: Reconnaissance aircraft, conversion of Lim-5P.

Shenyang J-5 Variants (China) 4

  • Type 56: Pre-service designation for the J-5.
  • Dongfeng-101: Original service name for the J-5.
  • Shenyang J-5: Chinese production aircraft re-designated in 1964. 767 built, all single seat variants.
  • Shenyang J-5A: licence production of the Radar-equipped MiG-17PF. The total production figure for this variant was over 300. J-5A's were still in service with PLAAF when J-6A & J-6B were phased out.
  • Chengdu JJ-5: A twin-seat trainer version of the J-5 designed and developed by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation. Combined the J-5 airframe, J-5A air brakes and the tandem twin-seat cockpit section of the JJ-2 (MiG-15UTI). Export versions designated FT-5.
  • Shenyang J-5 torpedo bomber: A single aircraft modified to carry a single torpedo under the fuselage centerline. Central cannon was removed, as was some fuel storage capacity. Trials showed performance degradation was too great and further work was abandoned.

MiG-17 Operators ²

  • Afghanistan: Afghan Air Force. Around 100 MiG-17F acquired by the Afghan Air Force from 1957.
  • Albania: Albanian Air Force - 20 aircraft, including eight Chinese-made JJ-5 trainers, were acquired. All fixed wing Albanian aircraft, including MiG-17 and JJ-5, were retired from active service as part of the Albanian preparations to join NATO.
  • Algeria: Algerian Air Force
  • Angola: People's Air and Air Defence Force of Angola.
  • Bangladesh: Bangladeshi Air Force
  • Bulgaria: Bulgarian Air Force
  • Burkina Faso:
  • Cambodia: Royal Cambodian Air Force - 16 aircraft, including five MiG-17s and 11 Shenyang J-5 were received from the Soviet Union and China in 1967-1968, later all were destroyed on the ground in 1971.
  • China: Shenyang J-5 People's Liberation Army Air Force; People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force. J-5 trainers still in limited service. Single seat fighters have been retired and sold to other countries.
  • Republic of the Congo: Congolese Air Force
  • Cuba: Cuban Air Force
  • Czechoslovakia: Czechoslovakian Air Force - two MiG-17F for evaluation purposes (EP-01 and EP-02), 34 MiG-17PF all-weather interceptors. All retired before 1970.
  • East Germany: East German Air Force
  • Egypt: Egyptian Air Force
  • Ethiopia: Ethiopian Air Force. All retired.
  • Guinea: Military of Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau: Military of Guinea-Bissau
  • Indonesia: Indonesian Air Force - Using MiG-17F and MiG-17PF. All of the aircraft acquired in 1961. Used during the preparation of Operation “TRIKORA” in 1962 to take Western New Guinea, now Papua and Papua Barat, from the Netherlands. Some of the aircraft were used intensively in Air Forces / TNI-AU Acrobatic Team in 1962 for air show events around Indonesia. All aircraft were grounded in 1969. None have been in service since 1970.
  • Iraq: Iraqi Air Force
  • Hungary: Hungarian Air Force
  • Libya: Libyan Air Force
  • Madagascar:
  • Mali: Air Force of Mali MiG-17F in service.
  • Mongolia: Mongolian Air Force - Between in 1970-1977 received than 17 aircraft.
  • Morocco: Royal Moroccan Air Force
  • Mozambique: Military of Mozambique MiG-17 in service.
  • Nigeria: Nigerian Air Force
  • North Korea: North Korean Air Force - J-5 still in service.
  • Pakistan: Pakistan Air Force - JJ-5 was replaced by the K-8P with the last aircraft retired 5 January 2012.
  • Poland: Polish Air Force; Polish Navy
  • Romania: Romanian Air Force - 12 MiG-17PF and 12 MiG-17F entered service in 1955 and 1956, respectively.
  • Somalia: Somali Air Corps
  • Soviet Union: Soviet Air Force; Soviet Naval Aviation; Soviet Anti-Air Defence
  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lankan Air Force - All retired from service.
  • Syria: Syrian Air Force
  • Tanzania: Tanzanian Air Force - J-5 in service.
  • Uganda: Ugandan Air Force
  • Vietnam: Vietnam People's Air Force
  • Yemen: Yemen Air Force
  • Zimbabwe: Air Force of Zimbabwe JJ-5 Trainer in service.

Specifications (Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17F “Fresco-C”) ²

General Characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Length: 11.26 m (36 ft 11½ in)
  • Wingspan: 9.63 m (31 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 3.80 m (12 ft 5½ in)
  • Wing area: 22.6 m² (243.3 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 3,919 kg[32] (8,640 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 5,350 kg (11,770 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 6,069 kg (13,375 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Klimov VK-1F afterburning turbojet
  • Dry thrust: 22.5 kN (5,046 lbf)
  • Thrust with afterburner: 33.8 kN (7,423 lbf)


  • Maximum speed: 1,145 km/h (618 knots, 711 mph) at 3,000 m (10,000 ft)
  • Range: 2,060 km (1,111 nm, 1,280 mi) with drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 16,600 m (54,450 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 65 m/s (12,800 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 237 kg/m² (48 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.63


  • 1 × 37 mm Nudelman N-37 cannon (40 rounds total)
  • 2 × 23 mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannons (80 rounds per gun, 160 rounds total)
  • Up to 500 kg (1,100 lb) of external stores on two pylons, including 100 kg (220 lb) and 250 kg (550 lb) bombs, unguided rockets or external fuel tanks.
  • Some versions equipped with 3 × NR-23 cannons and 2 × AA-2 Atoll missiles)

Specifications (PZL-Mielec LIM-6bis “Fresco-C”) ³

General Characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • Length: 11.36 m (37 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.628 m (31 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 3.80 m (12 ft 5 in)
  • Empty weight: 4271 kg (9,396 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 5651 kg (12,432 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 6652 kg (14,634 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lis-5 (licence Klimov VK-1F) turbojet, 33.1 kN (7,452 lbf)


  • Maximum speed: 1150 km/h (621 knots, 710 mph)
  • Range: 1080 km (583 nm, 666 mi) without additional tanks
  • Service ceiling: 16,470 m (54,000 ft) with afterburner


  • 1 × 37 mm N-37D cannon (40 rounds)
  • 2 × 23 mm NR-23 cannon (80 rounds each)
  • 780 kg ( lb) of bombs, rocket launchers or napalm tanks on 4 pylons

Specifications (Shenyang J-5) 4

General characteristics

  • Crew: (JJ/5 - 2) 1
  • Length: (JJ-5 - 11.5 m/37 ft 9 in)(J-5A - 11.36 m/37 ft 4 in) 11.09 m (36 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.628 m (31 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 3.8 m (12 ft 5½ in)
  • Wing area: 22.6 m² (790 ft²)
  • Empty weight: (JJ-5 - 4,080 kg / 8,994 lb) (J-5A - 4,151 kg / 9,151 lb) n.a. kg (n.a. lb)
  • Gross weight: (JJ-5 - 6,215 kg / 13,700 lb) 6,000 kg (13,230 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wopen WP-5, (JJ-5(WP-5D) - 22.27 kN/5,000 lbf) 25.5 kN (5,730 lbf) thrust


  • Maximum speed: @ 5,000 m (JJ-5: 1,048 kmh; 651 mph)(J-5A: 1,145 kmh; 711 mph) 1,130 kmh (702 mph)
  • Range: with drop tanks @ 10,000 m (JJ-5: 1,230 km; 764 mi) (J-5A: 1,730 km; 1,075 mi) 1,424 km (1,037 miles)
  • Service ceiling: (JJ-5: 14,300 m; 46,900 ft) (J-5A: 16,300 m/53,500 ft) 16,500 m (54,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: @ 5,000 m (JJ-5: 27 m/s; 5,315 ft/min) (J-5A: 55 m/s; 10,830 ft/min) 65 m/s (12,795 ft/min)


  • 1 × Type 37 37 mm aircraft cannon.
  • 2 × Type 23-1 23 mm aircraft cannon.
  • (JJ-5 - 1 × Type 23-1 23 mm aircraft cannon)
  • (J-5A - 3 × Type 23-1 23 mm aircraft cannon)


  1. Photos: John A Shupek, copyright © 2000 & 2005 Skytamer Images
  2. Wikipedia, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17
  3. Wikipedia, PZL-Mielec Lim-6
  4. Wikipedia, Shenyang J-5

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