Wikipedia's article on the MiG-15 only states a basic number of 12,000 produced natively, with up to 6,000 more produced in other countries. But it does not list any years for this.

When did mass-production start and end for the MiG-15 in the Soviet Union? This would at least let us divide 12,000 by the total years to get an average production rate. Ideally I'm looking for the number built each year, as this will surely vary year to year.

  • You have your numbers now :) – Deer Hunter Oct 25 '15 at 11:51
up vote 11 down vote accepted

There is hardly anything that can't be found with the help of a few friends and the Library of Congress. "Истребитель МИГ-15 (MiG-15 Fighter)" ISBN 9785857290194 Pp.52-57.

Plant No.1 (Kuibyshev):

             MiG-15    MiG-15bis    MiG-15Pbis     UTI MiG-15bis
1949 Plan    550       
     Actual  510
1950 Plan    300       350                          50
     Actual  301       401                          50
1951 Plan              792         5               365 
     Actual            820         5               371
1952 Plan              425                         315
     Actual            460                         333
1953 Plan              
     Actual    2                                   127

Non-flyable [what the heck is that??] MiG-15: 2 in 1949, 4 in 1950. 10 knock-down UTI MiG-15 kits were produced in 1951.

Plant No. 153 - Novosibirsk

             MiG-15    MiG-15bis    MiG-15Pbis     UTI MiG-15bis
1949 Plan    550       
     Actual  144
1950 Plan    300        500                         
     Actual  308        360                         
1951 Plan              1173                         
     Actual    1       1196                        
1952 Plan               840                         
     Actual             863                         
1953 Plan                                          200
     Actual               1                        209
1954 Plan                                          700
     Actual                                        715

Plant No.381 (Leningrad): 1949 - 75 MiG-15

Plant No.21 (Gor'ky):

             MiG-15bis (type 53)    MiG-15Rbis (type 55)
1950 Plan    350                                             
     Actual  367                                
1951 Plan    937                     60                         
     Actual  992                     64                        
1952 Plan    395                    300                         
     Actual  425                    300                         

Plant No.31 - Tbilisi

             MiG-15bis (art. 50)
1951 Plan     30                         
     Actual   35                        
1952 Plan    190                         
     Actual  190                         

Plant No.126 - Komsomo'ls'k-NA-Amure

             MiG-15                 MiG-15bis
1950 Plan                           250                         
     Actual    1                     42            
1951 Plan                           337                         
     Actual                         362                    
1952 Plan                           400                         
     Actual                         428                         

Plant No.292 - Saratov

             MiG-15    MiG-15bis    MiG-15Sbis
1950 Plan              275                                   
     Actual    8?      131                         
1951 Plan              457          100                           
     Actual            509           49                        
1952 Plan              350                                  
     Actual            354                                   

Plant No.135 - Kharkiv

                UTI MiG-15
1950 Plan              25                                   
     Actual             6                         
1951 Plan              50                                    
     Actual            50                                 
1952 Plan             150                                  
     Actual            85
1953 Plan             150
     Actual           158
1954 Plan             200
     Actual           212

Plant No.99 (Ulan-Ude)

                UTI MiG-15
1951 Plan              75                                    
     Actual            29                                 
1952 Plan             125                                  
     Actual            53
1953 Plan             150
     Actual           127
1954 Plan             200
     Actual           206
1955 Plan             225
     Actual           245
1956 Plan              
     Actual           173
1957 Plan              
     Actual           113
1958 Plan              
     Actual           106
1959 Plan              
     Actual            65

Totals for the USSR (may contain errors, haven't double-checked):

|      | Combat MiG-15 and variants |  UTI MiG-15   |
| Year | Plan          | Actual     | Plan | Actual |
| 1949 | 1175          |  729       |    0 |    0   |
| 1950 | 2325          | 1911       |   75 |   56   |
| 1951 | 3891          | 4033       |  490 |  450   |
| 1952 | 2900          | 3020       |  590 |  471   |
| 1953 |    0          |    3       |  500 |  621   |
| 1954 |               |            | 1100 | 1133   |
| 1955 |               |            |  225 |  245   |
| 1956 |               |            |    0 |  173   |   
| 1957 |               |            |    0 |  113   |
| 1958 |               |            |    0 |  106   |
| 1959 |               |            |    0 |   65   |
  • 4
    Non-flyable versions may be just the full scale models for final wind tunnel testing. +1 and it better incur more +1's because it's not every day an answer comes along with itemized data in a table. – DrZ214 Oct 26 '15 at 2:51
  • 1
    Yup, very nice answer!! Including the name of the tome in addition to its ISBN would be the coup de grâce! – FreeMan Oct 26 '15 at 16:29
  • @FreeMan it's a Russian book whose translation is Fighter MiG-15. Sadly I could not find it in Google Books or something else that lets you read it online. – DrZ214 Oct 26 '15 at 19:56
  • Excellent, @schwern! (Not that I can read Russian...) – FreeMan Oct 26 '15 at 20:04
  • Could a non-flyable unit also be for flight- or maintenance-crew familiarization purposes? – Russell Borogove Oct 26 '15 at 22:41

My reference is the Osprey Encycopledia of Russian Aircraft, but even here no yearly figures are listed. But it gives a little more details.

The MiG OKB started work on type S (for strelovidnost = swept) in March of 1946 and based it on German work which had determined that a backward-swept midwing configuration with central intake was the best compromise. The first prototype S-01 flew first on Dec. 30, 1947, followed by S-02 on May 27, 1948. The third prototype S-03 had numerous changes applied (many of them diligently listed in the book) and flew first on June 17, 1948. In August 1948 it was selected for mass production as the MiG-15. Initial production started at GAZ-1 with the first aircraft delivered to service units on October 8, 1948. The Politburo decided on March 20, 1949, to increase production, so the plants that were building the La-15, Li-2, Yak-17 and -23 were all switched over to the MiG-15. Until 1956 12,000 units were built in 17 versions, more than half of them (6,500) as two-seater trainers (MiG-15UTI), built from the second half of 1950 on.

The Czech license-built S-102 are given with 853 units, built between 1953 and 1955 and the Polish LIM-1 with 54 units.

The MiG-15bis is listed separately and started production from early 1952 on. In Czechoslovakia 620 were license-built as the S-103 and in Poland as LIM-2 (no numbers given).

The book is clearly more for engineers than for production people. Would you know that the MiG-15 ejection seat needed different cartridges in winter than in summer, or that the MiG-15 Burlak was equipped with a harpoon to catch a cable towed behind the wing of a bomber, so it could fly in tow to be available as fighter cover over the target area? Since the engine was shut down for cruise, the pilot froze abjectly.

The MiG-17 started deliveries from October 1952 on, so it is fair to assume that the bulk of MiG-15 were built between the second half of 1949 and 1952. If you split those three years evenly, the yearly production figure would be 4,000. Now subtract a few hundred for the initial production and some more for the later production years (mostly MiG-15UTI), and I would expect that the highest yearly production was maybe 3,000, with many of the 6,500 MiG-15UTI built between 1953 and 1956.

With the production numbers listed in the book I have a hard time to reach anything close to those 18,000 given in Wikipedia. Many of the MiG-15s flown in East Bloc countries were produced in Russia and exported. The number of exported MiG-15UTI is given as over 1,960 alone.

  • IIRC, Poland was given license to produce the MiG-15 and built approximately 6,000 of them. +1 for your reference and stats and the interesting factoids, although the bomber-towed MiG was just an experiment to see if carrier aircraft could "extend the range", so to speak, of small maneuverable fighters. 12,000 in 3 years is a good enough estimate for my purposes. – DrZ214 Oct 18 '15 at 3:04
  • @DrZ214: The 12,000 include the UTI version which was in production until 1956. I would expect that in the main years maybe 10,000 were produced. No word in the book about the 6000 Polish MiGs, though - all Polish variants are listed without numbers. You are right about the Burlak, and there were many more experiments like sviveling guns (which produced an unacceptable pitch-down when fired into the circle in trials). – Peter Kämpf Oct 18 '15 at 6:00
  • Never heard of the swiveling gun before. Was that in a spherical nose mount so at least it could be aerodynamic? If so, how would it reload ammo? – DrZ214 Oct 18 '15 at 6:43

This article from 1952 states an annual production of 5,500 to 6,200 aircraft. Even if this represented the peak production, that seems a bit high compared to the total production number of over 18,000. Some details of how these sorts of estimates were made is available in this document.

  • 4
    I would be very cautious with putting any particular weight on this number - as was later discovered during the "bomber gap" debates, Western analysis of Soviet aircraft production in the period, and especially publicly reported figures, was wildly inaccurate. – Andrew Oct 17 '15 at 12:20
  • 1
    Peak production was 4483 aircraft in 1951 (and 10 knock-down kits). – Deer Hunter Oct 25 '15 at 17:11

The PZL Mieliec states it build
237 pieces of Lim-1 [inc. 1A & SB] (from '52 to '54) and
510 pieces of Lim-2 [inc. 2A & SB] (from '54 to '56)

Other sources state that less then 220 Lim-1 and less then 500 of the Lim-2 has been build

The Aero Vodochody build 850 pieces of S-102 620 pieces of S-103 and over 4200 pieces of the CS-102

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