This hardly means the end of the Fishbed, however. Many of the J-7 and F-7 models remain of fairly recent vintage, and can stay in service for quite some time. Bangladesh acquired the last dozen F-7s in 2013, and won’t need a replacement anytime soon. And plenty of air forces simply have no requirement for anything much more sophisticated or expensive than a Fishbed. There may never be a hundred-year fighter (although the B-52 may quite possibly reach that number before final retirement). The MiG-21 will easily reach sixty, however, and probably seventy without breaking a sweat. It remains one of the iconic fighters of the supersonic age.
Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to the National Interest , is author of The Battleship Book . He serves as a senior lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money , Information Dissemination and the Diplomat.
This appeared last year and is being reposted due to reader interest.
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