February 29, 2024
Indian Visitors to a warbird show down under in Australia way back in 1995 would have gaped with thier mouths open at the MiG-21UM in a striking red colored scheme. The MiG-21 proudly wears the Indian Air Force colors and bears the Blood red 'Red Scorchers' Aerobatic team scheme. Bearing the serial U-2146, the aircraft's true registration is the apt VH-XXI on the Australian Civil Register.

In the bright red colors of the 'Red Scorchers' - MiG-21U adorns the identity of U-2146 

U-2146 rotates during take off. Note the periscope of the rear cockpit in the open position

The Question arises, How did a MiG-21U end up on the Australian Civil register? especially when the IAF itself was short of the two seater variants in the mid 90s and was buying them from other East European countries? The   answer sent by Mr. Czarek Piotrowski is that this aircraft is NOT an IAF aircraft. It was operated by the Polish Air Force before its current owner Mr. Dick McIntosh of WInrye Aviation, in New South Wales purchased it and painted it in representative IAF colors as a novelty.

Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21 UM – Regn VH-XXI

Displayed Markings: U-2146 of Indian Air Force
Original Markings: 5011 of Polish Air Force
Construction Number : 516905011
Construction Date:  August 1973
Delivery Date (Polish AF) : 21.11.1973
Service Record:
21.11.73 to 11.03.80 – 34. Fighter Regiment in Gdynia-Babie Doly AB,
11.03.80 to 11.06.80 – 26. Fighter Reg. in Zegrze Pomorskie AB
11.06.80 to 27.03.81 – Aviation Repair Plant No.3 in Deblin
27.03.81 to 22.08.91 – 10. Fighter Reg. in Lask AB
22.08.91 withdrawn from use
22.08.91 to 15.07.92 – Storage in Mierzecice AB
15.07.92 sold to Australia.
21.12.92 registered as VH-XXI in Australia

It can be said that U-2146 is not the real identity of the aircraft. It was probably an adopted scheme.
VH-XXI’s afterburner is very much evident in this picture of its take off.

We ran into the pictures of this aircraft on the website Airliners.net . The photographer, Mr. George Canciani granted our request and also contributed additional photographs of the same aircraft. The current status of this aircraft or the scheme is not known.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to George Canciani for his excellent photographs. Czarek Piotrowski for the Service Record of VH-XXI.

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