Decommissioned Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed in Bulgaria

Decommissioned Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed in Bulgaria (All images by Nicola Miller; a retired Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed)

This decommissioned Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed would make a fantastic garden ornament, but instead it’s standing out in the long grass of an anonymous field.

An old MiG-21 Fishbed in Bulgaria

Photographed by Nicola Miller, the faded Cold War jet stands near a collection of old vehicles beneath power lines that wind their way across the Bulgarian countryside.

Retired Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed near Sofia

Still wearing its original code, 43, the defunct Fishbed is thought to be located on the outskirts of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital and largest city.

Abandoned ordnance in Bulgaria

Nearby lies a pile of abandoned orange-painted munitions, an ominous reminder of the old Soviet warplane’s original purpose.

Famous for being the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in the history of aviation, the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 first flew in 1956 and entered service in 1959. When manufacturing ended in 1985, 11,496 Fishbeds had rolled off military production lines across the former USSR, India and Czechoslovakia.

Around 60 countries across four continents have flown the iconic Soviet-era fighter aircraft. While many MiG-21s have now been withdrawn, their rusting hulks lying in neglected corners of remote airfields, others remain in service to this day.

(All images by Nicola Miller)

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