The desertion of the MiG-21
16 August, 1966.
These days the MiG-21 F-13 type fighter was the main opponent of the Israeli fighters in the sky. So it was obvious that they must get a piece of it to study it deeply in order to prepare the Israeli pilots and their aircrafts against it. The Mosad, the Israeli secret agency got the job to find an ignored pilot who has good abilities to do the job. The Mosad choose the Iraqi captain Munir Rodfa who accepted the desertion of his plane if his family could go to Israel with him, as well.
Rodfa was determined but a little bit sad too when he got in the MiG-21 No.534. He knew that it is his last flight with the MiG. The 490 litres auxiliary fuel tank fitted under his plane's fuselage ensured the required fuel for the 900 kilometres flight Mediterranean seashore. The pilot started the engine and climbed to 30000 feet after the take off because it was the optimum fuel consumption height for his aircraft. He left the Iraqi airspace without any trouble but over Jordan a pair of Hawker Hunter fighter of the Royal Jordanian Air Force intercepted the MiG which was not arranged. The fighters tried to make a contact with the Iraqi pilot by radio but getting no answer and seeing the insignia of the friendly country they let Rodfa fly away on his way. They might even though that the pilot has a secret mission against Israel. The Iraqi pilot arranged the exact time and date of his arrival with the Israelies in advance so the Israeli Mirage III fighters have already waited for him over the Israeli border. It was important because at that time Syrian MiG-21 fighters several times broke into Israel and attacked Israeli targets and Israeli fighters even shot down one of them. The two Mirages fly in front of and behind the MiG to show the Iraqi pilot the way and the correct landing direction. After the short press conference being held after landing Munir Rodfa disappeared from the public forever. The testing of the MiG-21 started immediately by the lead of Dani Shapira test pilot. After an intensive ground training helped by the Iraqi pilot the Israeli pilot could eventually experience the feeling of flying a MiG-21 in real. During the training air combat the MiG got the 007 register code, Israeli insignia and red streaks to differ him from the real enemy.
Seeing the successful escape of Rodfa another 3 Iraqi pilot escaped to Jordan with their MiG-21s. Pilots got the political asylum but aircraft were handed back to Iraq.
Collected and put together by Tamas Gal; Transferred into HTML language by
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