African MiGs : Tanzania

Mwanza AB, Tanzania, early 1980s; Contrary to what is usually reported, Tanzania never purchased any J-7Is from China. Instead, the Jeshi La Wananchi La Tanzania (Tanzanian People's Defence Force Air Wing, TPDF/AW) was given 14 MiG-21MFs and two MiG-21Us by the USSR in 1974. Many of these were lost in different accidents due to the poor training, and two were said to have been lost when their pilots defected. Nevertheless, the few surviving examples took part in the war against Uganda, in 1978-1979, when they saw much action, even if one was shot down in a case of fratricide fire (it was lost to SA-7s fired by Tanzanian troops). The Tanzanian Army captured seven MiG-21MFs and one MiG-21U trainer from the Ugandan Air Force, as well as a considerable amount of spare parts. All of these were flown out to Mwanza AB, to enter service with the TPDF/AW. In 1998, Tanzania purchased four additional MiG-21MFs from the Ukraine, but these were reportedly in a very poor shape, and not used very often. Meanwhile, in 1980, an order for 10 F-7Bs and two TF-7s was issued to China, and in 1997 also two F-7Ns were purchased from Iran, together with four ex-Iraqi Air Force transports of an unknown type. Today, no Russian-supplied MiG-21s remain in service with the TPDF/AW, and only three or four F-7s remain operational.

The TPDF/AW MiG-21MFs are now confirmed to have carried serials - in black or green - underneath the cockpit, but no details about these are known.

Tanzania, place and time unknown; exactly how many MiG-15UTI (or, according to other sources, FT-2s) Tanzania acquired, or when, remains unknown. Supposedly, by the early 1990s two remained intact, even if it is unknown if even these were operational. The markings and serials shown here were applied according to instructions from a decal sheets of the Ukrainian company Kanga, and the Canadian Hobbycraft. The exact details about their placement remain unconfirmed.

Daresalam IAP, 2004: seen at Daresalam IAP in 2004, preparing for celebrations of Tanzanian People's Defence Forces' 40th Aniversary, this F-6A is one of two that arrived from Mwanza together with three F-5s. It wears a disruptive camouflage pattern in sand, brown and green on upper sides, and light blue underneath. All the planes appeared in imacualte condition, considering they are in service since almost 30 years. No national markings or serials were apparent on either of F-6As.

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