MiG-21 Weapons Management

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This page is about weapons management for the MiG-21bis.


The gunsight displays a static non-moveable fixed net and a moveable pipper onto the head-up-display. It must be turned on by flipping the Gunsight switch on the main switch panel on the right cockpit wall (bottom row, second switch from left).

The gunsight has customizable colours via the FlightGear dropdown menu MiG-21 -> Gunsight.

The Fixed Net

The fixed net is turned on using a switch on the bottom of the gunsight, and it's brightness can be adjusted using the knob on the bottom left of the gunsight.

The Pipper

The moving pipper uses an accelerometer, a gyro, and other inputs to attempt to accurately display where unguided armament is going. Most of the switches on the gunsight affect it in some way. The pipper is also affected by the throttle drum, which in-sim is moved with the i and k keys.

The pipper is turned on with a switch on the lower right side of the gunsight, and the brightness is changed by the knob directly above it.

The pipper's gyro can be disabled by turning the GYRO/MISS switch to MISS (left to gunsight, ca. middle). The pipper will be more stable, but less accurate. The pipper can be damped by pressing down the target lock key (n).

The pipper correction angle is set automatically via the position of the GUN/LAUNCH and SHOOT/BOMB switches. If SHOOT/BOMB is set to BOMB, the pipper attempts to help with bomb releases (this is not CCIP or CCRP, and is not accurate). If SHOOT/BOMB is set to SHOOT, and GUN/LAUNCH is set to GUN, the pipper angle will adjust to the correct angle for the GSh-23. If it is set to LAUNCH, it will adjust the angle depending on which armament position is selected on the weapons panel (S-5, S-24, or missiles).


The gunsight has three lights:

  • The top left light indicates you are within launching parameters.
  • The top right light indicates that you should break off the attack as soon as possible.
  • The green light in the centre indicates that the gunsight is receiving radar information (in other words, that the radar has a lock).


The upper left dial shows distance for missile usage. The large central dial shows, in top to bottom order:

  • pipper diameter in mils
  • distance when using guns
  • distance when using missiles
  • distance when using rockets

Which gauge to read depends on which switches have been selected, and the position of the AIR/GROUND switch (on the weapons panel).


Before switching the radar on, it must be in SBY to warm up for 2-3 min (middle position of left most switch on radar panel on right cockpit wall). The radar can overheat: ~20 min when on and ~2 hr in SBY.

The radar shows contacts in B-scan format:

  • T means contact is below you
  • + means contact is roughly co-altitude with you
  • ɺ (upside down T) means contact is above you

Locking a target:

  • Manoeuvre so the target is within the vertical bars on the radar display
  • Move the lock bars over the target (using the i and k keys)
  • Hit target lock n

Once a target is locked, the display changes to azimuth elevation: Range is indicated by the triangles on the two scales coming out of the centre to the left and right.

Identification Friend or Foe (IFF):

  • Click the button labelled IFF to toggle the interrogator (button situated on the radar panel above the radar).

At the moment the IFF implementation is not very realistic, as the radar will display the call-sign of all contacts.

Weapons Information

Payload and Pylons

The hard-points are labelled as follows:

  1. Left wing inboard pylon
  2. Right wing inboard pylon
  3. Left wing outboard pylon
  4. Right wing outboard pylon
  5. Fuselage pylon

There are also a left and right fuselage attachment point, which currently only can be used for chaff/flare (in future versions of the FlightGear plane JATO rockets might get used).

Name Type Guidance Range Speed Pylons Additional Info Wikipedia article
R-3S Missile Infrared Homing (IR) 8 km Mach 2.5 1,2,3,4 Russia-cloned AIM-9 link
R-3R Missile Semi-Active Radar Homing (SARH) 8 km Mach 2.5 1,2,3,4 Russia-cloned AIM-9 link
R-60 Missile IR 8 km Mach 2.7 1,2,3,4 Can also be ported as a set of 2 on outboard pylons. More powerful than R-3S link
R-27R1 Missile SARH 73 km Mach 4.5 1,2 Later variants only link
R-27T1 Missile Infrared 63 km Mach 4.5 1,2 Later variants only link
Kh-66 Missile Beam Rider 10 km 2700 km/h 1,2,3,4 Can be used on both air and ground targets link
Kh-25MP Missile Anti Radiation 42 km 1620 km/h 1,2 link
UB-16 Rocket Pod N/A 1,2,3,4 Fires S-5 rockets
UB-32 Rocket Pod N/A 1,2 Fires S-5 rockets link
S-5 Rocket Unguided 5 km 300 m/s Fired from UB-16/32 Against soft ground targets link
S-24 Rocket Unguided 1,2,3,4 Against hard ground targets link
FAB-100 A/G Unguided 1,2,3,4, Free fall bomb 100 kg
FAB-100x4 A/G Unguided 1,2 Set of 4 100 kg bombs
FAB-250 A/G Unguided 1,2,3,4 Free fall bomb
FAB-500 A/G Unguided 1,2 Free fall bomb
RN-28 A/G Unguided 5 Tactical nuclear bomb. Intentionally not implemented in FlightGear link
n/a Smokepod n/a 5
PTB-490 Droptank n/a 3,4,5 490 litres
PTB-500 Droptank n/a 5 800 litres

Weapons Loading

Load and re-load of weapons can be done on the ground. Most weapons are changed using the drop-down menu Equipment -> Fuel and Payload.

Flares/chaff can be added to the left and right fuselage attachment points (Conformal CM). They can be reloaded using drop-down menu MiG-21 -> Reload Flares/Chaff.

The gun is loaded on start-up of the simulation. Re-loading is currently only possible by re-starting FlightGear.

Weapons Armament and Deployment


The pipper has three major "modes" of operation: automatic, manual, and 300m mode.

300m mode

300m mode is entered by rotating the throttle drum with the k button all the way to the rear. In this mode, the target distance is assumed to always be 300m, and the angle will be automatically set for the gun. Rotate the span knob to set the desired target wingspan width in meters.

The pipper will show the point where the bullets will be when they are 300 m away from you. Manoeuvre such that the pipper is on the target. When the pipper's diamonds touch the wingtip and the wingspan was set correctly, then you are 300 m away and ready to fire by pulling the trigger f.

Auto mode

Automatic mode is entered into by not being in 300m mode, and by flipping the AUTO/MAN switch to MAN.

Span still must be set manually.

Distance is taken from either a radar lock, the slant-radar range (if the radar is locked in the forward position), or if neither is present, the distance is assumed to be 600m.

Manual Mode

In manual mode, the span and angle must be entered manually. When the target is within visual range, use the i and k keys to move the pipper diamonds so they surround the target. Range to the target will be estimated based on the wingspan and pipper diameter. Note that while in manual mode, the locking bars on the radar cannot be moved.


Guns can get jammed. If it happens, press one of the unjam buttons (labelled 1, 2, 3 near the weapon selector).

Unguided Free Fall Bombs

To set the correct angle of the pipper use the information included in the bombing_data.csv file (situated in the top level folder of the aircraft) to set the pipper depression angle using the top right wheel on the gunsight with the red gauge and label Angle.

Put the pipper on the target and monitor the bottom range band of the gun sight (scale from 0.4 to 2 km): drop bombs from 1.5 km or higher by holding the WEAPONS RELEASE button. You will have a visual cue when the LAUNCH ALLOWED light is lit up.

The weapon selector needs to be in B RKT at the appropriate pylons. When pressing armament release, a single bomb will be dropped from each of the selected pylons.


There is a ripple setting for launching rockets. However, please be aware that if the button / keyboard control is only pressed shortly, then only one rocket is released no matter the ripple setting. Therefore: hold down the button the whole time.

Rocket aiming is a lot like gun aiming using the pipper and the fixed net. Rockets basically act like bullets (due to limits in the current implementation).


The pylon selector must be in one of the three selection possibilities inB RKT. The numbers represent the amount of rockets to salvo fire from each wing.


The pylon selector must be set to the inboard or outboard stations in S-24 RKT. Rockets from both of the selected pylons will be salvo launched when pressing the weapons release.

Air-to-Ground Missiles


The KH-66 (aka. "Gorm") requires the radar in beam mode (set right most switch on the radar panel on the right cockpit wall to Fixed Beam). The beam mode locks the radar forward centre and downwards 1.5 degrees (indicated by a fixed pipper in that position).

The weapon selector to the appropriate IR-SAR position. The position determines the priority pylon, but once it's fired you can fire a next one without changing to a new pylon. The IR-SAR switch below the weapon selector must be set to SAR.

Radar lock is not necessarily required. It is hard to aim, but fun.


Is an anti-radiation missile, which can only be fired "mad dog" (firing without a lock) and therefore radar does not matter. It can be fired at anything on the ground (e.g. GCI, SAM) or in the air (e.g. AWACS) emitting radar - however due to a missing radar lock and fired "mad dog" they might hit friends instead of foes (attacks first thing it sees). Air targets are hard to hit due to low manoeuvrability and low g-load tolerance.

The weapon selector must be set to the appropriate S-24 RKT position. The position of the IR-SAR switch does not matter.

The missile tends to angle up from the nose direction, so it should be aimed a bit lower than normally expected (using the cross of the fixed net - not the pipper!).

Pay attention to the fact that after the launch the roll tendency of the plane will be high due to the asymmetrical load.

Air-to-Air Missiles

IR (FOX 2)

Set the weapon mode selectors to Air and IR. The pylon selector must be set to IR-SAR with the appropriate pylon.

Manoeuvre so that the target is roughly in the centre of the gun sight. When one of the 3 green lights directly to the right of the gunsight light up, then the seeker has a target. Press the weapons release button.


Set the weapon mode selectors to Air and SAR. The pylon selector must be set to IR-SAR with the appropriate pylon.

Radar on (description about radar below) and target locked. Press the weapons release button. Since it's a semi-active radar homing missile, the lock needs to be maintained until the missile hits by keeping the nose somewhat pointed towards the target.

Flares / Chaff

The current CM “pods” are Yugoslavian in origin, and there isn't much info online about them. The implementation assumes the front 9 holes were for chaff, and the rear 20 were for flares.

Radar Warning Receiver (RWR)

Flashing light and tone indicate one or several aircraft being picked up. The 4 lights represent the approximate directions. The faster the flashes, the closer. Steady is launch.

The RWR can be toggled between Day (yellow lights) and Night (red lights) by pressing on the gauge - but not in the middle, as that is the test button).

Each of the four light bulbs represents one of the four sensors, not the system as a whole. Depending on the relative position of the other aircraft, more than one light bulb might be on, as the aspect ranges of the sensors overlap each other. If there is more than one aircraft in range, then the blinking of the light bulbs might get infrequent/not constant rhythm, as each aircraft's radar scan passes over the sensors.

Examples of lit light bulbs:

    X |

Means there's one or more aircrafts forward/right of you.

    X | X

There are two possibilities:

  1. An aircraft directly in front at 12 o'clock position
  2. One or more aircrafts forward of you both to the left and to the right

In the real aircraft the blink rate is based on aircraft, scan pattern, and distance. However, that has not yet been implemented in FlightGear.