The PM variant of the MiG-19 fighter aircraft (NATO reporting name “Farmer”) entered service with the USSR in 1956.
It was one of the last designs of a long development series of the Soviet jet fighters, conceived in the USSR as the answer to the American supersonic F-100 Super Sabre. After many tests, the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau came up with several variants of the basic design: the MiG-19, MiG-19S, SW and P. The early versions, armed with onboard guns (the MiG-19P was also equipped with a radar and synchronized gunsight) did not satisfy the Kremlin ‘top brass’.
The guns had a relatively short range of fire and thus were deemed out of date. At that time it was commonly believed that the days of classic aerial engagements were over and that the role of a combat aircraft was merely that of a “flying missile launcher”. Guided from the ground, it was supposed to pinpoint the target using its own radar before closing in and shooting it down with a rocket missile. Some went so far as to claim that guns on a jet aircraft were useless and a thing of the past. Hence, on the MiG-19PM (Izdielije 65, NATO reporting name “Farmer D”) the cannon armament was removed and replaced by the K-5M weapons system.
It comprised the RP-2U (Izumrud-2) interception and fire-control radar linked to the ASP-5N-V5 sight and four RS-2U (K-5) missiles mounted on APU-4 pods. The installation of the K-5M system required some reshaping of the MiG-19P airframe (mainly the front section of the fuselage and wings). The final variant was a single-seat, all-metal, mid-wing interceptor with highly swept-back wings (55° sweep) powered by twin Mikulin RD-9B turbojets, each capable of 32.4 kN thrust. Beginning with the MiG-19S, the aircraft featured an elongated tailfin fillet and all-moving tailplane. The electronics included the IFF (SRO-2) transponder, a simple set for landing without visual contact (which included ARK-5, RW-2 and MRP-56 devices), Gorizont-1 ground control datalink and RSIU-3MG radio. Production in the USSR totalled 369 aircraft, whilst the number of machines built in China remains unknown.
The MiG-19PM was phased out in favour of the faster and better-armed MiG-21PF. The air war over Vietnam quickly revised the theory of the “flying missile launcher”. For such a concept to succeed, a very efficient ground control system was essential, as well as a perfectly trained pilot. Furthermore, the beam-riding guidance of the missiles used on the MiG-19PM made a manoeuvring target hard to hit, while at the same time rendering the attacking aircraft very vulnerable.
The MiG-19PM saw service with most of the Warsaw Pact countries, as well as with China and Albania. A small number remained in the former republics of the Soviet Union. Poland used 14 aircraft of this variant in the period between 1958-1974. They served along with MiG-19Ps with the 62nd Fighter Wing (stationed at Poznań-Krzesiny), the 39th Fighter Wing (at Mierz?cice) and the 28th Fighter Wing (at Słupsk-Radzikowo)
MiG-19Ps and PMs were the first supersonic fighters in the Polish Air Force. The aircraft on display in the Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków carries its original tactical marking ‘905’ (denoting the fifth aircraft of the ninth series). Other known MiG-19PMs were also marked with three-digit codes starting with ‘9’.