Mikoyan is a Russian company that designs fighter airplanes. The company was first formed in December 1939 as a design office called Mikoyan-Gurevich or MiG, this was because its designers were Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. Mikoyan will join other Russian airplane companies in a new company called United Aircraft Corporation.
In 1939 Russia was part of the Soviet Union and was communist. In the Soviet communist system there were two types of airplane companies, companies that designed aircraft known as design offices or OKB, and companies that made airplanes called zavods. Artom Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich had been designers in another design office helping a designer called Nikolai Polikarpov. One airplane design that Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich worked on at Polikarpov was called the I-200. When Nikolai Polikarpov lost the trust of the Soviet leader Stalin, Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich were given the I-200 design to finish. This airplane was given a new name and was called the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-1. As it was being made, ways to make the MiG-1 into a better airplane were found and airplanes with these changes became known as the MiG-3 and later the MiG-7. However even with changes the MiG fighter airplanes were not as good as the fighter airplanes designed by the design offices of Lavochkin or Yakovlev.
After World War II Mikoyan-Gurevich designed jet aircraft. In the Soviet system the airplane designs of the design offices would compete to see which was the best. When the best design had been found the design would be built by the second type of airplane company. Even though Mikoyan-Gurevich airplanes in World War II had not been as good as airplanes by Lavochkin or Yakovlev. Mikoyan-Gurevich jet aircraft won more of the competitions to be sent to the zavods and in the time of the Cold War Mikoyan-Gurevich, together with another design office called Sukhoi, became one of the two most important design offices of fighter planes in the Soviet Union.
In the Soviet system decisions were made to protect the government from its own soldiers. In many countries there is only one airforce, the Soviet Union had five airforces. Two of these airforces were the main users of Soviet fighter airplanes. One airforce was called PVO Strany, this airforce was used to defend the cities and land of the Soviet Union. One airforce was called Frontal Aviation, this airforce was used to defend the Soviet Union's ground soldiers against enemy fighter airplanes, and to attack enemy ground forces. Mikoyan-Gurevich became the main designer of aircraft for Frontal Aviation.