The MiG-21 was the most widely used jet fighter in the world in the late 1960s and in the 1970s. It was designed for the air superiority role and it first entered operational service with the Soviet Air Force in 1960. The early Fishbed variant, the MiG-21F-13, epitomized a simple, lightweight and cheapest to buy fighter. These aircraft were the backbone of the Eastern Bloc fighter air forces, while licence manufacture was undertaken in Czechoslovakia. Copies were also produced in China, with further variants coming from this source, equipping many Asian and African air forces.