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The Founding Fathers of Russian Aviation

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Gessler, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Gessler


    Mar 16, 2012
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    Most likely this will be a multiple-post affair where I'll cover some basic information & biography (thanks to Wiki) of the first men who's efforts made the Russian aviation industry what it is today. I'm sure their surnames will till you all about who they are and what they did but a little more info to go with that doesn't hurt....

    Pavel Sukhoi


    Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi
    (22 July 1895 – 15 September 1975) was born in Hlybokaye near Vitebsk, a small town in Belarus, in what was then the Vilna Governorate of the Russian Empire. He went to school from 1905 to 1914 at the Gomel Gymnasium (now the Belarusian State University of Transport). In 1915 he went to the Imperial Moscow Technical School (today known as BMSTU). After World War I broke out, he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army; in 1920 he was demobilized because of health-related problems and he went back to the BMSTU, graduating in 1925. In 1925 he wrote his thesis named Single-engined Pursuit Aircraft of 300 hp under the direction of Andrei Tupolev. In March 1925 he started working as an engineer/designer with TsAGI (The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute) and Moscow Factory Number 156. During the following years, Sukhoi designed and constructed aircraft including the record-setting Tupolev ANT-25 and the TB-1 and TB-3 heavy bombers. In 1932 he was appointed head of the engineering and design department of TsAGI, and in 1938 he was promoted to head of the department of design. He also developed a multi-purpose light aircraft, the Su-2, which saw service in the early years of the Great Patriotic War.


    Sukhoi Su-6, competitor to the Ilyushin Il-2.

    In September 1939, Sukhoi founded an independent engineering and design department named Sukhoi Design Bureau (OKB Sukhoi). Located in Kharkov, Sukhoi was not satisfied with the geographical location of the OKB, which was isolated from the scientific pole of Moscow, and he insisted that the OKB should relocate to the aerodrome of Podmoskovye. The relocation was completed in the first half of 1940. In the winter of 1942 Sukhoi encountered another problem — since he had no production line of his own he had nothing to do. He had developed a new ground-attack plane, the Su-6, but Stalin decided that this plane should not be put into production, favouring production of the Ilyushin Il-2.

    In the postwar years, Sukhoi was among the first Soviet aircraft designers who led the work on jet aircraft, creating several experimental jet fighters. From 1949, he fell out of Stalin's favor and was forced to return to work under Tupolev, this time as Deputy Chief Designer. In 1953, the year of Stalin's death, he was permitted to re-establish his own Sukhoi Design Bureau.


    Sukhoi Su-15 (Flagon)

    During the Cold War, his major serial combat aircraft included the supersonic Su-7, which became the main Soviet fighter-bomber of the 1960s, and interceptors Su-9 and Su-15, which formed the backbone of the PVO. He also pioneered variable-sweep aircraft, such as the Su-17 and Su-24. He also started a number of projects that were not developed, including the ambitious Mach-3-capable Sukhoi T-3 attack aircraft. The last fighter Sukhoi designed was the T-10 (Su-27) but he did not live to see it fly.


    Sukhoi T-10, predecessor of the Su-27 (Flanker) family

    In 1958–1974 Sukhoi served as a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He died in 1975 in Moscow and was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery.


    Artem Mikoyan & Mikhail Gurevich


    Artem (Artyom) Ivanovich Mikoyan
    (5 August 1905 – 9 December 1970) was born in Sanahin, Armenia. His older brother, Anastas Mikoyan, would become a senior Soviet politician. He completed his basic education and took a job as a machine-tool operator in Rostov, then worked in the "Dynamo" factory in Moscow before being conscripted into the military. After military service he joined the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy, where he created his first plane, graduating in 1936. He worked with Polikarpov before being named head of a new aircraft design bureau in Moscow in December 1939. Together with Mikhail Gurevich, Mikoyan formed the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau, producing a series of fighter aircraft. In March 1942, the bureau was renamed OKB MiG (Osoboye Konstruktorskoye Büro), ANPK MiG (Aviatsionnyy nauchno-proizvodstvennyy kompleks) and OKO MiG. The MiG-1 proved to be a poor start, the MiG-3 went into production but only occasionally could it fight in its intended high-level interceptor role. Further MiG-5, MiG-7 and MiG-8 Utka did not progress beyond research prototypes.

    Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich (12 January 1893 – November 12, 1976) was born to a winery mechanic from a Jewish family in the small township of Rubanshchina (Kursk region in Russia), in 1910 he graduated from gymnasium in Okhtyrka (Kharkov region) with the silver medal and entered the Mathematics department at Kharkov University. After a year, for participation in revolutionary activities, he was expelled from the university and from the region and continued his education in Montpellier University.

    Mikoyan MiG-3

    In the summer 1914 Gurevich was visiting his home when World War I broke out. This and later the Russian Civil War interrupted his education. In 1925 he graduated from the Aviation faculty of Kharkov Technological Institute and worked as an engineer of the state company "Heat and Power".

    In 1929 Gurevich moved to Moscow to pursue the career of aviation designer. Soviet design was a state-run affair, organised in so-called OKBs or design bureaus. In 1937 Gurevich headed a designer team in the Polikarpov Design Bureau, where he met his future team partner, Artem Mikoyan. In late 1939 they created the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau, with Gurevich in the position of Vice Chief Designer, and after 1957 as its Chief Designer, a post he kept until his retirement in 1964. This is quite remarkable, considering that he never joined the Communist Party.

    Soviet aviation minister Mikhail Khrunichev and aircraft designer Alexander Sergeyevich Yakovlev suggested to Joseph Stalin that the USSR buy advanced jet engines from the British. Stalin is said to have replied: "What fool will sell us his secrets?". However, he gave his assent to the proposal, and Artem Mikoyan, engine designer Klimov, and other officials traveled to the United Kingdom to request the engines. To Stalin's amazement, the British Labour government and its pro-Soviet Minister of Trade, Sir Stafford Cripps were willing to provide technical information and a licence to manufacture the Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal-flow jet engine. This engine was reverse-engineered and produced in modified form as the Soviet Klimov VK-1 jet engine, later incorporated into the MiG-15 (Rolls-Royce later attempted to claim £207 millions in licence fees, without success).

    Mikoyan MiG-15 (Fagot)

    The prototype-only Mikoyan-Gurevich I-270 of the immediate post-war era was a rocket-powered. "straight-winged" point-defense fighter design based on captured examples of, and documentation for the never-produced German Messerschmitt Me 263, which had some influence on future MiG jet fighter designs. Thanks to the MiG OKB designing the very first airworthy swept-wing Soviet aircraft design of any type in 1945, the strictly experimental Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-8 Utka canard pusher monoplane, the swept-wing research from it and captured German research documents allowed the Soviets to eventually develop the prototype design for the single-jet equipped MiG-15 fighter, the I-310. With the Klimov VK-1 version of the British Nene jet engine, this design became the mass-produced MiG-15, which first flew on 31 December 1948, some fifteen months after the first prototype of its American swept-winged counterpart, the XP-86 Sabre first flew. Over 18,000 MiG-15s were eventually manufactured, then came the MiG-17, and MiG-19.

    The MiG-15s were the jets used during the Korean War by Communist forces, and "MiG Alley" was the name given by U.S. Air Force pilots to the northwestern portion of North Korea, where the Yalu River empties into the Yellow Sea. During the Korean War, it was the site of numerous dogfights between U.S. fighter jets and those of the Communist forces, particularly the Soviet Union. The F-86 Sabre and the Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 fighters were the aircraft used throughout most of the conflict, with the area's nickname derived from the latter. Because it was the site of the first large-scale jet-vs-jet air battles, MIG Alley is considered the birthplace of jet fighter combat.

    Mikoyan MiG-25 (Foxbat)

    From 1952 Mikoyan also designed missile systems to particularly suit his aircraft, such as the famous MiG-21. The last model Gurevich worked on was the MiG-25 interceptor which is among the fastest military aircraft ever to enter service.


    Andrei Tupolev


    Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev
    (November 10, 1888 – December 23, 1972) was born in the village of Pustomazovo , near the city of Kimry, Tver Region, Russia.
    Tupolev was the sixth of seven children born to his parents. After first being educated at home, he studied at the Gymnasium in Tver and finished in 1908. He then applied for courses at two Russian universities and was accepted at both: Imperial Moscow Technical School (IMTU) and the Institute of Railway Engineers. He accepted the place at IMTU. In 1909, Tupolev began studying aerodynamics under the Russian aviation pioneer N.E. Zhukovski. During this time he built one of the world's first wind tunnels which led to the formation of an aerodynamic laboratory at IMTU. In 1911, Tupolev was accused of taking part in revolutionary activities, including demonstrations and distribution of subversive literature, and was arrested. He was later released on condition that he return to his family home in Pustomazovo and was only allowed to return to IMTU in 1914. He completed his studies in 1918 and was awarded the degree of Engineer-Mechanic when he presented his thesis on the development of seaplanes.

    Tupolev TB-1 (ANT-4)

    Tupolev was a leading light of the Moscow-based Central Aero and Hydrodynamics Institute (TsAGI). In 1925, he designed a twin-engine bomber, the TB-1, which was considered one of the most advanced designs of the time. By 1934, Tupolev had led the design bureau that designed the largest aircraft flying in the world at the time, the 63-meter wingspan, eight-engined Maksim Gorki. In 1937, an improved version from the earlier TB-1, the four-engined TB-3 made a landing at the North Pole.

    Tupolev ANT-20 "Maxim Gorky", a real propaganda plane if there ever was one

    As the number of qualified aircraft designers increased, Tupolev set up his own office, producing a number of designs designated with the prefix ANT from his initials.

    However, on October 21, 1937, Tupolev was arrested together with Vladimir Petlyakov and the entire directorate of the TsAGI and EDO on trumped up charges of sabotage, espionage and of aiding the Russian Fascist Party. Many of his colleagues were executed. In 1939, Tupolev was moved from a prison to an NKVD sharashka for aircraft designers in Bolshevo near Moscow, where many ex-TsAGI people had already been sent to work. The sharashka soon moved to Moscow and was dubbed "Tupolevka" after its most eminent inmate. Tupolev was tried and convicted in 1940 with a ten-year sentence. During this time he developed the Tupolev Tu-2. He was released in July 1941 "to conduct important defence work." (He was not rehabilitated fully until two years after Joseph Stalin's death in 1953.)

    Tupolev Tu-2/ANT-58 (Bat)

    Tupolev headed the major project of reverse engineering the American Boeing B-29 strategic bomber, which was the world's first nuclear delivery platform. The USSR had repeatedly asked unsuccessfully for lend-lease B-29s. Using three machines which landed in Siberia after bombing Japan in 1945, Tupolev succeeded in replicating them down to trivial detail. Moreover, he got it into volume production, with crews fully trained in time for the 1947 May Day parade. The copy was designated Tu-4, with many subsequent Tu aircraft having the number 4 in their designations.

    Tupolev Tu-4 (Bull), the Soviet copy of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress

    By the time of his rehabilitation in 1955, Tupolev had designed and was about to start testing his unique turboprop strategic bomber, the Tu-95. In the years to come, he beat off able competition from Vladimir Myasishchev and his M-4 series of jet-powered strategic bombers, introducing the Tu-16 design. This was in part thanks to Tupolev's close rapport with Nikita Krushchev who had denounced Stalin's terror, of which Tupolev had been a victim.

    Tupolev Tu-95 (Bear)

    At about the same time, Tupolev introduced into service the world's second jet airliner, the Tu-104. The aeroplane was the first jet transport to stay in uninterrupted service, and the only one in service anywhere in the world for two years until late 1958. It was followed by a series of Tu passenger jets, including the supersonic Tu-144, designed by Tupolev's son Alexei Tupolev (1925–2001).

    After Khruschev's removal from office in late 1964, the ageing Tupolev gradually lost positions at the centres of power to rivals. Though the prestige Tu-144 programme enjoyed top level support until 1973, as did the important Tu-154 airliner, the favored position the Tupolev Design Bureau enjoyed through Tupolev’s personal political connections was largely eclipsed by Ilyushin.

    Tupolev Tu-144 "Concordski", designed by Andrei's son Alexei Tupolev

    To his contemporaries, Tupolev was known as a witty but crude master of obscene vocabulary who invariably and energetically insisted on fast and adequate technical fixes at the expense of scholastic ideal solutions. A hallmark of his was to get an aeroplane into service very rapidly; then began an often interminable process of improving the shortcomings of the "quick and dirty" initial design. To his competitors among the Soviet aircraft design community, he was known above all as politically astute; a shrewd and unforgiving rival.

    Tupolev was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.


    That's about it for now...will add more in Part-2

    @Abingdonboy @randomradio @vstol jockey @Agent_47 @Hellfire @Grevion @PARIKRAMA @BMD @Levina @LonewolfSandeep @GuardianRED @GSLV Mk III @Indx TechStyle
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
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  2. Grevion

    Grevion Professional Think Troll IDF NewBie

    Oct 20, 2016
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    Great work!
    I am a mig fan but sukhoi is a legend.
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  3. sangos

    sangos Lt. Colonel ELITE MEMBER

    Apr 25, 2013
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    A video is worth million words. Btw there are 18 parts of this series:biggthumpup:( anyone?)
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