Category Soviet x-plenes


Purpose: To copy the Lockheed U-2B. Design Bureau: OKB No 49, Taganrog, General Constructor G M Beriev.

On 1 st May 1960 the world was astonished to learn that the missile defences of Sverdlovsk had shot down a Lockheed U-2 of the US Central Intelligence Agency. Parts of the air­craft were put on display in Moscow’s Gorkiy Park. What the world was not told was that for months afterwards a vast area was combed by large squads looking for every fragment of the downed aircraft (which had broken up at high altitude). All the pieces were brought to GK Nil WS, where they were carefully studied. On 28th June 1960 SovMin Directive 702-288 instructed OKB No 16 in Kazan, led by P F Zubets, to copy the J57-P-13 engine. This was a blow to Zubets, whose RD-500 was in the same thrust class, and even more to the several engine designers (Do­brynin, Lyul’ka, Kuznetsov and Tumanskii) who had engines on test which were more
powerful and of much later design than the massive Pratt & Whitney. On 23rd August 1960 Directive 918-383 ordered OKB No 49, assisted by neighbouring No 86, to study the U-2 and produce five copies, designated S-13. These were primarily to support ‘a multi­discipline study of the structural, technical and maintenance aspects of the U-2, and master its technology for use in indigenous aircraft’. It was also expected that the S-13 would be used to collect upper-atmosphere samples, destroy hostile balloons and (using the 73-13, or AFA-60, camera) undertake re­connaissance missions. Despite inexorable increases in weight over the US original, work attempted to meet the first-flight date of first quarter 1962. Much of the supporting equip­ment had already been developed for the Yak-25RV and TsybinRSR (which see). On 1st April 1961 a detailed metal fuselage mock-up was completed, with ‘models of its systems’. A Tu-16 was readied for testing the engine (now designated RD-16-75), landing gears
and other items, while CAHI tunnels con­firmed that the U-2 had the exceptional L/D ratio of25. Out of the blue, on 12th May 1962 Directive 440-191 ordered the whole S-13 project to be terminated.

S-13 metal mock-up fuselage.


Purpose: To test previously invented ‘parabola wing’ in a powered aircraft Design Bureau: Not an OKB but a private individual, Boris Ivanovich Cheranovskii (1896-1960). Throughout his life he scratched around for funds to build and test his succession of 30 types of gliders and powered aircraft, all of ‘tailless’ configuration.

In 1924 Cheranovskii tested his BICh-1 ‘Para­bola’ glider and the refined BICh-2, which demonstrated ‘normal longitudinal stability and controllability and is considered to have
been the world’s first successful flying wing’. In 1926 he followed with the BICh-3, which was almost the BICh-2 fitted with an engine. Cheranovskii’s gliders had been flown at the All-Union meetings at Koktebel, Crimea, but most of the flying of his first aeroplane was done by B N Kudrin (later famous) in Moscow.

The BICh-3 was a basically simple aircraft, constructed of wood with thin ply skin over the leading edge, inboard upper surface and landing-gear trousers, and fabric elsewhere. The BICh-2 had flown without a rudder (it was better with one) since turning was
achieved by the ailerons. With the BICh-3 the addition of an engine required a vestigial fuselage with a fin and rudder. The main con­trols remained the trailing-edge elevators and ailerons, operated by rods and bellcranks and hung on inset balanced hinges. The engine was a Blackburne Tomtit, an inverted V-twin of 698 cc rated at 18hp. Skids were provided under the tail and outer wings.

Kudrin described the BICh-3 as ‘not very stable, but controllable’. It was sufficiently successful to lead to the many successors.


Above: BICh-1.





31 ft 2 in




Wing area

20.0 m!





309 Ib



22 Ib



507 Ib


Max speed, not recorded

Landing speed


25 mph



Left: Cheranovskii with BICh-3.



Kozlov PS

Kozlov PS

Purpose: To make an invisible aeroplane. Design Bureau: Zhukovskii WA, Soviet air force academy; designer Professor Sergei Kozlov.

Professor Kozlov was eager to see to what de­gree it would be possible to construct a ‘transparent’ aeroplane, difficult to see (for example, by enemies on the ground). In 1933 a preliminary experiment was made with a U – 2 biplane whose rear fuselage and tail were stripped of fabric and re-covered with a trans­parent foil called Cellon (unrelated to the British company of that name). In 1935 the WA was assigned Yakovlev’s second AIR-4, which already had experimental status. The airframe was completely stripped of all cov­ering and internal equipment, and reassem­bled as described below. Though it was called the Nevidimyi Samolyot, invisible aero­
plane, it received the unexplained official designation of PS. It first flew on 25th July 1935.

The AIR-4, one of A S Yakovlev’s first de­signs, was a neat parasol monoplane, first flown in 1930. Powered by a 60hp Walter NZ – 60 five-cylinder radial, it had two seats in tan­dem. The structure was almost entirely wood, with skin of ply and fabric. The pairs of wing bracing struts were mild-steel sheet wrapped round to an aerofoil section 64 x 32mm (21/2 x l!4in). Of course, Kozlov could do nothing to hide these struts, nor the rub­ber-sprung divided main landing gears, or the engine, fuel tank and other parts. Virtually the whole airframe was covered in a French transparent plastic called Rodoid. This was cut from sheet, each panel being drilled and secured by aluminium rivets inserted through eyelets. As far as possible the opaque parts

were painted silver-white.

The PS was officially judged to have achieved results which had ‘a measure of im­portance’. Apart from the invisibility effect, the transparent skin was also held to improve the field of view of the occupants, and Kozlov did preliminary studies for a transparent re­connaissance aircraft. On a low-level flypast the PS was said to be not easily seen except by chance, though of course observers could narrow the field of search from judging the source of the aircraft’s sound. After a few weeks, however, the foil skin was of little use, partly because of progressive darkening by solar radiation and partly because of the ef­fect of dust and oil droplets from the engine.



H. lm

36 ft 5 in


6.94 m

22 ft 9n in

Wing area




Empty (originally 394 kg)

as PS probably about

450 kg

992 Ib

Loaded originally

630 kg



Maximum speed originally (probablyslightlyreduced)

150 km/h

93 mph

No otherhelpful data for modified aircraft.

Left: PS accompanied by a U-2.

AIR-4, the basis of the PS.

Kozlov PS


Nikitin-Shevchenko IS-1

Nikitin-Shevchenko IS-1

Purpose: To create a fighter able to fly as a biplane or monoplane.

Design Bureau: OKB-30, Chief Designer V V Shevchenko.

There is some dispute over who was respon­sible for the experimental IS fighters. Gener­ally ascribed to VV Nikitin, in more recent accounts he is hardly mentioned and all cred­it is given to Shevchenko who is quoted as saying ‘IS stands for losif Stalin’. In fact, though the conception was indeed Shev­chenko’s, he was an NIl-WS test pilot who was occasionally employed by Nikitin. Design of the IS series was carried out in partnership with Nikitin, and IS actually meant Istrebitel Skladnoi, folding fighter. Surprisingly, it was alsogiventheofficialGUAP designation I-220, even though this was also allocated to a high – altitude MiG fighter. The idea was that the air­craft should take off as a biplane, with a short run, and then fold up the lower wing under­neath the upper wing in order to reach high speed as a monoplane. Shevchenko promot­ed the idea in November 1938, getting an en­thusiastic response, and therefore in 1939 demonstrated a detailed working model built at the Moscow Aviatekhnikum (MAT). His project captivated Stalin and Beria, who wanted the aircraft flying in time for the Oc­tober Revolution parade in November 1939. Shevchenko was given 76 million roubles and
facilities at Factory No 156, while the OKB-30 design team eventually numbered 60. The IS-1 was first flown by V Kulesho v on 29 th May 1940, and the lower wings were first folded by G M Shiyanovon 21st June 1940. Shevchenko states that Shiyanov carried out LII testing and completed his report on 9th January 1941. Ac­cording to Shevchenko, glowing accounts were also written by such famous test pilots as Suprun and Grinchik. In fact, Shavrov records that ‘State tests were considered un­necessary, as the maximum speed was only 453km/h’. As it was so much slower than the LaGG, MiG and Yak fighters, this aircraft was
put into storage after the German invasion, together with the IS-2.

As far as possible the IS-1 resembled the ex­isting production fighter, the I-153. It had the same 900hp M-63 engine, driving a Hamilton VISh propeller of2.8m (9ft 2in) diameter, and apart from the extra ‘wing fold’ lever the cockpits were identical. The airframe was all­metal, the fuselage framework being welded SOKhGSA steel tube, with removable metal panels to the front of the cockpit and fabric aft, while each wing had similar construction for the two spars, but DIG light-alloy ribs and flush-riveted DIG skins. The tail was DIG with



Nikitin-Shevchenko IS-1

Nikitin-Shevchenko IS-1

fabric covering. After take-off the pilot select­ed ‘chassis up’, folding the main landing gears inwards by the 60-ata (882 lb/in2) pneu­matic system. He could then select ‘wing fold’, whereupon a pneumatic ram and hinged levers on each side folded the lower wing. The inboard half was then recessed into the fuselage and the hinged outer half (which remained horizontal throughout) was recessed into the upper wing to complete its aerofoil profile. The planned armament was four ShKAS in the inner gull-wing part of the upper wing. There was no cockpit armour.

Though it may have seemed a good idea, the realization was a disappointment. Apart from the overall inferiority of the IS-1 ‘s perfor­mance, it was nonsense to reduce wing area in an aircraft needing the maximum possible combat agility, and moreover to try on the one hand to increase wing area for take-off
and landing whilst simultaneously leaving half the upper (main) wing with a huge hol­low on the underside which destroyed the aerofoil profile. A detail is that with the wings
folded there was nowhere for spent cartridge cases to escape.

Previous page and below: Views of IS-1.

Nikitin-Shevchenko IS-1


Dimensions Span (upper)

(lower, extended) Length

Wing area (as biplane) (upper only)


6.72m 6.79m 20.83 nf 13.0m2

28 ft n in

22 ft!4 in 22 ft 3% in 224 ft2 140ft2




3,086 Ib


2,300 kg

5,070 Ib


Maximum speed


281 mph

Time to climb 5 km

5.0 min


Service ceiling (as biplane)

8,800 m

28,870 ft



373 miles

Take-off run (biplane)



Landing speed (biplane)


71.5 mph


Experimental Test-beds

Подпись: Purpose: To use established aircraft to flight-test experimental items. Design Bureau: Various. In Russia flying test-beds are as a class called by the suffix initials LL, from Letayushchaya Laboratoriya, flying laboratory. One of the most important LL tasks is to flight-test new types of engine. Several experimental engines have appeared in this book already, for example rockets to boost the speed and altitude of fighters, and the awesome TV-12 turboprop tested on a Tu-4. Until the 1980s the most important LL for flight-testing engines was the Tu-16. As explained in the entry on Подпись:sors and loggers, computers, oscilloscopes and many kinds ofinstrumentation, overseen by a test and research crew which usually numbers five. The flight crew typically num­bers three. Among the engines tested are the NK-86, D-18T and PS-90A turbofans, and the D-236 and NK-93 propfans. One of the pho­tographs shows a former IL-76M used for test­ing large turbofans of the D-18 family. The other shows a former civil IL-76T used to test the TV7-117S turboprop and its six-blade Stupino SV-34 propeller. The propeller blades are heavily strain-gauged, the instrumenta­tion cable being led forward from the tip of the spinner.

Experimental Test-beds

Experimental Test-beds

Experimental Test-bedsExperimental Test-beds

Another Ilyushin aircraft used in significant numbers as an experimental test-bed is the IL-18. Possibly as many as 30 have been used, mainly at the Zhukovskii and Pushkin test centres, for upwards of 50 test programmes. Nearly all are basically of the IL-18D type, powered by four 4,250hp AI-20M turboprops. The most famous ofthese aircraft is the IL-18 No75442, named Tsyklon (cyclone). Instantly recognisable from its nose boom like a joust­ing lance, this meteorological research air­craft is equipped with something in excess of 30 sensors used to gether data about atmos­pheric temperature, pressure and pressure gradient, humidity, liquid and solid particu­late matter (including measurement of droplet and particle sizes) and various other factors which very according to the mission. The sensors extend from nose to tail and from tip to tip. Other IL-18 and IL-18D aircraft have helped to develop every kind of radar from fighter nosecones to giant SLARs (slide-look­ing airborne radar) and special mapping and SAR (synthetic-array radar) installations.

Top: IL-76LL with TV7-1 ITS Centre: Nose of IL-18 Tsyklon Bottom: Tu-134 radar testbed

Opposite page, bottom: IL-76LL with D-18T

A small number based at Pushkin tested the main radars and pointed radomes of super­sonic aircraft, though this was done mainly by the Tu-134.

Total production of the Tu-134 passenger twin-jet was 853. Of course, the majority were delivered to Aeroflot and foreign customers, but a few went to the WS. From the mid – 1970s aircraft built as passenger transports began to be converted for use as military crewtrainers, including the Tu-134BUformil – itary and civil pilots to Cat IIIA (autoland) stan­dard, Tu-134Sh for navigators and visual bomb aimers (actually dropping bombs to FAB-250 (551 Ib) size), Tu-134BSh for Tu-22M

Experimental Test-beds

Above: Tu-134 radar testbed

Left. Tu-134IMARK

Centre left: IL-28 for ski research

Bottom: Yak-25M testing Yak-28 engine icing


Experimental Test-bedsnavigators andbomb-aimers, and Tu-134UBL for Tu-16 0 pilots. These are not experimental, nor is the Tu-134SKh with comprehensive navaids and avionics for worldwide land-use and economic survey. On the other hand at least 15 aircraft were converted for equip­ment testing and research. One has flown over 6,000 hours investigating the behaviour of equipment and Cosmonauts underweight­less (zero-g) conditions. Several have been fitted with nose radars under development for other aircraft, including the installations for the Tu-144, Tu-160 and MiG-29. With the designation IMARK, aircraft 65906 has tested the Zemai polarized mapping radar able to operate on wavelengths of4, 23, 68 or 230cm (from Am to 7ft 7in). Arrays ofantennas look down and to the right side from the starboard side of the fuselage and a large ventral con­tainer. A generally similar but more versatile test aircraft is 65908. This is based at Zhukovskii together with a Tu-134 fitted with a giant parachute in the tail for emergency use during potentially dangerous research into deep-stall phenomena, which caused the loss of several aircraft with T-tails and aft-mounted engines.

Photographs show two other aircraft from the many hundreds used in the former Soviet Union for special tests. One shows an IL-28 used for research into the design, materials and behaviour of skis on different kinds of surface. A large ski mounted under the bomb bay near the centre of gravity could be rammed down against the ground by hy­draulic jacks. On the ski were test shoes of different sizes, shapes and materials. The other photograph shows the Yak-25 test-bed fitted on the starboard side with the engine in­stallation proposed for the Yak-28, with a sharp lip and moving central cone. Ahead of it was a water spray rig for icing trials.


Purpose: To experiment with a tailless (so – called ‘flying wing’) design.

Design Bureau: Bureau of Special Design, Smolensk. Design team led by V A Chizhevskii.

The idea for this small research aircraft came from the BOK-2, though the two aircraft were completely unrelated. In 1935 Chizhevskii began studying tailless aircraft, and obtained funding to build a simple research aircraft. This was completed in early 1937, but was then modified and did not fly until Septem­ber, the pilot being I F Petrov. It ‘flew satisfac- torily…but crashed during a landing’. After being repaired and modified its handling qualities were greatly improved. In 1938 the
modified aircraft was tested by the Nil WS (air force flight-test institute), where it was flown by such pilots at P M Stefanovskii and M A Nyukhtikov. Stefanovskii is reported to have said that the BOK-5 could be ‘flown by pilots of average or even below average abil­ity’ and to have been ‘impressed by its acro­batic capability’.

The BOK-5 was a basically simple aircraft, apart from the flight-control system. The air­frame was made of duralumin. The wing was ofCAHI (TsAGI) 890/15 profile (15 per cent t/c ratio), with two spars with tubular booms and sheet webs, and ribs assembled from chan­nel and angle sections, with fabric covering. The short fuselage was a semi-monocoque, with some box-section longerons and
pressed-sheet frames, the vertical tail being integral. The main landing gears were de­scribed as ‘U-2 type’. On the nose was a 1 00hp M-l 1 engine in a Townend-ring cowl, driving a two-blade metal propeller.

Modifications concentrated on the trailing – edge controls. According to Shavrov there were three movable surfaces on each wing, extending over 21 per cent of the chord. The outermost was a rectangular aileron, and the two inboard surfaces acted in unison as ele­vators. Most photographs and drawings show these surfaces as simple one-piece units hinged to brackets below the trailing edge and with a neutral setting of-5°. However, re­cently a drawing (reproduced here) was dis­covered showing the main surfaces operated





by servo action. The pilot’s control cables can be seen to drive a narrow-chord servo control which in turn moves the main surface. The neutral setting of the main surfaces can be seen to be adjusted by a longitudinal-trim wheel with cables to screw-jacks.

The BOK-5 was clearly a safe aircraft which impressed two of the Soviet Union’s best test pilots, but it remained a one-off which was soon forgotten.

Dimensions Span Length Wing area




32 ft 4Л in 14 ft 4 in





1,314 Ib



198 Ib





Maximum speed


108 mph

Take-off run



Service ceiling

4,850 m






4 hours

Landing speed/


53 mph




Top and centre: Two views of BOK-5.

BOK-5BOK-5Bottom: BOK-5 servo control.

MiG I-270, Zh

Purpose: To investigate the potential of a rocket-propelled interceptor.

Design Bureau: OJB-155 ofA I Mikoyan.

As a major (in most respects the greatest) pi­oneer of rocket-propelled aircraft, the Soviet Union was intrigued to capture examples of the Messerschmitt Me 163 and Me 263 (Ju248). In 1944the MiG OKB produced ‘doo­dles’ of Me 163 type aircraft, but in 1945 the bureau received a contract to build two pro­totypes of a rocket interceptor (a similar con­tract was awarded to A S Moskalyov). The MiG aircraft was designated >K, the Cyrillic character sounding like the s in ‘measure’, represented in English as Zh, and given the of­ficial designation I-270. To prepare for the air­craft’s handling qualities several OKB and NIl-WS pilots practised with a Yak-3 over­loaded by lead bars. The first I-270 was ready for flight well before its propulsion system. The rocket engine was simulated by an inert mass in the tail, but the Zh-01 was still well below normal weight because it lacked pro­pellants, armament, radio and the windmill generator, in early December 1946 VN Yuganov began testing it as a glider at speeds up to 300km/h (186mph), casting off from a Tu-2 tug. At the start of 1947 Zh-02 was ready, with propulsion, and it began testing (precise date not recorded), the assigned pilot being A K Pakhomov of the WS. On an early flight
he made a badly judged landing which dam­aged 02 beyond economic repair. A few weeks later Yuganov belly-landed 01, and again nobody bothered to repair it.

Generally similar in layout to the Ju 248, ex­cept for the prudent addition of a high-mount­ed horizontal tail, the I-270 was of course all-metal. The small wing had a laminar pro­file, fixed leading edge, slotted flaps and con­ventional outboard ailerons. Structurally it was unusual in having five spars. The tail comprised a large fin and mass-balanced rudder and a small tailplane with elevators which, like the ailerons, had bellcrank fair­ings on the underside. The circular-section fuselage had the wing amidships at mid­depth, attached from below as a single unit. The cockpit in the nose was pressurized by air bottles, and the seat could be ejected by a cordite gun. The tricycle landing gear had a track of only 1.6m (5ft Sin) despite the main wheels being inclined slightly outwards. Wheelbase was 2.415m (7ft llin), the nose unit being steerable. Each unit retracted for­wards, power for the landing gear and flaps being provided by air bottles. The rocket en­gine was an RD-2M-3V, developed by L S Dushkin and V P Glushko. The fuselage behind the cockpit was almost entirely occu­pied by four tanks housing 1,620kg (3,571 Ib) of RFNA (red fuming nitric acid) and 440kg (970 Ib) of kerosene. These were initially fed
by an electrically driven pump, of Me 163 type. As the liquids reached the chamber they were automatically ignited by injection of high-test hydrogen peroxide, of which 60kg (132 Ib) was provided in seven stainless-steel bottles. Once operating, the engine was fed by turbopumps driven by the propellants themselves. The engine had one main thrust chamber, rated at sea level at 1,450kg (3,1971b), and an auxiliary chamber rated at 400kg (882 Ib). Take-off and initial climb was normally made with both in operation, when endurance was about 41/2min. In cruising flight, with the small chamber alone in use (high-altitude thrust being about 480kg, l,0581b), endurance was 9min. An electrical system was served by a battery charged by an Me 163 type windmill generator on the nose. RSI-4 radio was fitted, with an external wire antenna, and armament comprised two NS – 23 with 40 rounds each. A plan to fit four RS- 82 rockets under the wings was not actioned.

By the time they were built these aircraft were judged to be of no military importance.

Photographs on the opposite page: Top right: Zh-01, without engine. Three views of I-270, Zh-02.

MiG I-270, Zh



25 ft 5 in



29 ft 3 in





Empty (Zh-02)




1,620/440/60 kg

total 4,674 Ib



9,083 Ib


Maximum speed

at sea level about


582 mph

at high altitude


621 mph

Time to climb to 10,000m

2.37 min


Service ceiling




not measured

Take-off run


2,936 ft

Landing speed (tanks dry)


85 mph





MiG I-270, Zh

MiG I-270, ZhMiG I-270, Zh

Sukhoi Su-7R

Подпись: Dimensions (final standard) sPan 13.5m 44 ft 3Л in Len§'h 10.03m 32 ft 103/i in Wing area 26.0m2 280 ft2 Подпись:Sukhoi Su-7RПодпись: Aircraft A (Su-6). In 1942 he was authorized to develop the A into a single-seat fighter This flew in late 1943 and underwent various modifications, in its final form being tested by G Komarov between 31st January and 20th December 1945. By this time it was no longer of interest. The Su-7R was based upon the airframe of the Su-6(A), but with a new all-metal semi- monocoque fuselage. The two-seat cockpit

Purpose: To create a mixed-power (piston engine plus rocket) fighter.

Design Bureau: OKB of Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi, Moscow. Note: this aircraft was not related to the later Su-7 jet fighter.

Having in 1941 seen the Su-2 attack bomber accepted into production, Sukhoi subse­quently never dislodged the IL-2/IL-10, de­spite the excellence of different versions of
was replaced by a single-seat cockpit with a unged canopy with a fairing behind it. An ad­ditional fuel tank replaced the internal weapons bay, and the large-calibre wing guns were removed, the armament being three synchronized ShVAK 20mm cannon each with 370 rounds. At first the ASh-71 type engine was retained, but this was soon re­placed by a smaller and less-powerful ASh – 82FN, rated at l,850hp on 10o-octane fuel driving an AV-9L four-blade propeller. In 1944 aTK-3 turb o sup ercharger was added on each side, and an RD-lKhZ rocket engine was in­stalled in a new extended tailcone. As de­scribed previously, this Dushkin/Glushko engine had a single thrust chamber burning the same petrol (gasoline) as the piston en­gine, which ignited hypergolically (instant re­action) when mixed with RFNA (red fuming nitric acid). The acid was housed in an addi­tional tank behind the cockpit, with access through a dorsal hatch. This tank gave a con­tinuous burn time of about four minutes. When rocket power was selected, the pro­pellants were fed at a rate of 1.6kg (3.5 Ib) per second, giving a thrust of300kg (661 Ib) at sea level and about 345kg (761 Ib) at high altitude.

By 1945 this aircraft was no longer compet­itive, and the rocket engine never went into production. In any case, during a practice for the first post-war air display in late 1945 the rocket engine exploded, casing a fatal crash.

3,250kg 7,1651b

480/50/1 80 1,058/110/397Ib

4j36°kg 9,612 Ib

Sukhoi Su-7R

Performance Maximum speed

at sea level (no rocket) 480 km/h

at 7.5 km (24,600 ft) with rocket 680 km/h at 12 km (39,370 ft) with rocket 705 km/h Service ceiling 12,750m

Range (with full rocket bum) 800 km Take-off 300 m

Landing speed/ 125 km/h



298 mph 423 mph 438 mph 41,831 ft 497 miles 984ft 78 mph 1,148ft


Sukhoi Su-7R

Sukhoi Su-7R


Arranged principally in alphabetical order


Подпись: Alekseyev I-218

Purpose: To provide a high-performance Shturmovik, armoured ground-attack aircraft.

Design Bureau: Semyon Mikhailovich Alekseyev OKB-21, at Gorkii.

Born in 1909, Alekseyev graduated from MAI in 1937, and became one of the principal de­signers in the OKB of S A Lavochkin. Respon­sible for major features of the LaGG-3 and La-5 family of fighters, he was head of detail design on the derived La-7 and La-9. In 1946 he was able to open his own design bureau. He at once concentrated on twin-jet fighters with nosewheel landing gear, getting the

I-211 into flight test on 13th October 1947. Whilst working on derived aircraft with more powerful engines and swept wings, he worked in parallel on a family of multirole ground – attack aircraft.

The first of these was the I-218, or I-218-1. For various reasons, the most important being the need for long endurance at low al­titude, Alekseyev adopted a powerful piston engine. He adopted a pusher layout, with the tail carried on twin booms.

A single prototype was completed in sum­mer 1948, but in August of that year OKB-21 was closed. (A contributory factor was Yakov­lev’s scathing comment that Alekseyev’s jet

fighters were copies ofthe Me 262.) At closure three derived aircraft were on the drawing board. The I-218-Ib (I-219) had a revised crew compartment, tailwheel landing gears and swept vertical tails. The I-218-11 (I-221) was an enlarged aircraft with a conventional fuselage and tail, powered by a Lyul’ka TR-3 turbojet, which was being developed to give 4,600kg (10,141 Ib) thrust. The I-218-III (I-220) was a variation on the 218-11 with a very powerful piston engine (he hoped to get a Dobrynin VD-4 of4,000hp, as used in the Tu-85 but with­out the turbo). Alekseyev was sent to CAHI (TsAGI) and then as Chief Constructor to the OKB-1 team of former German (mainly


Junkers) engineers to produce the Type 150, described later under OKB-1.

No detailed documents have been discov­ered, but the I-218 was a modern all-metal stressed-skin aircraft designed to a high (fighter type) load factor. The wing com­prised a centre section and outer panels joined immediately outboard of the tail booms. It was tapered on the leading edge only, and on the trailing edge were fitted out­board ailerons and six sections of area-in­creasing flap. The tail booms projected far in front of the wing, and carried a conven­tional twin-finned tail with a fixed tailplane joining the fins just above the centreline of the propeller.

The forward fuselage contained a com­partment for the pilot and for the aft-facing gunner. Like some highly-stressed parts of the airframe this was made of the new 30- KhGSNA chrome-nickel steel, and it was thick enough to form a ‘bathtub’ to protect against armour-piercing shells of 20mm cali­bre. The windows were very thick multilayer glass/plastics slabs. The engine, mounted on
the wing, was a Dobrynin VM-251 (in effect, half a VD-4, with three banks each of four cylinders) rated at 2,000hp. It drove an AV-28 contra-rotating propeller arranged for pusher propulsion, comprising two three-blade units each of 3.6m (11ft l0in) diameter.

The I-218 was intended to have heavy for­ward-firing armament, such as four NR-23 guns each with 150 rounds or two N-57 (30 rounds each) and two N-37 (40 rounds each). In addition provision was to be made for up to 1,500kg (3,307 Ib) of bombs or other stores, carried mainly under the fuselage, or six 132mm (5.2in) rockets or 16 RS-82 rockets carried under the wings.

For defence, the backseater could operate a remotely-sighted system controlling an NR-23 cannon on the outer side of each tail boom. Each of these powerful guns was fed from a 120-round magazine, and was mount­ed in a powered barbette with angular limits of ±25° vertically and 50° outwards. Avionics included 12RSU-10 radio, RPKO-10M radio­compass, RV-2 radar altimeter and SPU-5 intercom.

Though the I-218 was built there is no posi­tive evidence that it flew, apart from the fact that the specification does not include the word ‘estimated’ for the flight performance. The fact is, in 1948 such aircraft were regard­ed as obsolescent. A rival, also abandoned, was the IL-20, described later.

Dimensions Span Length Wing area




53 ft M in 45 ft &A in 484.4ft2

Weights (unknown except)

Normal loaded weight


19,840 Ib



23,148 Ib


Max speed, at sea level


289 mph

at 2,000m (6,562 ft)


329 mph

Take-off run



Landing run



Time to reach 5,000 m



Service ceiling

6,000 m




746 miles



Above: I-218 model.


Left: Alekseyev’s ground-attack aircraft projects, from the top – I-218-IB, I-218-IIandI-218-III.


Grushin Sh-Tandem, MAI-3

Подпись: Left: Two views of Sh-Tandem as originally built. Opposite page: Sh-Tandem after modificationGrushin Sh-Tandem, MAI-3

Purpose: To devise an improved configuration for a tactical attack aircraft. Design Bureau: Moscow Aviation Institute, designer Pyotr Grushin.

Born in 1906, Grushin worked on various air­craft at MAI, as well as a remarkable steam engine tested in a U-2 (Po-2). In 1935he began scheming a tandem-wing aircraft, thinking this could form the basis of an attack aircraft with a rear gun turret. The single example of the Sh-Tandem (Shturmovik-Tandem) was constructed in the Institute’s production training school. It was exhaustively tested by P M Stefanovskii from 5th December 1937. Once the dangerously inadequate directional (yaw) stability had been corrected, by adding fins and rudders above the tailplcine, the air­craft flew well. Eventually it was judged to be unreliable and not really needed, but a deriv­ative with armour, an M-82 engine and a can­non in the turret might have proved very useful.

The key feature of this aircraft was that it had a main wing and a rear wing with 45 per cent as much area, both having R-l 1 aerofoil profile. After experimenting with elevens the control surfaces on the rear wing were linked to move in unison as elevators, all lateral con­trol being by the ailerons on the main wing. Fins and rudders were fitted at 50 per cent of the semi-span on the rear wing, initially on the underside only in order to leave a clear 250° arc offire for the electrically driven turret with a ShKAS. Four more ShKAS were to be fixed firing ahead from the main wing, but these cannot be seen in photographs. An in­ternal bay housed a 200kg (441 Ib) bombload. The engine was an M-87 (derived from the

Dimensions Span (main wing) (rear wing) Length

Wing area (total)





36 fl 114 in 23ft

27 ft M in 327 ft2



not known

Loaded given variously as


5,644 Ib

and, more likely, as

3,088 kg

6,808 Ib


Max speed at sea level

406 km/h

252 mph

at 4,200m (13,780 ft)

488 km/h

303 mph

No other data.

Gnome-Rhone K14) radial rated at 930hp. The tailwheel was fixed but the neat main units had single legs and retracted into the wing. The airframe was constructed mainly of wood, with skins of delta bakelite-impreg – nated veneer. Other features included a three-blade variable-pitch propeller, Hucks starter dogs on the propeller shaft, cooling
gills behind the engine cowling, a ventral ducted oil cooler (repeatedly modified) and aft-sliding pilot’s canopy.

Grushin Sh-Tandem, MAI-3

Подпись: Sh-Tandem (upper side view as originally built).
Grushin Sh-Tandem, MAI-3

Despite its extraordinary appearance this aircraft was clearly basically successful. Whether a developed version could have done better than the Ilyushin Shturmovik is problematical.


MiG-211 (2I-11)

This designation applied to two aircraft or­dered from Mikoyan to assist development of the Tu-144 supersonic transport. They were also called MiG-211 (I for Imitator), and Ana­log. Both aircraft were taken from the assem­bly line of the MiG-21S, but were powered by a later engine, the R-13-300, rated at 6,490kg (14,308 Ib). This engine could provide a large airflow for blown flaps, but as the Tu-144 (and thus the 2I-11) was a tailless delta no such flaps could be fitted. The wing was totally new, being of an ogival shape with the root chord extending over almost the entire length of the fuselage. The quite sharp leading edge had the remarkable sweep angle of 78°, be­fore curving out to a sweep angle of 55° over the outer wings. There was no droop (down­ward camber) along the leading edge. On the
trailing edge of each wing were four fully powered surfaces, the inner pair being plain flaps and the outer pair elevens (surfaces act­ing as both elevators and ailerons). The wing was incredibly thin, thickness/chord ratio being only 2.3 per cent inboard and 2.5 at the tip. Thus, the control-surface power units were faired in underneath, the outer fairings extending over the entire chord of the wing. The wing leading edge was made detachable so that different shapes could be tested. Among other modifications was an increase in fuel capacity to 3,270 litres (719 Imperial gallons), and of course there was no provi­sion for armament. Partly because of a ‘chick­en and egg’ situation, in which Mikoyan was uncertain precisely what shape to make the wing, whilst the purpose of the Analog was to teach Tupolev how to design the Tu-144’s wing, the programme ran at least a year too late to assist the design of the SST. Eventually

0 VGudkov flew 23-11/1 on 18th April 1968, withcivilregistrationSSSR-1966, the intended first-flight year. The Tu-144 pilots flew this air­craft before first flying the 44-00 (first Tu-144) on 31st December 1968, with the 23-11/1 ac­companying it as chase aircraft. The 23-11/2 differed mainly in that all eight wing movable surfaces were elevens. It was first flown by

1 Volk in late 1969. Later its starboard wing upper surface was tufted, photographed by a camera on the fin (later a second camera was added looking back from behind the canopy). Most of the second aircraft’s flying was done with a large LERX (leading-edge root extension) giving increased area from the new curved front portion. The 2I-11/2 car­ried out extensive aerodynamic and control research before going to the WS Museum at Monino. The 2I-11/1 was crashed on 28th July 1970 by an LII pilot performing unauthorised low-level aerobatics. Mikoyan did not act on the suggestion of the main 23-11 test pilots that he should develop a fighter version.


So different in appearance as hardly to be considered a MiG-21 version, these two air­craft were considered as prototypes of a pos­sible improved fighter. They resulted from a Kremlin decree of spring 1961 calling for ‘a version of the MiG-21 capable of destroying hostile aircraft at night or in bad weather’. This was intended to become the MiG-23. The key feature was use of the Volkov KB’s Sapfir 21 (Sapphire) radar. This was far too bulky to fit inside any possible MiG-21 nosecone, and the answer was to feed the engine by a com­pletely new inlet under the fuselage. There was an advantage in doing this in that the inlet could be given variable geometry with mov-

MiG-211 (2I-11)

MiG-211 (2I-11)

MiG-211 (2I-11)

Ye-6T/l (Ye-66A)


MiG-211 (2I-11)MiG-211 (2I-11)MiG-211 (2I-11)MiG-211 (2I-11)

MiG-211 (2I-11)

MIG-21PD (23-31)

MiG-211 (2I-11)


MiG-21 I/I (Analog)


MiG-211/2 (underside view)


MiG-211 (2I-11)MiG-211 (2I-11)

MiG-211 (2I-11)

MiG-211 (2I-11)

Photographs on the opposite page:

Top: MiG-21PD(23-31).

Centre left: MiG-211/1 with 44-00 (first prototype Tu-144).

Centre right: MiG-211/1.

Bottom: MiG-21 PD (23-31) at Domodedovo Air Parade, July 1967.

Photographs on this page:

Top left: MiG-211/2 with one wing tufted. Top right: Ye-8/2.

MiG-211 (2I-11)Right: Model of Ye-8 interceptor project.



MiG-211 (2I-11)

MiG-211 (2I-11)

Left: Ye-8 cutaway.


MiG-211 (2I-11)