Gudkov Gu-1

Подпись: OKB drawing of Gu-1

Purpose: To create a more manoeuvrable fighter.

Design Bureau: Brigade led by Mikhail Ivanovich Gudkov, Moscow.

Gudkov was one of the three partners who created the LaGG design bureau, later led by Lavochkin only. In early 1940 Gudkov be­came convinced that the Bell P-39 Airacobra, with the engine behind the cockpit, had a su­perior configuration. It gave the pilot a better view, and by placing the heavy engine in the centre of the aircraft greatly reduced the long­
itudinal moment of inertia, and thus should improve manoeuvrability. As well as working on supposed improved derivatives of the LaGG, Gudkov managed to obtain funding for a mid-engined fighter in early 1942, as well as a contract with the A A Mikulin bureau for the supply of an engine. The resulting Gu-1, also called the Gu-37, was completed in the early summer of 1943. After prolonged taxi trials test pilot A I Nikashin said ‘It seems glued to the ground’. On 12th June 1943 Nikashin at­tempted the first flight. The Gu-1 reached about 200m (650ft) but then appeared to sideslip into the ground, Nikashin being killed. Gudkov’s brigade was disbanded.

The configuration followed the Airacobra exactly, with the major difference that the Gu-1 was constructed largely of wood, with bakelite-ply skin. Metal parts included the fuselage back to the firewall between the cockpit and engine (aligned with the front spar), which was based on a steel-tube truss with skin of removable Dl panels, Dl wing spars and Dl control surfaces. The wing was of 1V-10 Type V-2 aerofoil profile, and was fit­ted with automatic leading-edge slats and hy­draulically driven split flaps. The engine was an AM-37 rated at l,380hp (the designer’s notes on the preliminary drawing show that he wanted an AM-41). Carburettor inlets were in the wing roots, and long inlets further out­board served the radiators inside the wing ahead of the inwards-retracting main landing gears. The drive was taken through a steel tube of 120mm (4%in) diameter to the reduc­tion gear in the nose. The long nose gear re­tracted back into a bay in the lower part of the nose. Armament comprised a massive Taubin 37mm cannon firing through the pro­peller hub, fed by an 81 – round magazine (sur­prisingly large for this calibre) and six ShKAS machine guns in the fuselage and wing roots.

Few documents on the Gu-1 have been found. One is led to conclude that either the wing or vertical tail was too small, or possibly both.

Dimensions Span Length Wing area

10.0m 10.68m 20.0 nf

32 ft 9% in 35 ft 4% in 215ft2




8,250 Ib



10,163 Ib


Landing speed (estimate)

195 km/h

121 mph

No other data.

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