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OKB-1 Alekseyev

Semen Mikhaylovich Alekseyev became a part of the glorious cohort of Chief designers, led by S.p. Korolyov, almost from the inception of the training programs for human space flight. [Do not to confuse Semyon Alekseyev with Rostislav Alekseyev – the father of modern wing-in-ground effect aircraft]. Semyon Mihajlovic Alexeyev was a specialist in the development of space and aviation life support products, chief designer of plant No. 918 State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on Defense Technology.

He was born on December 24, 1909, in the village of Vedernikovo, now the Yukhnov district of Kaluga region, in the family of a Russian peasant. The boy had a difficult childhood, Alekseyev at an early age he lost his parents. Early orphaned and brought up in an orphanage, then adopted by a working family Alekseevyh - distant relatives of his deceased parents. In 1926 he graduated from a seven-year school in Moscow. From 1926 he worked at the Proletarian Labor factory in Moscow. Since 1929 - a student of the evening department.

At the Moscow Aviation Institute he also worked in the design bureau at the same time as Tupolev. He was involved in the creation of "SSS-1" stratostat. While working at this enterprise, Semyon Mikhailovich participated in the creation of the pressurized cockpit of the USSR-1 stratosphere balloon , on which stratautauts Georgy Alekseevich Prokofiev made their flight on September 30, 1933, Konstantin Dmitrievich Godunov and Ernst Karlovich Birnbaum , who set the record - breaking climb to a height of 19 kilometers at that time . After graduating ( in 1935 ) from the Moscow Aviation Institute, S.M. Alekseev continued to work in the Bureau of Special Designs under the guidance of V.A. Chizhevsky.

Since 1933 he has been the head of the design team at the plant No. 39 in Moscow (the design bureau of V.A. Chizhevsky). In 1935 he graduated from the Moscow Aviation Institute and continued to work in the KB V.A.Chizhevsky. Since 1937 he worked in the design bureau of A.A. Dubrovin. Since 1939 he was in the Design Bureau-301 (future KB S.A.Lavochkin) under the leadership of V.I. Gorbunov.

Since 1940, Alexeyev worked in the Design Bureau-21 of the People's Aviation Industry Commission (Gorky, now Nizhny Novgorod) under the guidance of the outstanding aircraft designer S.A. Lavochkina. Alexeyev was lead designer, bureau chief, deputy chief designer. During the Great Patriotic War became one of S.A. Lavochkina's closest associates, made huge contributions in the creation of fighters La-5, La-5FN, LaGG-3, La-7, La-9, as well as in the organization of their mass production at the country's enterprises.

With the approval of S.A. Lavochkina, S.M.Alekseev led work on installing on the production aircraft lagg-3 new , powerful motor design AD Shvetsov, which, in fact, and was the birth of a new fighter LA-5 . With the arrival of this machine on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War, superiority over fascist aviation was won. At that time, solving the problem of further improving the flight characteristics of the new LA-7 fighte, by installing an additional, booster jet engine.


The Soviet Union had culled its share of German scientists at the end of World War Two, and those scientists would likely be doing for the USSR what America’s ex-Nazis were doing for it. During WWII, German aircraft designers put forth many aircraft project ideas, which ranged from the practical to the bizarre. Some of these ideas were ahead of their time and reached a more advanced design stage, and even affect aircraft today.

An interesting twist in the fate of Alekseyev came in the year 1948. From the memoirs of Boris Yevseyevich Chertok - "Rockets and people" there is a discussion of the work of German scientists and engineers in the KB on the island of Gradomlâ (Lake Seliger) on rocket and space programs. A similar scheme for solving staffing problems was involved in the aircraft construction. In the year 1948, Alekseyev became the leader and Chief Designer of OKB-1 in Dubna on the Bank of the Volga, which worked for aviation design and engineering firms "Junkers" and Henkel from Germany.

State Experimental Plant No. 1, where the German aviation engineers were gathered by the Soviets, was set up in 1946 based on the former Plant No. 458, which, during the war, built and repaired seaplanes and developed Yak-3 and Spitfire fighters for catapult launching under the guidance of designer I. V. Chetverikov. In 1946, Chetverikov and his assistants were transferred to Leningrad and General V. I. Abramov was appointed Plant No. 1 director.

The Germans were divided into two OKBs. OKB-l was based on the aircraft section of the Soviet-German Dessau enterprise. Engineer P.N.Obrubov and Goettingen University graduate German engineer F.Freitag were the deputies of chief designer B. Baade. The group of leading OKB-l employees also included Ju 287 bomber designer H.Wocke and Dessau plant chief engineer J.Haselhoff. Former Junkers aerodynamics department head Dr. G.Bockhaus and K.Strauss, who had a doctorate from Hannover University, supervised the aerodynamics research.

Interestingly, among the OKB specialists there was one Russian, Boris Fedorovich Shlippe. He was born in Moscow in 1903, immigrated to Germany where he graduated from the Polytechnic Institute in the city of Schermitz, and worked as an aviation engineer in Dessau. Apparently, he was a good specialist because, despite his "emigre" past, he headed an OKB section and was highly paid, receiving 5000 rubles a month.

Work with the Germans were characterized by different approaches and standards the design, which made the job very non-productive in general. There were exotic, far sighted developments, such as the cabin in which the pilot was lying-down. Such a solution gave a key benefit in pilot endurance. These studies formed the basis for later the flight of astronaut safety on ships "Vostok", "Sunrise" and "Union" and, including, in the case of one of the most difficult in this aspect of emergency situations-refusal in the last stage of the media on the removal and return of the landing apparatus for steep ballistic trajectories.

The aircraft designed by OKB-1 did not meet the tactical and technical requirements, and topics were closed. The work on fighter and bomber aircraft, including the wing-back sweep, was stopped due to the return to their homeland in Germany in 1950. In 1950, S.M. Alekseeva transferred to M.m. Gromov, where he led the sending of works on creation of aircraft-labs for fuel refuelling of aircraft systems in flight.

Creation of the "150" front bomber with sweptback wing became the last OKB-1 task. It was not a development of WWII German aircraft but represented an entirely new design using the latest achievements in science and technology of the second half of the 1940s. In addition to German specialists from experimental plant OKB-1, leading TsAGI scientists took part in this work. Among them were V. N. Belyaev, A.I.Makarevskiy A.K.Martinov, G.P.Svishchev, S.A.Khristianovich, and engineers from VIAM and some other organizations.

At the end of 1954 the OKB-1 (without SM Alexeev) at the request of the government of East Germany began designing the medium mainline passenger aircraft 152, designed for 72 passenger seats. The basis for this machine was the previously created bomber 150. After the repatriation of the German professionals, the OKB was closed. In May 1956. OKB-1 was moved to East Germany, where merged into the existing industrial association. Aircraft received the designation VEB-152 and its development continued.

OKB-1 aircraft

designation Type Status
EF-126 flight tested in 1946
EF-131high-altitude bomberexperiental (Junkers Ju-287V3) development stopped in 1947
EF-140high-altitude bomberexperiental , discontinued in 1948
EF-140-B/Rhigh-altitude bomber reconnaissance experiental
EF-140-Phigh-altitude reconnaissance experiental
EF-150long-range bomber experiental , nine flights in 1952
R-150long-range reconnaissanceproject
EF-152passenger derivative of the EF-150


After the War the main forces of OKB S.A. Lavochkina returned from evacuation to Moscow. In June 1946, after the return of S.A. Lavochkin from evacuation to Khimki near Moscow, he was appointed chief of the Design Bureau-21 in Gorky, which led the development of jet fighters. In those years, this was a fact of very high confidence. Approval for such a position occurred, most often, with the approval of the Supreme Commander. Under his leadership, four experimental types were created. None of them went into mass production, but a number of bold design and technical solutions were successfully implemented in the development other aircraft designers.

Alekseev, by order of the Minister of Aviation Industry Mikhail Vasilyevich Khrunichev No. 361ss of June 7, 1946, receives the position of Chief Designer of the newly created Design Bureau at Plant No. 21. Alekseev took the same office and the same desktop that Lavochkin had been working during the whole war.

The order emphasized that “the Council of Ministers of the USSR in a resolution dated May 31, 1946 No. 1145-471ss, with a view to deploying a wide front of work on jet technology, rearing new design personnel: 1. Approved the proposal of the Ministry of Aviation Industry on the organization of design bureaus for the design of experimental and experimental aircraft at plants No. 153 (Novosibirsk), No. 21 (Gorky), at the former factory No. 293 (Khimki) and the former glider factory in Tushino. 2. He instructed the Ministry of Aviation Industry (Comrade Khrunichev) to organize experimental design bureaus at these plants and arrange for designation of Commanders Antonova OK, Alekseeva SM, Bisnovat MR as chief designers at these plants. and Tsybin P.V., having given them tasks for the design and construction of prototypes and experimental prototypes of aircraft.”

In pursuance of this decision, the minister ordered: “To organize an experimental design bureau at plant No. 21 and appoint Alekseev SM to be chief designer, relieving him of work at plant No. 301.” The organizationally new design bureau consisted of a development department, a pilot production, a static test laboratory, and a flight experimental station. By the end of 1946, there were 454 people in OKB-21, including 24 workers, 174 engineers and 29 employees.

In 1946, OKB-21, among other works, was tasked with “designing, building a prototype, and proceeding with the production of parts for the I-21 aircraft designed by chief designer S.M. Alekseeva." Alekseev, given the task to design and build a twin-engine two-seat fighter-interceptor, with a significant range and duration of flight with powerful weapons, begins the development of a series of new, jet fighter aircraft, the first of which was I-211 , then its modifications followed: 212, I-215, I-216 and I-217. 4 types of prototypes are being built. A number of fundamentally new engineering solutions for domestic aviation are being introduced on these machines; a number of bold design and technical solutions have been successfully implemented in the development of other aircraft designers. In particular, - 2 jet engines, a bicycle-type chassis and others.

Such well-known designers of the Gorky aircraft plant as K.V. took part in the work on I-211 - I-215 aircraft. Slepnev, A.Ya. Marinenko, M.N. Ponomarev. The first flight on I-215 was performed by the same A.A. Popov. Then, such famous aces as S.N. took part in the tests. Anokhin, M.L. Gallay, I.T. Ivashchenko, A.N. Efimov and I.E. Fedorov.

A number of fundamentally new engineering solutions for domestic aviation were introduced on these machines : two jet engines, a bicycle-type chassis, and others. Operated by renowned test pilots and S.N. Anokhin , M.L. Gallai , A.A.Popov and others, I-211 and I-215 demonstrated high flight performance. Their adoption in mass production was hindered only by the remark of I.V. Stalin about the possibility of problems with engine production. All these fighters were twin-engine. So, the difficulties of the post-war years affected the fate of these most interesting developments. Note that the twin-engine circuit for machines of this class has become ubiquitous in later times. Despite the fact that all work on these aircraft was phased out due to the closure of the plant, a number of bold design and technical solutions were successfully implemented in the development of other aircraft designers.

The difficulties of post-war years reflected on the fate of these exciting developments.

OKB-21 aircraft

designation Type Status
UTI-212trainer fighterproject
I-215interceptorexperiental (I-211 with engines "Derwent")
I-215Dinterceptorexperiental (understudy-215, on the bike rack)
I-216interceptorproject (I-211 with 75-mm guns and modified wing)
I-217interceptorproject (I-211 with swept wings)
SH-218attack planeproject

On June 21, 1948, Order No. 440c of the Minister of Aviation Industry was issued, according to which it was necessary to liquidate the design bureau at factory No. 21 for pilot aircraft construction, transferring personnel, areas and equipment to serial plant No. 21. By the same order, the construction of an experimental attack aircraft was excluded from the experimental work plan. The entire "fighter theme" at that moment was concentrated in two organizations - MiG and Yak. Alekseev with the engine M-251 ( I-218 ), as well as fighter escorts designed by Alekseev and Pashinin.

Since 1948, he has been the head of the Design Bureau-1 of the experimental aviation plant No. 1 in the village of Ivankovo (now the city of Dubny) of the Moscow region. There under his leadership fighter jets were created on the basis of the development of the designers taken out of Germany, who had previously worked for the aviation companies Ah Junkers and Henkel. But the aircraft created in this Design Bureau creation of a fighter and the bomber, including the one with the reverse sweep wing, were also not launched into mass production. Work with the Germans was characterized by different approaches and standards in the design, which made the work very unproductive in general.

There were also exotic, in our opinion, developments, such as the cockpit of the aircraft, in which the pilot is lying down - face down. Such a solution, providing avoiding the fatal coincidence of the vector of inertial forces with the direction of the main, main human blood vessels, gave a key advantage in the portability of aerobatic overloads. Note that all this without the use of any anti-overload suits. Subsequently, the direction of work on the study of overload tolerance and the search for the best flight manager and astronaut became one of the leading and successful accelerations of our enterprise in the physiological laboratory.

In 1950, German specialists were returned to Germany, and the Design Bureau was disbanded. Since 1950 Alexeyev was Head of the design and production complex M.M. Gromov Flight Testing Institute (City of Shchukovskiy in Moscow Region). In this position, he headed the direction of work on the creation of aircraft laboratories , aircraft fueling systems in flight and anti -loading facilities.

In the early 1950s, the Government of the USSR, it was decided on the creation in the system of the aviation industry specialized research and design office, aimed at the solution of questions of creation of life-support systems, altitude flight and the means of salvation at accidents of aircraft and aircraft refueling systems in flight.

Since October 1952 he was the chief designer of the same plant No. 918 in the village of Tomilino in the Moscow region (now NPP "Star" name after Academician G.I. Severina). The company was tasked with developing rescue and life support systems for the safety of high-altitude aircraft crews, and a year later space exploration. The team of designers S.M. Alekseev formed from scratch. Under his leadership, life support systems were created animals for research suborbital and orbital space flights in the second half of the 1950s, spacesuits and catapult chairs for all Soviet manned spacecraft, including those used in the flights of the world's first cosmonaut Y.A. Gagarin and the first in the world female cosmonaut V.V. Tereshkova. The designer created the world's first spacesuit for work in outer space, tested in the orbit of A.A. Leonov. He supervised the creation of life support systems for manned spacecraft Voskhod-2 (under his leadership also created a system Soyuz, a series of catapult seats for both spacecraft and Soviet jets.

For outstanding service in the creation of missile technology samples and the successful flight of man into outer space by decree of the Presidency of the Supreme Council of the USSR ("closed") of 17 June 1961 Alexeyev Semyon Mikhailovich was awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labour with the award of the Order of Lenin and the gold medal "Serp and Hammer".

After a major industrial conflict in January 1964, he was removed from his post, but by the decision of the new chief designer Severina left at the company and appointed chief designer and deputy responsible manager. Since 1974 he was lead designer of the year. He continued his active creative work and made an invaluable contribution to the consolidation of the leadership position of the NPP "Star" in the field of creation spacesuits and catapults for space and jet aviation.

Since 1987 Alexeyev retired. He was the author of a number of scientific works and inventions. He lived in the hero city of Moscow. He died on 4 February 1993. He was buried in The Vagankov Cemetery in Moscow. He was awarded the Order of Lenin (17.06.1961), two Orders of the Red Banner of Labour (1944, 12.07.1957), the Order of the Red Star (31.10.1941), the Medal for Labor Valor (21.06.1943), and other medals. A memorial plaque of S.M.Alexeyev has been installed in the main building of the "Star" nPP in the village of Tomilino.

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Page last modified: 25-10-2021 17:30:27 ZULU