Aviation Industry - Great Patriotic War
Air power was a negligible factor in the Civil War between the Reds and the Whites (1918-21) as aircraft were scarce, the little fuel available was unbelievably awful, and the combat theaters were enormous. During the New Economic Policy (NEP) era (1921-28) the Red Army as a whole and the air force in particular developed slowly and erratically. The new regime, as befitted a government that prided itself on its scientific outlook, was airminded. As early as December 1918, Lenin helped Professor Nikolay Yevgorovich Zhukovsky establish an institution devoted to research and development in aeronautics, the famous TsAGI (Tsentral'nyy aero-gidrodinamicheskiy institut), the Central Institute for Aerodynamics and Hydrodynamics.
In 1923, GAZ No. 3 “Red Pilot” in Petrograd began the serial production of the U-1 training aircraft. At the same plant, Grigorovich DP resumed his design activity, releasing the flying boat M-24. In the years 1925-1926. GAZ No. 1 built ten five-passenger PM-1 passenger aircraft, which marked the beginning of the creation of the Civil Air Fleet. Established in 1922 under TsAGI KB Tupolev A.N., having begun with the construction of the ANT-1 experimental machines (a mixed wooden-metal construction) and the ANT-2 (all-metal construction), the P-3 all-metal reconnaissance aircraft and the TB-1 twin-engine heavy bomber were launched in 1925. In the same period, Yakovlev A.S. began his design activities in the Osoaviahima system. In 1926, organizational changes affected the very structure of Soviet aircraft construction. The creation in 1925 of the State Trust of the aviation industry (Aviatrust) called for the consolidation of the industry. And in September 1926, the organization of the Central Design Bureau (TsKB) Aviatrust followed, which included the experimental departments for land and sea aircraft. To coordinate the experimental work in 1926, the Central Design Bureau was established at Aviatrest with experimental departments based on production plants. Nikolai Polikarpov was appointed the head of the first department, the second was Dmitry Grigorovich. At the end of 1926, the Department of Land Aircraft Construction (OSS) received the assignment of Aviatrust to design a new army reconnaissance aircraft, which was to be called the P-5.
One of the first planes built at TsAGI was Tupolev's light, single-seat, low-wing monoplane powered by a 45 hp Anzani engine and called the ANT-l. Between 1920 and 1928 Soviet aircraft designers turned out about forty types of planes, including experimental as well as those which went into production. About twenty of the aircraft types went into serial output. In 1930, the Moscow Aviation Plant No. 39 became its production base. At the same plant in 1929-1931 worked TsKB-39 OPT under the leadership of Polikarpov and Grigorovich. In the same period, Yakovlev A.S. began his design activities in the Osoaviahima system.
The Soviet regime throughout the 1920s was able to get some support from the Germans in the training of personnel and in the development of air tactics as the result of the collaboration between the Red Army and the Reichawehr. Both were anti-Versailles, a treaty that sought to emasculate the German military and to quarantine the Soviet regime behind a cordon sanitaire.
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