UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Semyon Alekseyevich Lavochkin

Semyon Alekseyevich Lavochkin (11/09/1900 - 09/06/1960) was a Soviet aircraft designer, Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1958), Major General Aviation Engineering Services (1944), twice Hero of Socialist Labor (1943, 1956). He graduated from the Moscow Higher Technical School (1927). After defending his graduation project Lavochkin sent to KB Richard. He worked there for long - gone with the Deputy Richard, Lavilem in BOC (Bureau of new designs). After closing offices Seeds Alexeyevich transferred to CDB, the brigade V.A.Chizhevskogo. A year later he was in KB D.P.Grigorovicha, and then was "seduced" by L.V.Kurchevsky, proposing to develop, together with S.N.Lyushinym, a gun fighter. There Tupolev noticed Lavochkin, and invited him to work in the General Directorate of the aviation industry (SAC). Since 1939 he was a chief designer in aircraft, and from 1956, a Chief Designer.

The chief designer of OKB-301 was also involved in the implementation of advanced technologies in the production of its machines, advocated an increase in production lines, and closely interacted with specialized institutes. Here are some final figures: six production plants in 1941-1945 built 6528 LaGG-3, 10003 La-5 and 5905 La-7 (including training modifications), or 37% of all Soviet fighters produced during the Great Patriotic War.

With their design Lavochkin first widely used in the USSR new extra strong material - delta wood. Remaking LaGG under a more powerful engine Shevtsova ASH-82 the aircraft was saved from removal from production. In September 1942 the first production of La-5 were transferred to Stalingrad. Further development of this aircraft began fighter La-5F, La-5 FN, La-7, widely used in the Great Patriotic War. The reliable air-cooled engine had high performance in a wide range of altitudes, and also provide protection for the pilot in the forward hemisphere of fire. Fighters designed by Lavochkin and I.N.Kozhedub knocked out 62 Nazi aircraft.

The development of the La-7, the steel tactical fighter La-9 and metal fighter escort La-11, were issued in the 2nd half of the 1940s in a large series. In July-August 1942, the LaGG-3 try to install a ramjet design of M.M.Bondaryuka. As established in late 1943 under the leadership of the branch KB S.M.Alekseeva on La-7 and La-9 were tested various tail boosters: RD-1x3 Glushko, ramjet I.A.Merkulova PuVRD and V. N.Chelomeya. In 1945, they designed the first Soviet turbojet fighter, the La-150 with a Junkers Jumo 004B turbojet.

The era of jet aviation was approaching, and Lavochkin was able to correctly determine the prospects, followed all world innovations in the development of machines with jet engines and accelerators, was the first to put a swept wing on a jet fighter. In the postwar years under the leadership of Lavochkin, a number of production and experimental jet fighters, including La-160 - the first domestic aircraft with swept wings. On December 26, 1948, on an experimental aircraft of its design La-176, a pilot - tester Oleg Sokolovsky, having dispersed the car on a dive, reached a speed of 1105 km / h at an altitude of 7500 m, i.e. exceeded the speed of sound first in the Soviet Union. The La-15 fighter, released a small series (500 units), was the last production aircraft designed by Lavochkin.

Lavochkin's team developed the La-17, the first unmanned aerial vehicle in the USSR, launched into series in 1954. It was produced in many modifications until the 1990s. The machine, flying at low altitude, was capable of taking photographs.

Under the leadership of Lavochkin created a number of samples of rocketry. In September 1950 the OKB-301 began work on anti-aircraft missile V-300 ("205") for the complex of "Berkut" (Moscow air defense) and T-300 ("210") for the Tu-4. Already on 25 July 1951, on the State Central range, located not far from the Kapustin Yar, produced the first launch of the "205." A system for 1954-55, renamed S-25, was adopted and put on pilot duty. In 1955 OKB S.Lavochkina started designing anti-aircraft missile system "Dal". It was awarded the factory index "400". In 1958-62 period, it passed the tests, but was not accepted for service.

the merits of Semyon Alekseevich in the development of the "Berkut" were not limited only to the creation of a missile defense system. He proposed to develop a supersonic interceptor with radio-controlled missiles (first without a homing mechanism, then homing). This would become the aviation component of the system - the La-250 airborne interception complex. According to the terms of reference issued in 1954 for a long-range all-weather single-seat interceptor with purely rocket armament, the main thing in it was to be an air-to-air guided missile, the design of which began at OKB-301 back in 1950 under the designation G-300.

In 1954 Semen Lavochkin launched two ambitious projects – development of a intercontinental supersonic cruise missile “Burya” (The Storm) (La X "article 350") and design of a new anti-aircraft air defence system “Dal’” (The Distance), which mainly consisted of long range (up to 500 kilometres) surface-to-air missiles for destroying high-speed flying targets. The designer worked on the “Burya” project till 1960 and ended it with successful tests. While designing, the engineer solved a number of very difficult technical and design tasks, such as breaking the sound barrier, providing steady flight at velocities, exceeding 3500 kilometres per hour, building framework, able to operate under extremely high temperatures, and etc.

And he had a very tight schedule for doing all that, since the Soviet Union was in the “cold war” state with the United States of America. The project overcame all difficulties and had 18 successful test launches. “Burya”’s analog, American cruise missile “Navajo”, which was designed in the USA between 1961-1963, was far away even from the stage of flight tests, since technical difficulties, which Anerican designers experienced, were enormous.

Lavochkin, who in 1956 was appointed general designer for aircraft construction at OKB-301, and in 1958 was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, was full of ideas and plans. However, they were not destined to be realized. He was not distinguished from childhood in good health, and hard work, including at the Sary-Shagan and Vladimirovka training grounds, where the temperature in the shade reached + 35–40°C, finally blew him up; the chief designer's heart failed on June 9, 1960; he did not live three months to reach his 60th birthday. Lavochkin died suddenly of a heart attack at the site in Sary-Shagan, where article "400" underwent tests. Last launches of the “Burya” missile were performed without its father.

By the decision of the government, OKB-301 received a new name - Machine-Building Plant. S.A. Lavochkin, known today as NPO Lavochkin. Semen Lavochkin was the founder of a design school, which exists and flourishes in the present days. The enterprise, which he created, is a successful design bureau, which proudly bears the name of a gifted engineer with a great capacity for work. People, who were lucky to work with Semen Lavochkin, now pass their knowledge and experience to further generations of aircraft designers.

After Khrushchev's speech in December 1960 at the session of the Supreme Council on the inexpediency of development of aviation, the Resolution of the CPSU Central Committee and USSR Council of Ministers, ceased all work on promising new aircraft. Lavochkin OKB closed work on the all-weather interceptor La-250 "Anaconda" and MCS "Tempest", and KB Lavochkin transferred into the newly formed Ministry of General Machine Building. From the end of December 1962 to November 1964 and OKB Lavochkin pilot plant were temporarily separated and completely reoriented to the subjects of OKB-52 Chelomei, the bureau became knownas branch N 3 of OKB-52.

President Vladimir Putin visited the S.A.Lavochkin Scientific-Production Enterprise in Khimki, Moscow Regionon December 3, 2007. Putin visited the spacecraft assembly and testing workshops and the enterprise’s and the Federal Space Agency’s information stands. The President gave a positive assessment of the enterprise’s work and said that the Security Council will soon examine plans for developing the country’s space sector. Mr Putin said the development program for the sector should cover the period through to 2030–2040. Following the visit, the President answered questions from the media about the State Duma election that had just taken place.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:22:46 ZULU