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Tupolev Design Bureau

Aviation Scientific Technical Complex 
named after A.N.Tupolev (AHTK) 

On the 22nd of October, 2002 all world aviation community celebrated the glorious eightieth anniversary of the oldest Russian and world's aircraft Design Bureau which was founded and headed for a long time by Andrey N.Tupolev - a prominent aircraft designer of the XX-th century.

The Russian attraction for giant aircraft continued after Igor Sikorsky departed following the revolution. It is interesting that the work was continued under the guidance of A.N.Tupolev -- a name still prominently associated with large Soviet aircraft. Tupolev had been trained in the early 1900's by N.Y.Zhukovskii who was called "the father of Russian aviation" by V.I.Lenin. Among others trained along with Tupolev were S.V.Illushin and A.S.Yakolev. Lenin kept a watchful eye on Russian aviation -- he guided the use of aviation on the war fronts; he released resources for modernization of aircraft production plants; he issued instructions to Zhukovskii in December 1918 for the organization of the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI); he issued a decree on air traffic which laid the foundations for Soviet air law in January 1921; authorized domestic air travel in May 1921 and international air travel (Germany) in May 1922 using the llya Mourometz.

The process of formation and development of Design Bureau named after A.N.Tupolev differs from that of other native aircraft Design Bureaus. First of all Tupolev Design Bureau became fundamental continuation and realization of all advanced trends being in Russian aviation science and technology at the beginning of the XX-th century. The Design Bureau foundation was preceded by rapid growth of interest in aeronautics and aviation in Russia. Works of N. E. Zhukovskiy became a striking confirmation for it. In 1909 N.E.Zhukovskiy started giving lectures on "Aeronautics" and teaching in students' aeronautical study group at Emperor Technical School. Among them there was a student of great inellectual capabilites and huge interest in anything new in aviation - it was A.N.Tupolev.

Nine years later in 1919 Tupolev brilliantly defended his diploma project on "Experience of seaplane development on the basis of wind tunnel test data" having by this moment a substantial experience in aerodynamic investigations and in study of real Russian and foreign aircraft designs.

On the 1st of December, 1918 TsAGI (Central Aerodynamic State Institute) starts its activity. N.E.Zhukovskiy was elected as a Chairman of Board in TsAGI. A.N.Tupolev headed Aviation Division including sea aviation sub-Division. A.Tupolev believed that his most important task was to design reliable aircraft for our country that would be maximally prepared for serial production. It was possible to realize this task by intensive introduction of all-metal structures into practice of native aircraft industry.

In Autumn, 1922 a Committee on building metal aircraft was established at TsAGI. A.Tupolev was elected as its Chairman. Employees of TsAGI Aviation Division were included into said Committee. Thus a team was formed having completely defined goal - to create advanced aircraft for Russia. The team headed by A.Tupolev turned soon into one of the most powerful in the world Design Bureaus. As early as October 1922, the Tupolev Design Bureau began its work at TsAGI [Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute]. It huddled in facilities unsuitable for design and production. No steps had been taken to create normal working conditions for the design bureau. Knowing Tupolev’s perseverance in creating a solid base at TsAGI for all-metal aircraft construction, the institute’s leadership sought to prevent him from being involved in construction.

Therefore, when, in August 1923, the TsAGI collegium created a construction commission, which included leading institute employees — S. A. Chaplygin (chairman of the board), I. I. Sidorin, A. A. Arkhangelsky, N. I. Vorogushin, A. N Tupolev, a supporter of the ideas of N. Ye. Zhukovsky, was not included in it. In May 1924, the chairman of the Supreme Economic Council approved the Regulations on the TsAGI construction commission in a slightly more expanded format. But this time there was no place in it for Tupolev. It was hardly a coincidence.

Tupolev did not give up. It was difficult to make him turn away from the path that he considered the only correct one. Suddenly, a serious ally in the face of the Air Force came to the rescue. The air fleet needed, and urgently, reliable all-metal combat aircraft. The largest specialist in this field was A.N. Tupolev and his design bureau. STC Air Force appealed to TsAGI with a request for the development and construction of prototypes of combat aircraft, and TsAGI could not refuse such a customer.

There also existed in TsAGI a research and construction department led by A.A.Arkhangelsk with a small machine shop. He was engaged in the manufacture of propellers and the construction of snowmobiles. There was no doubt that the timely and logical idea of ??the merger of these two departments into one was submitted precisely by A. N. Tupolev. For without such a merger, TsAGI could not cope with the orders of the Air Force. And to decide what to do to fulfill them, as a result, on October 14, 1924, both departments were merged into one — under the authority of A.N.Tupolev.

In those difficult years for the country, the victory of Tupolev’s point of view about the need to unite theoretical developments and their practical implementation in a single organizational structure - TsAGI - turned out to be extremely fruitful.

On December 3, 1930, the head of TsAGI S.A.Chaplygin affirmed Tupolev as chief designer and head of the ASSC. But on November 20, 1931, S.V.Ilyushin was appointed the head of the Central Design Bureau [TsKB], and A.N.Tupolev was appointed Deputy Head. It remained a mystery to whom, why, in the name of what this was needed. There was a workable team with a reputable, world-famous leader in the aviation world, with a clear program for the development of heavy military and civilian all-metal aircraft construction. Instead, a conglomerate of design bureaus of various directions is created under the leadership of a person who had not yet manifested himself in the field of aviation design thought. A normal explanation for this is not found. But there is an explanation based on the abnormal logic of the time.

First, the first five-year plan ended. Its facade was generously decorated by followers of Count Potemkin. A wave of giantomania rolled through the country. Everything was built or created only the biggest, huge, "worthy of the era" scale. According to reports, all industries have achieved tremendous success, reached new frontiers; there was no need to remain in the shadows and the aviation industry. In it, the greatest achievements belonged to the ASC TsAGI. At that time the preparations for the serial production of the four-engined TB-3 bombers were being completed. Not like Europe, America had no such machines yet. It was just right to attach other CBs to the ASC, killing two birds with one stone: the successes of the ASC TsAGI immediately became the successes of the TsKB TsAGI.

Secondly, with the approaching victory of socialism, according to the leader’s theory, the class struggle had to be sharply intensified. The first "confirmations" of this theory had already happened: the Industrial Party case thundered, the large workers who “wrecked” the aviation industry N.N.Polikarpov, D.P.Grigorovich, B.S.Stechkin, A.V.Nadashkevich, I.M.Kostkin, in total more than 20 people.

And when they looked at A.N.Tupolev from class positions, they could not see anything worthwhile. Though poor, he was a nobleman. One of his brothers was a priest who stupefied the people with the poison of religion. Once in sight of the royal gendarmerie, a student Tupolev did not join the revolutionary students, and went to his estate to engage in agriculture. All this indicated that it was impossible to trust Tupolev with the leadership of the country's largest design organization.

From the point of view of personnel policy, S.V.Ilyushin, the newly appointed leader was in perfect order: the son of a poor peasant, with working hardening, a member of the RCP(b) since 1918.

Fortunately, in January 1932, TsAGI was transferred from the competence of the USSR Supreme Economic Council to the NKTP. To guide the aircraft in the system NKTP organized SUAI. How nice it is when smart business leaders are at the head. The people's commissar G.K.Ordzhonikidze and the head of the GUAP, P.I.Baranov, were able to look into the root of the matter, as Kozma Prutkov advised. It was important for them not the origin of the person, not the infamous “and what your parents did before 1917”, but the ability to perform the assigned work well and initiatively. And here all the advantages were on the side of A.N.Tupolev.

Order No. 10 of the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute of January 13, 1933 released S.V.Ilyushin from the duties of the Deputy Head of TsAGI in view of his appointment as Deputy Director and Head of Design Bureau of Experimental Aircraft Building at the PO Box 411.

On September 5, 1933, Peter Ionovich Baranov, head of the SUAI, was killed in a plane crash. This loss was hard on the fate of the aviation industry. M.M.Kaganovich, the brother of the all-powerful Lazar Kaganovich, was appointed the new chief of the GUAP. Unfortunately, his knowledge, organizational skills, erudition were significantly lower than that of P.I.Baranov.

With the passage of time, Ordzhonikidze made it clear that it was necessary to introduce into the GUAP system a senior specialist with extraordinary thinking who was not indifferent to the fate of aviation. And he decided to use the engineering and organizational skills of Tupolev in full, across the industry. On January 5, 1936, by the order of the NKTP, Tupolev was appointed First Deputy Head and Chief Engineer of the SUAI [General Aviation Industry Directorate of the People’s Commissariat of Heavy Industry], with the dismissal of the Deputy Head of TsAGI, but leaving Andrei Nikolayevich the Chief Designer and the immediate head of the TsAGI experimental aircraft.

By that time, it became obvious that the future joint activities of the KB and TsAGI in the existing structure were holding back the potential possibilities of one and the other. Therefore, on July 1, 1936, by the order of the NKTP, signed by Tupolev from TsAGI, the ZOK and the design department were separated.

Having set the task of creating the best airplanes in the world, Andrei Nikolayevich with collectives of design bureaus and departments of TsAGI carried out enormous scientific and experimental work, and by the mid-thirties the design bureau of A.N. Tupolev began developing a new class of light and heavy all-metal airplanes with smooth skin wings, cantilever monoplanes with a retractable landing gear and a mechanized wing, in many ways advancing aircraft of capitalist countries.

On February 19, 1937, the country's newspapers came out with a mourning frame. A government report said that on February 18, the comrade-in-arms of the great leader Sergo Ordzhonikidze died suddenly.

In the evening of October 21, 1937, people in civilian clothes entered Tupolev's office in the GUAP building on Nogin Square. The office of Beria discovered and "neutralized" the next "enemy of the people." Over the country rushed inaudible to the people and the more terrible for their lives the death knell of the night calls. The name of Tupolev disappeared from the aviation lexicon of the country. It turned out that in the USSR there were no planes known to millions of people by the designation ANT. Instead, they began to talk about planes with the abbreviation TsAGI: TsAGI-25, TsAGI-4, etc ...

In April 1939, the Tupolev group was transferred from Bolshevo to Moscow to the KOSOS building, where the groups of V.M.Petlyakov and V.M.Myasishchev were already working. In essence, these groups were real CBs, named for the purpose of secrecy of the STO. It was possible to secure even more after the literal abbreviation "SRT" was replaced with the numeric - "100". The Petlyakov Design Bureau was the first to go to KOSOS and the STO or "100" began to call it. Myasishchevtsy came second and received the code "102". Tupolev were the third and ate special "103". For some incomprehensible reason, the fourth Tomashevich design bureau, soon organized at KOSOS, received the cipher code not “104”, but “110”.

After the Great Patriotic war A.Tupolev suggested that the date of 22 October 1922 was adopted as the date of the Design Bureau foundation.

Tupolev became the head of a design team in 1922 that produced many aircraft types. Among the activities related to large aircraft were:

  • First all-metal aircraft, based on lessons learned from Junkers (Germany), included the ANT-2 (1924) and ANT-3 (R-3) (1926). The ANT-4 (TB-1), built in 1925, was a twin-engine heavy bomber with a low cantilever wing, clearly derived from Junkers, that could carry a maximum payload of 3.5 tons or 1 ton of bombs for a range of 850 miles. The TB-1 was the first airplane to be equipped with boosters for reducing the takeoff distance. The TB-1 set the pattern for large Soviet heavy bombers through the 1930's. At the end of its military life, the ANT-4's were turned over to the Civil Air Fleet (about 1936).
  • The ANT-9 (PS-9) was an all-metal trimotor ten-passenger airplane introduced into airline service in May 1929.
  • The ANT-6 (TB-3) was a heavy four-engine bomber that entered service in 1932, several years before the American B-17. The TB-3 weighed about 40,000 pounds and could carry a maximum of 5 tons of bombs or 2 tons of bombs for a range of about 1,550 miles. The TB-3 was also used to transport paratroopers and in maneuversat Kiev in 1936, in front of foreign military observers, a fleet of TB-3's disgorged some 600 paratroopers.
  • The ANT-16 (TB-4), designed to carry about a 10-ton bombload (twice that of the TB-3), had six engines--four mountedon the wing leading-edge and two mounted in tandemabove the fuselage. The wing span was about 180 feet. The maiden flight wasmadeon July 3, 1933, but serious vibration problems of the aft body and tail brought the program to a halt by September.
  • The ANT-14 Pravda was a huge 5-engine 36-passenger aircraft (about 1932) that was used in airline service for 10 years.

During post-war period the Design Bureau worked on development of long-range bomber TU-4 - the first "native" nuclear weapon carrier aircraft which mostly defined a revolutionary rebuilding of native aircraft industry. After introduction of jet engines into aviation the Design Bureau undertook building of heavy jet high-speed aircraft for native Air Force and civil air fleet.

Of obvious success of the Design Bureau and the whole military aviation was appearance in the 50s of TU-16 and TU-95 heavy jet bombers and missile carriers family which mostly defined USSR - USA parity during "cold war" period. The first native passenger aircraft TU-104 built on the basis of combat and jet machines opened the era of regular passenger flights by jet-powered aircraft.

In 1952, the first prototype Tu-95 ["95/1"], equipped with 8 2TV-2F engines, was built at Plant Nr. 156. The experimental factory ZOK was based at TsAGI from 28 August 1931. It was separated 05 June 1936 and received number 116 on 30 December 1936. In 1940 Zavod 290 was split off for OKB Kamov. It merged with Zavod 81 on 17 July 1941 (GKO), and on 19 July 1941 it was numbered Zavod 81-156. It evacuated as Zavod 81-156 in July 1941 to Zavod 166, in Omsk. The Moscow site repaired aircraft until it was restored as Zavod 156 in 1942 and ordered to produce wings for Il-2 . The Tupolev OKB returned 1943, and Zavod 225 split off in 1943. From from 30 April 1966 it was known as MMZ 'Opyt', while from 30 August 1989 it was known as ANTK im. Tupoleva. From 26 August 1997 it became known as AO 'Aviatsionyi nauchno-tekhnicheskii kompleks (ANTK) im. A.N.Tupoleva'

In late 50s - early 60s the Design Bureau worked hard on mastering of technique of supersonic flight. At this time long-range supersonic bomber and missile carrier TU-22 and supersonic loitering interceptor-fighter TU-128 were tested and delivered to Air Force.

In the 60s the Design Bureau was busy with design and development of new mid-range passenger aircraft TU-154 which in the 70s replaced the first generation passenger jets and with creation of the first in the world supersonic passenger aircraft TU-144.

A mid-range TU-154 a/c which replaced our first passenger jets TU-104, Il-18 and An-10, became a turning point for our Design Bureau in development of advanced passenger aircraft. For the first time in the Design Bureau a passenger aircraft was designed which was not based on military prototype completely. This made it possible to build high-efficient passenger aircraft which economic and operational characteristics combined with good performance were at level of the best world analogues. TU-154 performed its first flight in 1968, and already in early 70s said machines were intensively operated on routes of our country and beyond the USSR. Till the end of the XX-th century more than 900 TU-154 a/c were produced in several key versions. TU-154M was the most perfect version of the TU-154 aircraft which economic efficiency was significantly increased due installation of advanced and more efficient engines and improved aerodynamics. Different versions of TU-154 a/c are still operated in Russia and abroad.

Creation of the first in the world supersonic passenger aircraft TU-144 is a separate glorious chapter of the Design Bureau history. In the course of TU-144 development a number of most complicated scientific and technical problems of supersonic passenger aviation was solved. It allowed to be optimistic about future progress of this aspect of passenger air transportation and especially about creation of supersonic passenger aircraft of the second generation.

In late 60s the Design Bureau worked on design of multi-mode long-range missile-carrying bomber with variable sweep TU-22M which became a basis of native long-range and Navy aviation. These aircraft gradually replaced subsonic TU-16 and supersonic TU-22.

In the 70s after A.Tupolev's death the company (from 1966 Moscow it was called Plant "Opyt") was headed by his son, Alexei A.Tupolev. Next decades the Design Bureau was busy with designing multi-mode intercontinental missile carrier TU-160, worked on unmanned reconnaissance complexes of new generation "Reis" and "Strizh", deployed research and development works on passenger aircraft of new generation that resulted in building mid-range TU-204 a/c and short-range TU-334 a/c which had to define the face of native civil aviation on boundary of the XX-th and XXI centuries.

The 1990s of course did not spare the Design Bureau. Average age of employees increased, intelligible and active persons left for "business'. But the Design Bureau has not died. In now days it put into the world a family of mid-range aircraft TU-204/214. TU-334-100 a/c - baseline aircraft of family of short-range aircraft - is currently under certification process. Work on regional TU-324 aircraft is in full swing. Military 'Tupolev" complexes are now being upgraded.

Despite of all subjective and objective difficulties in life of the Design Bureau and its personnel in the 90s several versions of mid-range TU-204 a/c entered serial production and operation; the newest short-range TU-334 a/c was built, its tests began. It was intended to replace obsolete airplanes of similar ones of previous generation.

For 80 years the Design Bureau designed and developed more than 300 projects of air vehicles of different types, small aircraft and airsledges. Almost 90 projects were embodied in metal and about 40 projects were realized in serial production. More than 18 thousands aircraft with "TU" logo were lifted in to the skies of our country in the XX-th century. Hundreds of "TU" aircraft were exported and showed excellent operational characteristics. To-day a substantial portion of aircraft passengers in Russia and in CIS are transported by Tupolev's aircraft. In Russian Air Force aviation component of nuclear defense triad is defined by Tupolev's long-range and intercontinental carriers.

At the turn of the century the Design Bureau was incorporated in to a new structure - "TUPOLEV" PSC comprising besides the Design Bureau test facility and serial aircraft manufacturing plant "AVIASTAR" in Ulianovsk. Integration with Kazan Aviation Manufacturing Corporation is currently under process.

The Design Bureau has got long-term projects. In the nearest future family of TU-204/214 aircraft will be developed. TU-204-300 aircraft with shortened fuselage designed for a range of up to 9000 m will come. Further it is going to be equipped with high-speed wing which will incorporate up-to-date aerodynamics and advanced integrated digital avionics and control complex that will convert the aircraft into a single information system. This version will be designated as TU-204-500. TU-204-100 which is already in operation now will be equipped with new avionics, crew size will be decreased to two members - TU-204-400 version. TU-334 aircraft powered by BMW Rolls-Royce engines will be designated as TU-334-120. Family of regional aircraft will be made on basis of TU-324 machine.

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Page last modified: 04-11-2018 17:41:36 ZULU