Kuznetsov NK-12 soviet turboprop, the most powerful engine of its type ever build, having a power output of 11,033 Kw, which drives huge eight-bladed (four per propeller) contra-rotating propellers 5.6 m (18 ft 4.5in) in diameter.
It’s best known application it’s the Tu-95 bomber series and her derivatives.
Six Soviet Su-7B fighter bombers are ready for take-off on an unidentified airfield strip.
The Sukhoi Su-7 (NATO designation name: Fitter-A) was a swept wing, supersonic fighter aircraft developed by the Soviet Union in 1955.
Originally, it was designed as tactical, low-level dogfighter, but was not successful in this role. On the other hand, soon-introduced Su-7B series became the main Soviet fighter-bomber and ground-attack aircraft of the 1960s.
The Su-7 was rugged in its simplicity but its shortcomings included short range and low weapon load.
Nadezhda Fedutenko | Надежда Федутенко by Olga Via Flickr: Soviet dive bomber squadron commander of World War II Guards Major Nadezhda Nikiforovna Fedutenko
Надежда Никифоровна Федутенко (1915—1978) — участница Великой Отечественной войны, командир авиационной эскадрильи 125-го гвардейского бомбардировочного авиационного полка 4-й гвардейской бомбардировочной авиационной дивизии 1-го гвардейского бомбардировочного авиационного корпуса 3-й воздушной армии 1-го Прибалтийского фронта, гвардии майор. Герой Советского Союза (1945).
Yevdokia Bershanskaya and Valentina Matyukhina, 1943 by Olga Via Flickr: Yevdokia Bershanskaya, Soviet pilot in World War II and second in command of the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment.
Valentina Matyukhina (08.05.1915 – 23.12.1944)
Guards senior lieutenant, master pilot of the 125th âMarina M. Raskovaâ Borisov Guards Bomber Regiment.
Flew 53 missions, was killed at a combat mission.
Командир 46 гв. НЛБАП Евдокия Бершанская и ст. летчик 587 БАП Валентина Матюхина. 10 июня 1943 г., ст.Ивановская
Матюхина Валентина Алексеевна
(8 мая 1915 – 23 декабря 1944)
Гвардии старший лейтенант, старший летчик 125 гв. БАП им. Расковой
В Отечественной войне с января 1943 года.
За время пребывания на фронтах Великой Отечественной войны (на октябрь 1944 года) совершила 53 боевых вылета (налет 55 часов 22 минуты)
Погибла при выполнении боевого задания в районе Мачули (Латвия) 23 декабря 1944 года.
Награждена орденами Красной Звезды (29.05.1943) и Красного Знамени (17.10.1944), медалью «За оборону Сталинграда» (22.12.1942)
Marina Raskova (1912-1943) was a Soviet pilot, navigator, and commander who founded 3 famous female air regiments during the Second World War.
Born to a middle-class Russian family, Raskova initially had aspirations of becoming a musician, but eventually abandoned the idea to study chemistry. While working in a dye factory as a chemist she met Sergei Raskov, an engineer, who she married and had a daughter with. She changed careers in 1931 when she joined the Aerodynamic Navigation Lab of the Soviet Air Force as a draftswoman. Aged 19 in 1933 she became the first female navigator in the Air Force and the following year became the first woman to teach at the Zhukovskii Air Academy.
In 1935 she divorced from her husband and focused on her flying career. She become a famous pilot as well as a navigator, setting a number of long distance records. This included the famous ‘Flight of the Rodina’ covering 6000km from Moscow to Komsomolsk, which she conducted with two other female pilots, Polina Osipenko and Valentina Grizodubova. However the flight ran into difficulties at the end of its 26 and a half hour journey when poor visibility hampered the landing. As the navigator’s pit was vulnerable in crash landings, Raskova bailed out with a parachute while the two pilots completed the landing. She survived with no water and almost no food for 10 days before she found her way to landing site and reunited with her team. All 3 women were decorated with the ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ award, the first women ever to receive it.
With the outbreak of World War 2 the Soviet Union was in need of pilots and many women volunteered. However while there were no formal restrictions on Soviet women in the military, many found their applications were denied or mysteriously delayed. Raskova proposed the creation of women’s aviation units and used her celebrity status to propose the idea directly to the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Following a speech by Raskova in September 1941 calling for women pilots to be welcomed into the war, Stalin ordered the creation of 3 new air regiments, the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment, the 125th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment, and the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, dubbed The Night Witches. These regiments were entirely formed of women, from the pilots to the engineers to the support staff. Each regiment contained around 400 women, most of them in their early twenties, who completed 4 years’ worth of training in a matter of months.
Raskova personally took command of the 125th Bomber Regiment, for which she obtained the very best equipment available, including the state-of-the-art Petlyakov Pe-2 bombers, which caused some resentment from male units. The 125th regiment went on to fly 134 missions over the course of the war, dropping over 980 tons of bombs.
Raskova herself was killed on January 4th 1943, while attempting to lead two other Pe-2’s to a safe airfield. She was forced into making a forced landing on the Volga Bank, which resulted in the deaths of the entire bomber crew. Raskova received the first state funeral of the war and her ashes were buried in the Kremlin Wall beside those of fellow pilot, Polina Osipenko. She was posthumously awarded the Order of Patriotic War 1st Class and the regiments she created continued to serve for the duration of the war.
Nadezhda Popova (standing) with some of her fellow ‘Night Witches’
In late 1941 Stalin signed an order to establish three all-women Air
Force units to be grouped into separate fighter, dive bomber and night
bomber regiments. Over the next four years these regiments flew a
combined total of more than 30,000 combat sorties and dropped 23,000
tons of bombs. Nadezhda Popova, then aged 19, was one of the first to
join the best-known of the three units, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment
(later renamed the 46th Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment). Nadezhda Popova, who was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, was
one of the best of the 588th pilots — and one of the luckiest. She flew
852 missions, serving in Ukraine, Rostov-on-Don, the North Caucasus
near Grozny, Novorossiysk, Sevastopol, Minsk, Warsaw and Berlin. Though
shot down or forced to land several times, she always emerged unharmed.
The English Electric Lightning, the Royal Air Force’s first Mach 2 fighter, operated as Britain’s primary interceptor for more than two decades following its introduction in 1959. Designed to intercept Soviet bombers, the Lightning was renowned for its rate of climb and speed, with pilots comparing it to being ‘saddled to a skyrocket’.
History’s only armed spacecraft (so far as we know)
In 1971 the Soviet military initiated the Almaz project, a highly secretive project to place orbital space stations around the Earth whose mission was to spy on the Soviet Union’s Cold War enemies. The project consisted of Salyut space stations, technically civilian stations but modified for a military purpose as each station was equipped with powerful cameras, some of which could photograph objects on Earth at a resolution of 1 meter. Three Salyut stations were launched as part of the Almaz program between 1973 and 1976; Salyut 2, Salyut 3, and Salyut 5.
Interestingly, Salyut 3 was special in that it was the only known spacecraft to be armed with a gun. On the belly of the station was mounted a 23mm Rikhter R-23 anti aircraft cannon. Typically mounted on the Soviet TU-22 bomber, the gun was a gas operated revolving cannon that could fire at a rate 1,800 - 2,000 rounds per minute. It was intended to fend off a possible attack by the Americans or capitalist space aliens. Placed on a fixed mount, in order to aim the weapon the entire station had to be manuevered toward its target. The cannon was only fired once towards the end of Salyut 3’s mission while the station was unmanned. After blasting a target satellite during the test fire, it was found that in the zero gravity environment of space the recoil of the gun rocked the station causing it to tumble.
Due to a malfunctioning docking system, it became impossible to resupply the station. Thus, it was decided to end Solyut 3’s mission and the station was abanondoned. It reentered the atmosphere and burned up on the 24th of January, 1975. The Almaz project was canceled in 1976 due to costs, and the effectiveness of new spy sattelite technology.