The Soviet Air and Rocket Forces

The Soviet Air and Rocket Forces

The Soviet Air and Rocket Forces

The Soviet Air and Rocket Forces

Excerpt

There was a time when the Soviet Union deservedly held the blue riband for inaccessibility and for military security. Information about Soviet air and rocket developments was hard to come by and the most a writer could do was to be usefully speculative. But since the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 information has been much more freely available. Samples of the MIG 15 jet fighter engaged in that war have been examined and flown by Western pilots. From them one learnt something firm about Soviet jet engine progress and general work in metallurgy. At the annual Soviet Air Force days of the 1950s there has been unexpected public display of the latest jet fighters, bombers, helicopters and transport planes. Indeed one could today produce a large illustrated collection of authentic pictures of post-war Soviet aircraft which would in themselves give the aeronautic specialist clear pointers as to when the Soviet Union first developed swept-wing fighter and bomber designs, air to air guided missiles, large jet engines in the 15,000 lb thrust class, airborne radar and many other technical facets which provide trends in the over-all air potential of the Kremlin's armed forces. Then there has been the testimony from hundreds of German air engineers who have themselves been engaged in Soviet electronic factories, aero-engine development centres and experimental and operational rocket firing areas.

A further most valuable source on which one has been able to draw is the 'Institute of the USSR' where there are hundreds of ex-Soviet citizens, most of whom have served in the Soviet armed forces, some of them as officers in the jet-atomic age. Further evidence has come in a steady stream from the flow of refugee pilots, radar operators and aircraft mechanics from Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia who have escaped from their Communist rulers in the last ten years after being trained to use Soviet air equipment.

It would of course be idle to pretend that sources of raw information are adequate on all or even most subjects concerning Soviet air and rocket power. One would for instance like to know exactly how . . .

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