Jet engines to the Soviet Union


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4 June 2006
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I assume this has been done before but a quick search didn't turn up any hits so...

The British sale of jet engines to the Soviet Union after WW2 is described by many books and sites as a massive bonus for the Soviet Union - was it as significant as the books and websites suggest?
Absolutely yes. The USSR was working with captured German axial jet engines and some pioneers like Lyulka were persevering with indigenous axial developments which eventually would bear fruit. In the late 1940s however centrifugal jet engines were a better solution given the state of metallurgy and compressor aerodynamics of the time, something even more relevant to the USSR than the UK. The acquisition of state of the art British centrifugal turbojets gave the Russians access to a good proven design and materials technologies.

It wasn't until 1953 that the first indigenous Russian design, the AM-5/RD-9, was available. The Nene and Derwent plugged the gap and provided valuable experience.

Would the MiG-15 have been as successful in Korea with a pair of copied German axial engines? I don't think so.
As a footnote, the USSR had access to a J35 and a J47 as examples of American single engine axial turbojets from their Korean War booty of an F-86A and an F-86C prior to the launch of RD-9 production. As they at one stage planned to build F-86 copies, it stands to reason that the J47 was at least studied. However the RD-9 wasn't a straight copy of the J47.
ref. The Aeroplane, August 1952


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