The 11 worst Soviet aircraft


The Soviet Union lasted a mere sixty-nine years (the Spitfire has been flying longer), but in that time produced some of the largest, fastest, toughest and most agile aircraft. Even now, 25 years after its collapse, almost all Russian and Ukrainian aircraft have their roots in the communist super state.  Favouring clever robust design over high technology and refinement, the Soviet approach enabled the mass production of cheap machines. Many of these were outstanding, but some – for reasons of politics, bad luck or incompetence – were diabolical. Let’s pack beer and vobla, and take a walk through the rusting graveyard of the eleven worst Soviet aircraft.

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11. Tupolev Tu-116


With the death of Stalin, the Khrushchev Thaw left the Soviet Union in the tricky position of wanting to engage with the wider world but with no indigenous way of getting there.  Fearing that mating an airliner fuselage to the wings of a Tu-95, to make the Tu-114, would take more time than was available before a 1959 state visit to the USA, a less ambitious back up plan was made. The Tu-116 replaced the Tu-95’s bomb bays with a passenger compartment for the head of state and his entourage, in a prescient nod to post-9/11 security arrangements it was impossible to access the cockpit from the passenger compartment, messages being passed by pneumatic tube. While no one appeared to think arriving on a diplomatic mission in something that looked exactly like a strategic bomber might be a bad idea, the nail in the coffin of the Tu-116 was actually the 737 style air stair that allowed the First Secretary of the Communist Party to emerge from the bowels of the aircraft, something he deemed beneath his standing. Deprived of their raison d’être the two aircraft served out their miserable lives flying technicians to the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, presumably to ensure the Franken-liner was hidden from public view.  The Tu-116 was a poor idea and implemented badly. It was mercifully left to wallow in obscurity, somewhat like the Miss Havisham of Soviet aviation.

— Bing Chandler, former Lynx helicopter Observer (now works in flight safety)

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10. Tupolev Tu-22 ‘Blind John the man-eater’


The Tu-22 medium bomber, first flown in 1962, was a dangerous hotrod with a litany of design flaws. Its VD-7M engines were unreliable and caused a spate of lethal accidents. The aircraft was also very hard to handle, according to one pilot “..two flights with no autopilot drained all strength“. Tu-22 pilots had to be physically strong and keep both hands on the control yoke at all times. The landing speed was perhaps the worst of any operational aircraft: it was forbidden for pilots to go under 180 mph. The ejection seats ejected downward, a sobering prospect for low-level escapes. Pre-flight preparations took at least 3 hours, and other common procedures required 24 hours of maintenance. The high-mounted engines were exceptionally inconvenient for maintenance crew to reach. Its abysmal visibility from the cockpit resulted in one of its nicknames – Blind John (Слепой Джон). Another less than flattering nickname was ‘the man-eater’ (Людоед).

– Vasily Kuznetsov, Aviation photographer and lawyer

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Eleven wonderfully weird cancelled aeroplanes here

9. Sukhoi Su-7


For the first two decades after World War II the Soviet Union wasn’t great at building ground-attack aircraft. Ilyushin’s classic wartime Shturmovik soldiered on for a while, but in the era of atomic weapons, the use of aircraft for battlefield close support fell out of favour within the Red Army. If Soviet troops were to need firepower, they could call upon artillery. And nuclear-tipped battlefield missiles. And more artillery.

With the explosion of counter-insurgency and brushfire conflicts in the mid-1960s, it was time to reassess the ground-attack aircraft. One quick fix was to add bombs and rockets to MiG fighters. But the USSR’s first purpose-designed, jet-powered ground-attacker to reach service was the Sukhoi Su-7. Unfortunately, it wasn’t great. The Soviets never took it into battle. The Arabs did, and were not impressed.

In July 1967 Egyptian pilot Tahsin Zaki was in a formation of 12 Su-7s that was to attack Israeli forces opposite the Suez Canal. Loaded with four 500kg bombs each, the jets suffered so much drag that they couldn’t accelerate beyond 600km/h. They also proved very difficult to control. ‘The Su-7 was never a very stable aircraft at such slow speeds’, Zaki reflected in Arab MiGs Volume 4.


Provided it made it over the battlefield unscathed, the Su-7 was hampered by dismal range, meaning it was unable to loiter where it was needed. The powerful Lyulka AL-7F1 turbojet took up so much space that there was little room left for fuel tanks. It was vulnerable to foreign object damage (FOD) and, without air-to-air missile capability, was unable to protect itself other than with its two NR-30 cannon. Were it unfortunate enough to get into a dogfight with an Israeli Mirage, Arab pilots found that its fuel was quickly expended.

A final word goes to Egyptian pilot Gabr Ali Gabr: ‘The Su-7 was a totally bloody useless aircraft. It had a feeble bomb load and ineffective rockets only. The only Sukhoi that really showed an improvement over the MiG-17 was the Su-20, which we received only years later.

—  Thomas Newdick, Editor at Harpia Publishing and Assistant Editor of Combat Aircraft

8. Lavochkin LaGG-3 


A pathetic climb rate, sluggish top speed, poor build quality, the inability to pull out of a dive or even to perform a sharp turn are among the many failings of the lamentable LaGG. The designers intended the aircraft (which started development as the LaGG-1) to use the 1,350 hp inline Klimov VK-106 engine, but when this engine failed to mature, it was replaced with the Klimov M-105 – a weedy powerplant with around 300 less horsepower. The result was an exceptionally underpowered fighter hated by its crews and mauled by its enemies. Other than an exceptional ability to withstand battle damage (something it received in abundance) -the aircraft’s only saving grace was that it sired the magnificent LaGG-5.

— Joe Coles, Hush-Kit

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7. Silvanskii IS


Silvanskii is a name synonymous with Russian fighters..oh, wait – no it’s not. And there is a very good reason that it’s not. In the midst of Stalin’s muddled and oppressive USSR, one A.V. Silvanskii secured state funding to create a new fighter in 1937. The concept seemed sound- it was a low-winged monoplane with a 1,000 horsepower radial engine, armed with two heavy machine guns. As development began it soon became apparent that Silvanskii was a reckless bodger. By 1938 the prototype aircraft was virtually complete. Initial tests of the undercarriage revealed that the wheel wells were too small- the undercarriage did not fit into the wing in the retracted position. How this elementary mistake had been made is hard to understand, but the solution was simple- the undercarriage legs were shortened. Now the undercarriage could be retracted it was realised that the wheel bays were too shallow so the undercarriage would stick out into the airstream producing drag. Deciding not to rectify this issue, the team then fitted the propeller. Though the aircraft now had a shorter undercarriage than originally designed, no-one saw fit to think through the consequences of this modification; the propeller was now too large and would smash against the ground on take-off. Ever the master of methodical engineering, Silvanskii took a saw to the offending propeller and lopped four inches off each blade. The manager of the GAZ state aircraft factory watched this slapstick affair with dismay and growing alarm. He quite sensibly refused Silvanskii permission to fly from the factory airfield. The persistent Silvanskii looked for an alternative airfield for his fighter and charmed the State Flight Research Institute (LII) in Moscow into providing a runway and a test pilot for the maiden flight. One cold morning in early 1939, the LII test pilot strapped himself into the aircraft, known simply as the IS or ‘Istrebitel’ (fighter) and prepared to fly. The machine had other ideas, but thanks to a combination of full throttle and extremely dense cold air the machine was coaxed into taking off for one hair-raising circuit flown dangerously close to the stall. On landing the pilot damned the aircraft as unflyable. The Silvanskii bureau was bankrupted and the hapless designer was banned from working in aeronautical design.

— Joe Coles, Hush-Kit


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6. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23MS 


Arab MiG-21 pilots were excited by the prospect of a new advanced fighter, but early MiG-23s provided a huge disappointment. The Soviet Union generally offered client nations inferior versions of their fighters, but the MiG-23MS was one of the cruelest examples – and they were supplied when the air forces of Syria and Egypt were at war with a well-equipped enemy. Because of delays with the R-23 (a Sparrow equivalent), the ’23 carried only the K-13 (comparable with an early Sidewinder). The weapon system, with its very basic Sapfir-21, was completely mismatched to the aircraft’s performance – the aircraft was designed for fast long range engagements – something it couldn’t do with the K-13. The former MiG-21 pilots now had an aircraft with greatly inferior agility to the previous mounts and nastier handling characteristics. The aircraft also lacked vital equipment, including radar warning receivers. The MiG-23MS force suffered terrible losses to the Israeli Air Force, and encouraged Egypt and Libya to turn away from the use Soviet equipment, and instead favour US F-4s and French Mirages respectively. The MiG-23 was later developed into the formidable ML, but the MS was a dreadful machine hated by many of its pilots.

— Joe Coles & Thomas Newdick

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5. Antonov An-10 ‘Bulgakov’s magic catflap’ 


The An-10 was terrible. It’s almost as if the Ministry of Aircraft Production gave the brief to Antonov to make flying more unpleasant and dangerous. If this was the brief then Antonov succeeded with aplomb and this aircraft shouldn’t have made this list. Initial test flights revealed stability issues, leading to the ungainly ventral fins. But even these didn’t fix the problem, and further stabilizing devices (quasi winglets) were added to the horizontal tails. Which was great, apart from making the aircraft wickedly uncomfortable – it shook like a paint mixer, perhaps even worse. Then there was the insufficient amount of windows causing nausea in those prone to air sickness. There was also a  lack of a real baggage hold (the low floor took up this space). An almost criminal deficiency for any aircraft, let alone one based in the USSR, was the faulty anti-icing system; two aircraft were lost in its first winter resulting in the deaths of 72 people.
A paltry 104 An-10’s were produced, but of these at least twelve were lost – most with fatalities. The straw that broke the camel’s back? After a mere 13 years in service, metal fatigue made the wings fall off. It wasn’t all bad- at least you could ride to your likely doom in a large comfortable seat.

– Bernie Leighton, helicopter pilot and Managing Correspondent at Airline Reporter

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4. Tupolev Tu-144


Its chief designer, its passengers and its launch customer were all less than enamoured with Tupolev Tu-144 – the Soviet ‘Concordski’ – and for many valid reasons.

On the last day of 1968, the Tu-144 became the first supersonic airliner to fly. It was two months ahead of Concorde’s maiden flight, but in the rush to achieve this symbolic victory, Tupolev had made a dog. The first flight was misleading – the production machine was virtually a complete redesign, most notably in the critical relationship between the wing and the engine.

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Its design was aided by a huge national effort. Even its chief designer Alexei Tupolev thought it was given too great a priority. Almost all state funding for civil aviation went into the Tu-144, at the detriment of more conservative (and more useful) designs, such as the Il-86.

As well as huge centralised effort, darker methods were used to collect useful data: Sergei Pavlov, a senior Aeroflot representative in France, was banished by a personal dictate from French President de Gaulle in 1965. Pavlov had made a concerted effort to extract information from the programme, and had employed two French communists to spy at Toulouse. At the 1973 Paris Air Show, the two rival airliners were competing for foreign orders, and the second prototype was to be displayed. Its pilot, Mikhail Kozlov, had boasted that he would give a better display than Concorde: “Just wait until you see us fly. Then you’ll see something.” His words proved tragically prescient. The aircraft disintegrated in the air, killing Kozlov and his crew. Following this, the launch customer Aeroflot decided not to put the aircraft on international passenger routes. When Tu-144 entered service in December 1975, it was assigned the less-than-glamorous task of transporting cargo. In late 1977, politicians decided that the Tu-144 should begin passenger services, against the advice of Aeroflot and safety inspectors. Despite it being seven years from its first flight, the aircraft was still unreliable. It was only able to perform one of its first six scheduled passenger flights. In 180 flight hours, the first sixteen Tu-144s suffered more than 226 failures of various kinds – many of them significant. Passengers were shocked by the cabin noise, with one declassified CIA report saying “the cacophony of rushing air, engine noise and air conditioners meant conversations in the rear of the aircraft had to be shouted”. The terrible Kuznetsov NK-144 turbofans were replaced by Kolesov RD-36-51s, to produce the marginally improved Tu-144D. Whereas the cabin noise was unbearable, cabin depressurisation was potentially lethal. There was also faulty de-icing equipment for the air intakes, poor fireproof paint, substandard navigation equipment and a panoply of other failings. In 1977 Tupolev took the unprecedented step of asking the West for technical assistance – hardly a propaganda coup. The British Government declined these requests. Handing technology to the designer of your enemy’s nuclear bombers was too much to ask, even for the nation that had already given the USSR a great step up by giving them the world’s best jet engines).
It can hardly inspire confidence among passengers when no aircraft is allowed to take off without an inspection by its chief designer, yet that was the extraordinary situation for this terrible machine. In May 1978 another Tu-144 crashed. This was too much for Aeroflot, and passenger flights were cancelled. In a twist that nobody would have predicted in the 1960s, the Tu-144 ended its life as ‘supersonic flying laboratory’ for NASA.

– Joe Coles & Glen Towler


3. Yakovlev Yak-38 20090915141759!Yak-38_on_Novorossijsk_deck.jpg

Were it not for two factors, the Yakovlev Yak-38 ‘Forger’ would probably be regarded as a success. Putting a vertical take-off and landing  fighter into operational service was no mean feat. Of the profusion of concepts and designs that plastered drawing boards (in the US, France, West Germany and in every other aircraft producing nation) in the 1960s, the vast majority never reached even prototype stage – and only two types entered service, so on that basis, the Yak-38 did well. The first of its reputation-killing problems was the lack of any more capable follow-on. The second was the existence of the Hawker Siddeley Harrier.
Expectations of the Yak-38 should have been low. It was intended more as a concept-proving vehicle than a frontline aircraft in its own right. Unfortunately, the planned replacement – the much larger, supersonic Yak-41 ‘Freestyle’ – was cancelled, leaving the Forger to fight its own corner as an operational VTOL fighter rather than an analogue to the pre-production Hawker Siddeley Kestrel (the earlier Yak-36 could be compared to the P.1127 or Short SC.1).
The problem was the Yak-38’s lack of combat capability. Yes, it could take off and land vertically, and transition between vertical to horizontal flight, a significant achievement. Unfortunately, its payload was derisory and its range pathetic, its air-to-air capability virtually non-existent. One reason was the Forger’s VTOL concept – while the Harrier had a single engine and could use all its thrust for horizontal or vertical flight, the Yak-38 had to lug two lift engines, dead weight at all other times than in vertical flight. In hot and high conditions (such as the combat evaluation it endured in Afghanistan), the Forger could carry less than 500lb of munitions. As a proof of concept vehicle, the Yak-38 only managed to ‘prove’ that VTOL combat aircraft were impractical. If only the Harrier had not disproved the point over the Falklands, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan…

– Matthew Willis is a writer and journalist specialising in naval aviation. He is the biographer of A&AEE and Fairey test pilot Duncan Menzies. His book on the Fairey Flycatcher is due out imminently

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2. Sukhoi Su-2 ‘A Soviet Battle’1437523175_su-2.jpgThe rather unassuming Su-2 is historically significant in being the first creation of Pavel Sukhoi. The Su-2, both by design and unfortunate circumstances, did not anticipate any of this greatness. Designed at a time when metal was a strategically limited resource, the Su-2 was one of the last frontline aircraft that are not all metal construction (prior to today’s composite age), other examples of mixed construction being the famously excellent ‘Mossie’ and the spectacularly atrocious LaGG-3 series. Armed with a meagre four fixed 7.62 light machine guns and a notoriously unwieldy turret armed with a single Shkas. The unfortunate Su-2 was thrown into the meat grinder of Operation Barbarossa where, to the surprise of no-one, it racked up tremendous losses. While faster than its much more famous replacement, the Il-2, it had much lower survivability, armament and payload (not that the marginal difference in speed would make much difference when being chased down by the far faster Bf-109F). The toughness of the Ilyushin competitor – as well as its enormous production figures – explain why the name Il-2 still resonates to this day while the Su-2 is known nowadays mostly for being one of the least useful planes in War Thunder. The first of the Sukhoi’s was a little more than a footnote in aviation history though and, much like other designs of the era, it went from design to obsolescence in the space of 3 years.

– Matthew Wilks, Witch Doctor

  1. Kalinin K-7


This is what you get if you cross a Spitfire with Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Falling Water’ house (emphasis on the ‘falling’) then enlarge the resulting mutant to the size of Stalin’s ego. The 1930s USSR was in love with big things. Their big locomotives hauled big trains over massive distances, their enormous factories churned out terrific amounts of Fordson tractors and in the air the Kalinin K-7 was to display the triumph of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat to a disbelieving world. Their other big aeroplane, the Tupolev ANT-20, was impractically large but wasn’t a bad aircraft considering. The Kalinin K-7 on the other hand was ridiculous. Konstantin Kalinin had already produced the USSR’s most successful airliner to date and he had some interest in flying wing development. The K-7was, more or less, a seven engine flying wing with a fuselage pod and a couple of tail booms and no one seemed entirely sure whether it was an enormous bomber or a massive airliner. Nonetheless, the mighty K-7 could fly but its first brief flight revealed terrible instability and appalling vibration. Applying stereotypical Soviet engineering principles, two massive slabs of steel were welded to the tailbooms to keep them rigid. Unfortunately its structure was resonating with the engine frequency and the ‘strengthening’ had no effect: on its eighth flight the K-7 shook its right tailboom off at 350 feet, killing 14 on board and one on the ground.
-Ed Ward


You can find out more about the Kalinin K-7 here.

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  1. Francesco Ganzetti

    R “but in that time produced some of the largest, fastest, toughest and most agile aircraft.”
    I think that mirage 2000 was a much better energy maintenance design in continous turn rate both subsonic and supersonic that any soviet design by far and much more advanced aerodinamic design, ( totally opposite to soviet design of mig29 and su27, which have very good itr in subosonic and are very bad in allother flight envelope,like if wvr combat with limited degree missiles would be the only type of combat possible, drag included.) Mirage 2000 is precursor of modern eurocanards in philospophy, ,and eurocanrds are most advanced aerodinamic design by far, each one with slightly different characterists, f22 included.

    • Hush Kit

      Thanks for your comment Francesco. I don’t think there is any dispute that Soviet Union produced some of the world’s most agile aircraft: MiG-17, MiG-21, MiG-29, Su-26, Su-27 etc. The Flanker and Fulcrum series have very impressive aerodynamic features- odd to state that the M2000 is ‘more advanced’ in this sense. The Mirage 2000 is certainly NOT famous for good energy conservation in sustained turns. It is worthy nothing that the Indian Air Force tasked the ’29 with the fighter role and the M2000 with ground attack in the Kargil War. There’s a reason for that. Thanks again, HK

      • Francesco Ganzetti

        Thx for your work huskit; may be indians used (and still use) mirage 2000 for ground attack cause mig 29 capabilities in that sense are close to null ! For istance indians claim that mirage 2000 is fighter that satisfied them most !
        As said, some russian designs, and also current ones, have very good istant turn rate in subsonic regime: it was usueful for wvr missiles with limited arch coverage ,such as R73, to point nose effectively; mirage 2000 is aerodinamically at disadvantage in subsonic,but at great advantage in supersonic which is a forbidden flgiht envelope for mig29-su27 type fighters :
        Tis is a report froma an indian pilot of mirage2000 (which had no HMCS differently form mig29 )
        “) I have never flown in or faced a MiG-29, but I have had extensive time on the Mirage 2000- so I have some context for this story. In IAF DACM, the MiG-29 consistently wins 7 times out of 10 v/s the Mirage 2000. The HMCS/73 combo is indeed deadly, especially for an adversary who does not train specifically to defeat it- anyone playing by the `usual rules’ will quickly be dead. The ratios improved a bit, but not greatly, once the IAF began integrating R-73s on Mirage 2000s- that decision in itself was led to a large extent to early experiences in DACM which showed the R-73 to be a formidable weapon- easily outclassing the R-60/Magic then in IAF service.
        2) At least on the Mirage 2000, doctrine was to play to the aircraft’s strengths- the Mirage also has a `first look/first shot’ advantage and better handling at higher speeds.”

        Mirage 2000 is moderate negative stability desing, and requires complex software to be flyable ; its delta wing gives it not only reduced drag compared to russian desigs, but also much butter sustained turn rate in supersonic.
        We know that even modern su30 su35 are very bad energy maintenance also in subsonic compared to eurocanards.

  2. duker

    I would have thought the MD-160 Ekranoplane would be on the list. A plane that was a ship is really thinking outside the box. Howard Hughes would loved it

  3. Tor B K

    The article isn’t accurate in its description of the SU-2. The article says the aicraft took tremendous losses, but the truth is of 910 built only 222 were shot down by the Germans. It had better, not worse, survivability than the Il-2, contrary to the article, mainly due to its better agility and slightly better speed. It also compared favorably to the JU-87 Stuka in terms of performance and survivability.

    The real reason it lost its production was an argument between Yakovlev and Sukhoi, not the aircraft’s performance. Yakovlev was vise-minister to the air industry at the time and closer to Stalin. He made sure Ilyushin got the lion’s share of resources and then canceled the SU-2 because production didn’t meet demand and allegations of poor perfomance. This became the official “truth”. The aircraft fell out of favour and production.

    • chris

      222 of 910 were shot down, but were all 910 sent out…? Or did they only send out some 400 after realizing they had a lower survivability?

  4. Francesco Ganzetti

    Obviously simulated encounters between indian mig 29 and mirage 2000 are only in wvr : considering mig 29 had HMCS, and that R73 was considered more effective , it translates that also in subsonic mig29 is at advantage only in ITR and not in STR even in subsonic: that translate that mig29 is not a good at energy maintenance even in subsonic: it can only turn very quick in subsonic 1 single time loosing a lot of speed, such as modern sukhoys do…

    • Ferpe

      Francesco, you should do your research a little more thoroughly before being so categorical about aircraft.

      As an ex fighter pilot and aeronautical engineer who has flown both classical configurations fighters and deltas- the delta has many good characteristics but these are not in the sustained turn rate area. We called the stick the handbrake when flying the deltas, you loose energy en mass when pulling g. Your instantaneous turn rate is good, your sustained turn rate sucks (the vortex aerodynamics eats energy and your aspect ratio is low).

      The aerodynamics of the aircraft Hush Kit listed is much better for sustained dogfights. The Soviets produced one of the best deltas ever, the MiG-21, why do you think they left that architecture? The Eurocanards (I was in the design team of one of them) are not true deltas, they have more of a Su-27 type wing placed aft of a canard, all to get aspect ratio and therefore better sustained turn rates.

      As I said deltas are good for a lot of things, one of their nice features is a very good ride at 200ft above ground (alfa lift curve is shallow), they therefore make for good strike platforms. And they are ideal as interceptors (low wave drag, simple and sturdy structure, reasonable room for fuel) but the bad sustained turn rate make them not ideal as multi-role fighters.

      • Ferpe

        Hi Hush Kit, First, I truly enjoy your site and the way you post about different aircraft, The level of knowledge exposed from the authors but also from you is seldom seen.

        Now to your question: I flew the SAAB Draken and the Lansen 32B (conventional config). i was in the team that conceived the Gripen fighter. I also worked on many other fighters in a more peripheral way.

      • Ferpe

        Hi Hush Kit. Thanks bu I prefer to limit my-selves to comments as I’m professionally engaged by another blog.

  5. TBlakely

    Meh, by western standards just about just about every Soviet aircraft were dogs. Just some were bigger dogs than others. While some had excellent performance, many had ‘quirks’ that would kill an unwary/inexperienced pilot. Then there were the maintenance issues, short engine/vehicle lifespans, ect.

    In general Soviet equipment was attractive to those on a budget and didn’t give a damn about the people using it or maintaining it.

    • ghostwhowalksnz

      That too could describe western aircraft up to the early 60s, the soviets continued the pattern up to the 80s. Oh and of course they had more designs they took through to prototype stage than the west or were able to make major changes to poor designs like the Tu22 and Su-7 which provided much improved models.

  6. Yury

    The acronym LaGG was expanded as “Лакированный Гарантированный Гроб” (varnished guaranteed coffin) by Soviet pilots who hated this plane.

  7. Parshu Narayanan

    Famous for the response of the first Indian Air Force pilot to fly one ( “Why?”) the Su-7 was still flown aggressively in ground attack missions in the Indo-Pak 1971 war. Though the IAF lost 18 mostly to ground fire ( around four were shot down by PAF Sabres and F6s(Mig19s)), the Su-7s bravely flew CAS sorties into walls of flak and helped the army win some notable battles such as the one for “Chicken’s Neck”. The IAF eventually achieved air superiority on both Western and Eastern fronts over a better equipped and well-trained( Chuck Yeager was there) adversary but with somewhat higher losses particularly to ground fire. A Su-7 pilot who lived in the flat over mine when I was in school used to say with a resigned smile that it asked for a 15-pound pressure on the stick.
    Wartime losses would have been far greater though if had not been such a rugged aircraft.
    The most iconic pic of the Su-7 is only the tail section, preserved in the IAF museum. The pilot returned safely after its arse was blown off by a PAF Sidewinder

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  11. Сергей Васильев

    Worth to mention: Soviet pilots called heavy and sluggish LaGG “Lakirovannyy Garantirivannyy Grob” (Varnished Guaranteed Coffin). But LaGG was sturdy built and could withstand some rounds from Messerschmitt 20-mm canon due to wooden construction.

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  14. Gray Stanback

    I don’t think it was really fair to include the An-10 on this list. The An-12, which is one of Russia’s most successful transport planes ever, is little more than a military version of the An-10.

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