Today, September 11, marks the 121st anniversary of the birth of Semyon Alekseyevich Lavochkin, an outstanding scientist, Soviet aircraft designer, major-general of aviation engineering service, twice a Hero of Socialist Labor, a laureate of four Stalin prizes. Lavochkin is associated with almost all the aviation engineering of the last century. And even today modern designers-engineers look up to the inventions of the legendary aircraft designer.
Semyon Lavochkin joined the Red Army when he was very young and, at the end of the Civil War, he entered the Bauman Moscow Higher Technical School to study aero-mechanical engineering. He had to take part-time jobs to be able to survive and get something to eat, which, of course, interfered with his studies. Therefore, the novice engineer received his diploma only nine years after his enrollment in the school.
During his student years Lavochkin developed his initial project – the first Soviet TB-1 bomber (the world's first mass-produced all-metal twin-engine monoplane heavy bomber). He created this work in the design bureau of A. Tupolev.
Before the beginning of the WWII, design engineers received an urgent task – to produce a weapon to confront the enemy in the sky. So, Soviet aircraft designers immediately began to develop unique, top-quality airplanes. Semyon Lavochkin, together with his colleagues Vladimir Gorbunov and Mikhail Gudkov, created the first fighter aircraft LaGG-3. This aircraft became the first unique Soviet invention of the new generation and served as an air-defence interceptor, a fighter-bomber and a fighter-interceptor aircraft. The MiG-3 and Yak-1 fighters became its assistants.
After becoming the chief designer of Soviet aircraft construction in 1940, Semyon Alekseyevich Lavochkin developed the most powerful unique aviation weapon, which had no analogues and managed to beat any other solutions developed by an enemy. So, in 1942 the aircraft La-5 was launched. The super aircraft was capable of doing unbelievable things. After the first successful flight tests it got a nickname – a “living” fighter. Two years later Semyon Alekseyevich released a new invention - the La-7. The work on creation of the airplane was long and difficult, but it was worth it. Quite soon the La-7 was rightly recognized as the best mass-produced frontline fighter. During postwar period the innovative La-9, La-11 and La-15 fighters appeared; they were later used in the Korean War.
Semyon Lavochkin was also keen on rocket engineering. Working on a new invention, he got the best of himself again and designed unique guided missiles for anti-aircraft defense. He led the development of air defense missiles of “Berkut” system (S-25 and S-75), air defense and missile defense rings. It included development of such missiles as G-300 “air-to-air,” B-300 “ground-to-air,” B-500 as well as intercontinental supersonic cruise missile “The Burya.”
Semyon Alekseyevich Lavochkin was an outstanding Soviet aircraft designer. And even his last minutes he devoted to his favorite thing - aviation. He passed away at the age of 59, but his projects continue to live on.
The article is based on open sources.
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