Thursday, August 4, 2011

Red Star 30 - Soviet Rocket Fighters

Rocket-propelled aircraft constitute an important part of the history of aviation, rocket propulsion and space technology. Projects of such aircraft figured prominently in the creative activities of the pioneers of rocketry and space technology. The task of designing liquid-fuel rocket motors for such aircraft largely determined the course of development of rocket motor construction in the 1930s and 1940s - the period when the foundations of modern rocketry and space technology were being laid down. Almost until the end of the 20th century the speed of an aerial vehicle was, for all practical purposes, its most important characteristic. The speed increase was mainly achieved in two ways: by improving the vehicle's aerodynamic shape and by increasing the output of the powerplant. As a result, from year to year the speed of aircraft - especially combat aircraft - steadily increased. However, even an insignificant gain in flight speed required a considerable augmentation of the engine power rating; in the case of piston engines this inevitably led to a growth in the powerplant's overall size and weight. Hence as early as the 1930s the issue of new types of powerplants that would deliver a high power output while keeping the engine's own weight relatively low became increasingly acute. The solution of this problem inevitably brought jet engines onto the scene; work in this field began in several industrially developed countries. Designers of jet engines, as well as aircraft designers, had to spend quite a few years in an effort to gain an understanding of which type of jet engine was the preferable one for a definite type of aircraft.