In early 1943 when not only there were no captured examples of jet engines and aircraft, but
even there was no information at all about German and British turbojet-powered aircraft
in the Soviet Union, the designer M.I.Goudkov has completed a prototype design study of the
Gu-VRD turbojet-powered fighter.
The project documentation was submitted on March 10, 1943. The Gu-VRD project
was reviewed at NII VVS (Scientific Research Institute of the Air Force). A resolution of the leadership
of the institute dated April 10, 1943 ordered: "Prepare urgently an evaluation review of the superfast
fighter-interceptor of M.I.Goudkov design powered by Lyulka engine".
Department chief I.I.Safronov wrote in his memo of 17 April 1943: "... Apparently, the aircraft would fly
with the claimed speed, but the problem is that as of today there is no engine, just the name of its
designer. Hence, the emphasis is to be on the engine".
Gu-VRD was a monoplane with the engine placed in the bottom of the fuselage aft of the nose section.
The side view of the aircraft had a step behind the engine's nozzle after which the fuselage had a much
lesser cross section. Later this layout was named "stepped" and was used in the first Russian jet
fighters MiG-9, Yak-15, La-150 and others. Some sources claimed that the stepped layout originated from
German design studies of 1944- 1945. It is evident now that the stepped layout appeared in the
USSR in 1943 without any foreign influence.
The tipped nose of the aircraft had four segmented air intakes. The wing had trapezoid plane
with curved tips. The horizontal and vertical tail design was standard. The retractable landing gear had two
main legs and a small tail wheel.
In the meantime Goudkov in his explanatory memo to the project wrote that by that time a combustion chamber
of Lyulka engine had been tested, a two-stage axial compressor had been built and tested, achieving 1.25
compression ratio in each stage with 0.75 energy efficiency ratio, both figures rendered quite successful.
An engine prototype rated at 750kg of static thrust had been designed and built to 70% readiness.
Goudkov noted that the engine itself and majority of Lyulka design team were in Moscow. Lyulka planned
to begin developing an engine rated at 1,500kg thrust. The engine had 700kg weight, 0.9m diameter and 2.1m length.
Due to the Lyulka engine release delays the Gu-VRD was never completed, staying however
one of the world's first JET FIGHTER projects.
Engines 1500kg Lyulka...? turbojet
Wing Area 11m2
Speed (sea level) 870km/h (calculated)
Speed (6000 m) 900-1000km/h (calculated)
Climb to 5000m 1.39min
Landing Speed 141km/h
Take-off Run 222 m, later considered to be too optimistic
Armament 1x20mm ShVAK cannon 200rpg
1x12.7mm BS gun 200rpg
Based on "Samolyotostroyenie v SSSR (1917- 1945)" [Aircraft Development in the USSR],
Vol 2, published by TsAGI in 1994. Prepared by Alexander Velovich.