Andrei Tupolev

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Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev
BirthplacePustomazovo, Tver region, Russian Empire
NationalitySoviet Union, Russia
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tupolev, Andrei Nikolaevich


Born Oct. 29 (Nov. 10), 1888, in the village of Pustomazovo, Tver’ Province (present-day Kalinin Oblast); died Dec. 23, 1972, in Moscow. Soviet aircraft designer. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1953); colonel general of the engineers (1968). Hero of Socialist Labor (1945,1957, and 1972).

In 1908, Tupolev entered the Moscow Higher Technical School, where he studied under N. E. Zhukovskii and joined an aeronautics study group. He helped build a glider and made his first flight in it. After graduating from the school in 1918, Tupolev, together with Zhukovskii, became the organizer of and a leading figure in the Central Aerodynamic and Hydrodynamic Institute. From 1918 to 1935 he was the deputy director of the institute. In 1922 he organized an experimental design office within the institute and became the head of the office. The activities of the office were associated with the development of aerosleighs, torpedo boats, and large-capacity combat and civil land-based airplanes and seaplanes.

From 1922 to 1924, Tupolev directed work on the use of Duralumin in airplane construction. In 1924 and 1925 he developed the ANT-2 and the ANT-3, which were the first all-metal Soviet airplanes. The use of Duralumin in the construction of airplanes enabled Tupolev to advance beyond the biplane to the first Soviet cantilever monoplane.

Tupolev developed more than 100 types of airplanes, 70 of which went into lot production. His airplanes set 78 world records and made 28 notable flights, including the rescue of the crew of the steamship Cheliuskin by an ANT-4 airplane, nonstop flights to the USA over the north pole by ANT-25 airplanes under the command of V. P. Chkalov and M. M. Gromov, and the airlift of the Severnyi Polius scientific expedition led by I. D. Pa-panin.

A large number of bombers, torpedo planes, and reconnaissance airplanes designed by Tupolev (for example, the TB-1, TB-3, SB, TB-7, MTB-2, and TU-2) and many of the G-4 and G-5 torpedo boats designed by his office were used in combat during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. In the postwar years, Tupolev directed the development of a number of military and civil airplanes. These included the Tu-12, which was the first Soviet jet bomber (1947); the Tu-16; the Tu-104, which was the first jet passenger plane (1954); the Tu-114, which was the first intercontinental turboprop passenger plane (1957); the Tu-124; the Tu-134; and the Tu-154. He also designed several supersonic airplanes, including the Tu-144 passenger plane.

Tupolev became a foreign member of the Royal Aeronautical Society of Great Britain in 1970 and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1971. In 1958 he was awarded the Zhukovskii Gold Medal for the Best Work on the Theory of Aviation. He was also a recipient of the Gold Air Medal of the International Astronautical Federation, the Leonardo da Vinci Prize (Italy), the Aviation Founders’ Gold Medal (France), and several other awards.

Tupolev was a member of the central executive committee of the seventh convocation and a deputy to the third through the eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He received the Lenin Prize in 1957 and the State Prize of the USSR in 1943, 1948, 1949, 1952, and 1972. He was also awarded eight Orders of Lenin, six other orders, various medals, and two foreign orders.


Arkhangel’skii A. A. “V nogu s progressom.” Aviatsiia i kosmonavtika, 1967, nos. 10–11.
Minaev, A. V. “Aviatsionnaia tekhnika.” In Energeticheskaia, atomnaia, transportnaia i aviatsionnaia tekhnika: Kosmonavtika. (Ocherki razvitiia tekhniki v SSSR, vol. 2.) Moscow, 1969.
Kerber, L. L. Tu—chelovekisamolet. Moscow, 1973.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.