Aviation Industry

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Related to Aviation Industry: Aerospace Industry
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Aviation Industry


one of the most highly concentrated branches of modern industry. Formed at the beginning of the 20th century, it developed as a major branch of industry during World War I and underwent enormous growth during World War II and afterwards.

The USSR aviation industry. The first aviation plants in Russia were built in 1910–12. Prior to 1917, there were about 15 small aviation factories (employing about 10,000 workers). By the June 28, 1918 decree of the Soviet government, aviation factories were nationalized; and the Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute (TsAGI) was set up in that same year.

In the USSR the modern aviation industry was actually set up during the process of socialist industrialization of the country in the first five-year plan of 1929–32, when several large aircraft-manufacturing plants and engine-building plants were constructed, as well as nonferrous and ferrous metallurgy plants. The aviation industry prospered vigorously during the second five-year plan of 1933–37. Production volume rose 5.5 times from 1933 through 1938. The staffs of design offices headed by the prominent aviation designers A. N. Tupolev, N. N. Polikarpov, V. M. Pet-liakov, S. V. Il’iushin, A. S. Iakovlev, A. I. Mikoian, and M. I. Gurevich, S. A. Lavochkin, and others came up with several original designs of aircraft which were equal to the best foreign examples in their performance characteristics. Soviet aircraft engine designers V. Ia. Klimov, A. A. Miku-lin, A. D. Shvetsov, V. A. Dobrynin, and others came forth with original designs of aircraft engines. Record nonstop flights of aircraft from Moscow to the USA (1937) and other routes were completed on these modern planes.

The Soviet aviation industry played an outstanding role during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45. Plants evacuated from the frontline areas to the eastern regions of the country were rebuilt and expanded within a short period and provided the Soviet army with high quality combat and transport aircraft (the fighters designed by A. S. Iakovlev, A. I. Mikoian, S. A. Lavochkin, the strafing attack planes of S. V. Il’iushin, and the bombers of A. N. Tupolev, S. V. Il’iushin, and V. M. Petliakov). The Soviet aircraft industry proved superior to the aviation industry of fascist Germany, despite the fact that the production of aircraft in Germany rose from 8,300 in 1939 to 39,800 in 1944 (including production in the occupied countries). Manufacture of aircraft in the USSR totaled 7,900 in 1941, 22,800 in 1942, 35,000 in 1943, over 40,000 in 1944, and 20,900 during the first half of 1945.

During the postwar years, the aviation industry retooled for the construction of turbojet engines designed by A. G. Ivchenko, N. D. Kuznetsov, A. M. Liul’ka, P. A. Solov’ev, S. K. Tumanskii, and others, which paved the way for the design of new and improved combat aircraft designed by A. N. Tupolev, A. I. Mikoian, V. M. Miasishchev, P. O. Sukhoi, and A. S. Iakovlev.

The aviation industry completely revamped the civil air fleet, outfitting it with modern first-class aircraft: the Tu-104, Tu-114, Tu-124, Tu-134, designed by Tupolev; the Il-18, 11–62, by Il’iushin; the An-10, An-22, An-24, and An-12, by Antonov; the Iak-40 by Iakovlev; and others. Training and sports aircraft are also manufactured. Iak-18 aircraft took first place in the 1966 world championship. Helicopter manufacturing has also undergone extensive development in the USSR (Mi-1, Mi-4, Mi-6, Mi-8, and others designed by M. L. Mil’).

The aviation industry provides many opportunities for application of production lines, mechanized conveyor belts, semiautomatic and automatic machine tools, and program-controlled machine tools; it also makes use of advanced forms of casting, full-impression die forging and precision forging with minimum machine allowances, and various types of welding (semiautomatic and automatic). Standardized components are used in the design of aviation equipment and in the technological tooling of production units.

The manufacture of consumer goods (refrigerators, washing machines, motor boats and marine motors, and the like), as well as the manufacture of aluminum and titanium rolled plate, occupy much of the production volume in the USSR aviation industry beyond the meeting of aviation needs.

Aviation industry in other countries. The aviation industry has also undergone developments in several foreign socialist countries (Czechoslovakia, Poland, China). The aviation industry occupies a prominent place in the USA, Britain, and France (see Table 1).

Table 1. Production of aircraft units in individual capitalist countries
* Civil, including helicopters
USA* ......................8,12110,06712,646
Britain ....................450319415
France ..........,..........422353383

In the USA mass production of aircraft was developed in 1918 (14,200 aircraft were manufactured in that year). After World War I, the manufacture of airplanes was curtailed, but it rose rapidly beginning in 1936. A total of 5,911 aircraft were manufactured in 1939. During World War II, the USA aviation industry developed on a huge scale. The construction of new aircraft plants was entrusted to the large monopolies but financed largely through government funds. In 1944 the manufacture of airplanes exceeded 96,000 (a large number of other machinery plants, principally automotive factories, were drawn into that line of production). Following the war, the USA aviation industry remained primarily a military branch of industry, exceeding the production level of the prewar period. During the 1960’s the USA aviation industry was converted to a space-aviation industry with production of aircraft, ballistic missiles, and guided jet-propelled missiles. A total of 16,400 civil aircraft and helicopters was manufactured in 1966. USA export during 1966 totaled 3,611 civil aircraft.

In 1918, Britain’s aircraft industry manufactured over 32,000 aircraft and 20,000 aircraft engines. Subsequently, however, production was curtailed sharply. During the first years of World War II, despite the accelerated development of the aviation industry, Britain’s military air forces were inferior to those of Germany. Britain purchased military aircraft from the USA and training planes from Canada. In 1944, Britain’s aviation industry manufactured about 30,000 aircraft and about 65,000 aircraft engines. Since World War II, Britain’s plants have been producing rockets and guided missiles in addition to aviation equipment.

In France in 1914, over 540 aircraft and 1,100 aircraft engines were manufactured, while 669 aircraft and about 44,600 aircraft engines were produced in the 1918–23 period. During World War II, France was armed with obsolete aircraft. In 1965, French aviation companies built 383 airplanes and 820 aviation engines. Much of the production goes to meet foreign orders and is placed on the world market.

In 1967 aircraft production in the USA totaled about 14,000.

Of the other capitalist countries, Canada and Japan have large aviation industries. Prior to 1955, West Germany was forbidden to conduct research and experimental work in aviation engineering, but by 1965 it had achieved significant results in that area.


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