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Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014

  Cold War Air Power - Soviet Aircraft
  Part C: Monino Central VVS Museum
Transports, Helicopters and ISR

Photographic Essay APA-PE-2010-1203

by Paul Cropper
Text and lineart © 2010 Carlo Kopp
Photographic images © 2007 - 2010 Paul Cropper

Mil V-12 Homer prototype at Monino.

The Monino Central Museum of the Russian Federation Air Force
  is a unique treasure trove of  preserved Soviet era aircraft, without peer globally. What is especially valuable about Monino, unlike most other museums which preserve production examples, is that Monino is home to numerous prototypes and demonstrators, often not well known in the West. As such it provides some unique insights into the vast  development and production effort expended by the Soviet military-industrial complex during the Cold War period, intended to overwhelm Western air forces.

In 2007 the author of this photoessay had the opportunity to visit Monino and collected an extensive photographic record, using a late model 8 Megapixel digital camera, which proved especially good at capturing fine detail.


  1. Центральный музей Военно-Воздушных Сил Российской Федерации (Central Museum of the Russian Federation Air Force).
  2. Imagery: Canon IXUS 950 8.0 MP retouched/corrected/cropped and reduced.

Transport Aircraft

Antonov An-22 Antei / Cock Airlifter

The An-22 Antei was developed as a heavy military airlifter and used primarily for this purpose, especially for carrying outsized payloads. Its design payload of 80 tonnes is equivalent to four C-130 Hercules payloads, making it the largest turboprop airlifter to be operationally used.


Tupolev Tu-144S Charger SST

The Tu-144 was developed to compete against the EU built Concorde. It was forced into service before development could be completed and proved to be difficult to operate and prone to frequent failures. The example on display, CCCP-77106, was used for a number of years operationally.

Rotary Wing Aircraft

Mil V-12 Homer Heavy Lift Helicopter

The V-12 remains the largest rotary wing aircraft ever built. It was developed to meet a unique Soviet requirement for transporting RVSN ballistic missiles from hardened storage bunkers to missile silos, to effect rapid reloads during full scale nuclear combat. The program was cancelled in 1974, as its primary purpose of moving ICBMs collapsed with the UR-500 program, components of which later evolved into the Proton booster. Only two V-12 Homers were built, and both remain in museums. Interesting features include the reuse of Mil-6 Hook rotors, gearboxes and engines, repackaged into new nacelles. Cited payload capabilities remain to be exceeded, with the ability to operate VTOL with a 25 tonne payload, STOL with a 30 tonne payload, and the design holds the record having lifted a total payload of 40 tonnes, twice that of the C-130.


Mil Mi-8 Hip Assault Helicopter

The Mi-8 Hip was built in large numbers as the primary Soviet assault helicopter for airborne forces. Derivatives remain in production. To the right in this image is the Yak-24 tandem rotor transport helicopter, the only tandem rotor design used operationally by the Soviets.

Mil Mi-24A Hind A Attack Helicopter

The Hind A was the first Soviet attack helicopter, derived from the Mi-8 Hip design, with which it shares dynamic components and portions of the fuselage design. This variant was rapidly superceded in production by the later Hind D/E series with the dual bubble canopy designs. It was heavily used by the Soviets in 1980s COIN campaigns, especially in Afghanistan.

Mil Mi-24V Hind E Attack Helicopter

The Hind E supplanted the Hind D in production, and was built in very large numbers for Red Army, Warsaw Pact and export clientele. Compared to its Western contemporary, the AH-1 Cobra, the Hind D/E is a behemoth.

Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Aircraft

Tupolev M-141 Strizh RPV

The M-141 is in many respects an analogue to variants of the Ryan Firebee RPV. It was used by Soviet and Warsaw Pact forces during the late Cold War period.

Mikoyan 105.11 Spaceplane Prototype

The 105.11 was developed during the late Cold War and is a direct analogue to the series of NASA lifting body designs.

Imagery Sources: © 2007 - 2010 Paul Cropper

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