Soviet high altitude fighters?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wiking85, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    What sort of high altitude fighters did the Soviets have available if the Germans somehow managed to get the He177 or 274/277 in service and bombing cities in the Ural manufacturing area? Looking at the spec for the He 274 and 277 they would have had a service ceiling in excess of 45,000 feet. The only Soviet fighter I can find was the prototypes of the Su-1 and Su-3 that theoretically could reach 41,000 feet without a pressurized cockpit (sounds unpleasant for the pilot even with an oxygen mask), but these couldn't get their turbochargers to work properly and the absence of a German heavy bomber threat meant they were cancelled. If the Germans were using say the DB603N turbosupercharged engine and flying at 41,000 feet for bombing of 'Tankograd' in 1944-45, could the Soviets have gotten their turbochargers to work? What about having pressurized cockpits? The meme is that the Soviets were not as technologically advanced as Western powers, so I don't know if that applies to high altitude aviation technologies as well, as historically they were never forced into countering such a threat.

    As an aside could the Germans have fielded an ultra-long range high altitude escort fighter that could reach the Ural cities and back (a 2000+ mile round trip as the crow flies)? Something like the Ju388 heavy fighter with drop tanks perhaps?
     
  2. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #2 GregP, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
    Well, one was the MiG I-222, pic below:

    i224.jpg

    It went 431 mph and had a ceiling of 47, 670 feet (14,100 meters). The engine was a Mikulin AM-39B + TK-2B (1,860 HP).

    The I-220, 221, 222, 224, and 225 were all similar in appearance and differed in engine, boost gear, had wing refinements and different propellers. Exhaust gasses on one side in the I-222 were used to drive a turbocharger. They only made 1 of each but COULD have produced them if they were required. As it happened, they weren't required for victory, so the types never saw production but WERE ready if needed.
     
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  3. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    I've been told to take Soviet testing spec numbers with a grain of salt (German too to a degree), especially considering that mass produced operational models generally did not live up to spec.
     
  4. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    They worked well enough to beat the Luftwaffe out of the skies over the Soviet Union after losing nearly their entire earlier-generation of obsolete fighters. By early 1945, a German plane had a hard time living in the Soviet sky unless he flew high and avoided combat with them.
     
  5. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    The much more questionable issue is, from where did they get an operational 2 stage supercharger?

    The VVS has no single experience with fighters that could realy operate over 6000m with performance and here is a suggestion they could perform magic right out of a hat. I don't believe a single word.
    The VVS was miles behind the USAAF, RAF and LW from technical development especialy engine development (all their experience was copied from their lend lease supply), to my opinion they would need years to get something like that to fly without trouble and reliable as frontline fighter.
     
  6. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    Any facts or sources about this?
    They had a superiority in numbers and the massive help of the west Allies to bind the LW nothing else.
    There was no single VVS fighter that was in any kind superior to a Bf 109 G10/14, FW 190 A8/9, FW 190 D-9 or Tank 152, from the Me 262 we didn't want to talk.
    The account of the VVS to beat the LW was minor very minor compare to the USAAF and RAF.
     
  7. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #7 GregP, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
    Right DonL ... here we go again ...

    I'm sure the Yak-3's and La-5FN / La-7 pilots would be quite surprised to hear they were inferior considering they shot the Luftwaffe out of Russian skies with great success. Fact is the Luftwaffe was withdrawing for many months before the final fall and there was nothing they could do about it. The inferior Soviet planes also got some Me 262 victories, amongst which was one by Ivan Kozhedub (I have a signed print).

    But, you already know we disagree strongly on most things, so this should be no surprise, huh? I will not get into a spat about it since we are in a time of low tolerance for that, but suffice to say we agree about as well as usual.

    As to facts, I read history and form opinions after I do that, from several sources. I assume you do the same, so we MUST be using different sources, huh?

    But that's OK, really. Cheers.

    If we all thought the same, life would be dull, wouldn't it?
     
  8. wiking85

    wiking85 Well-Known Member

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    Nevermind who was 'better', but what about about Soviet turbocharger developments? AFAIK they didn't really have much success with them outside the prototype stage during the war, as the Su-1 and 3 were cancelled over the problems with theirs.
    I can't seem to find any information about the TK-300B turbo-supercharger outside of it being mentioned in association with this prototype. They had a lot of problems with the earlier version, so I'm not sure how they were suddenly able to get this new version to work a year later. But then again, I don't have much information about Soviet airplanes in general, so any information you can help we find would be greatly appreciated.
     
  9. DonL

    DonL Banned

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    #9 DonL, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
    The fact is,

    that every JG, which operated till beginning 1945 at the Soviet frontline, could manage to get air superioty against the VVS at the area it was stationed, this can you read at several primary sources. The Yak-3's and La-5FN / La-7 were perhaps equal to the LW fighters at low altitude, anything above 4000m, they were inferior and there pilot training was very poor till the end of the war.

    I'm very suprised about such a statement, because since 1943, 80% of the LW was fighting against the west Allies at the different frontlines, home, south, west and north. The west Allies cleared the skies about the Soviet Union, because the LW stationed 80 to 90% of their fighters since 1943 against them. Also this you can read at every good researched book.

    The next thing I ask, is why the Soviets didn't get this MIG I-220, 221, 222, 224, and 225 operational at the timeline 1945-1949, where the cold war was beginning to get hot since end of 1945, beginning 1946?
    They were very well aware about the B 17, B 24, Lancaster and the B 29, all with high altitude performance, where are the Soviet fighters that could manage to counter this Bombers?

    You will realy tell me they could get something like that operational if they would need it? They were in need of them since 1946 as their politics were going agressive, but they were not able to get them operational, simple as that. Also their first Jets, all engines were from Germany or England and their whole jet engine development based on copys nothing else!
     
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  10. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    Hello Don
    first of all the FTH of MiG-3 was 7.8km, so clearly above 6km, secondly, VVS didn't see need for high altitude fighters because most of the air-combat in the east were fought at low and middle altitudes, so they concetraded to produce low-level fighters andstopped MiG-3 production because it didn't do well at lower altitudes. Later if needed PVO had plenty of Spitfires for high altitude work, even some HF IXs. Very late also P-63s.

    And Heer would not necessarily agree that LW could achieve air superiority where it wanted from mid 43 onwards. E.g. Red Army succeeded smash AG Centre during the Summer 44 partly because VVS could hinder effectively LW's aerial recon.

    According to Finns VVS pilot training got better as war progressed and in 43 VVS pilots tended to be fairly good, in 44 also they shooting got much better. And even LW officers noted to Finns that some VVS units were very good and that it would be a mistake to underestimate them.

    Juha
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    So the Luftwaffe really BEAT the VVS? That's a new development ... probably for the Soviets, too, as they advanced on Germany.

    I wasn't there and do not in any way condone what happened during the Soviet advance.

    But it did happen, in the air, too.
     
  12. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    #12 Jabberwocky, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013
    Soviet production facility quality varied considerably between design bureaus and between factories, but there are enough tests out there of production examples to draw meaningful data. There were quite a few inquests and tribunals over production aircraft not meeting specified performance, leading to arrests (not something you wanted in Soviet Russia).

    In answer to the first question, the MiG-1/3 family was probably the best Soviet high altitude fighter of its day and a developed and lightened version would have probably been used to combat very high flying aircraft.

    The MiG-3 was capable of roughly 395-405 mph at 23-24,00 ft and about 300 mph at 34,000 ft. It was by most accounts a very good aircraft high altitude aircraft, if considered somewhat too complex for rough forward airfields and inexperienced pilots.

    It was able to operate as a fighting aircraft to at least 35,000 ft and a slightly lightened version was trailed in 1943, with a ceiling of just under 39,000 ft.

    A pressurised cockpit had been trialled for the MiG-3 in pre-war aircraft, but war priorities forced the abandonment of testing.

    If Germany had really gone the high altitude bombing route, there the I-220 and I-230 families there as back-ups. The I-222 was tested in 1944 and found to be able to be fought above 42,500 ft. It was significantly larger than the MiG-3, but featured a pressurised cockpit and a combat ceiling of about 47,000 ft. The I-230 wasn’t quite as capable, but still had a ceiling of about 40,000 ft.
     
  13. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Because like other nations jets were coming. Why spend time on something that would be obsolete?
     
  14. swampyankee

    swampyankee Active Member

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    Of course, bombers working from 40,000 ft would be lucky to hit Lake Baikal, let alone a factory.
     
  15. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    That was my feeling.

    Reconnissance at that altitude was difficult enough, but bombing even more so.

    Given the levels of accuracy of US daylight bombing from 23-25,000 ft with B-17s and B-24s and from 30,000 ft with B-17s, adding another 10-15,000 ft to bombing altitude is going to have a deleterious outcome for accuracy.
     
  16. JtD

    JtD Member

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    #16 JtD, Aug 15, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2013
    A bombers operational ceiling doesn't mean it is going to bomb from there, first, the bombload will reduce the ceiling, second, ceiling figures are usually given for power settings that are uneconomic and not for continued use and third, the higher you fly the harder it is to hit.

    Assuming that there were no German escort fighters it is possible that the Soviets would use two engined aircraft like the Tu-2 as interceptors. These were tested as fighters and with turbocharged AM engines already.

    Also, high altitude performance of existing La-7 aircraft was just as good as that of a German Fw190A or DB605A powered Bf109, the German mainstays in bomber interception for most of the war.
     
  17. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Agree JtD, and welcome to the forum since I haven't said it yet. Chime in anytime.
     
  18. Mangrove

    Mangrove Member

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    According to the Finnish tests, the service ceiling of a LaGG-3 was 7800 meters. It took 24 minutes to climb to that altitude from the sea level. However, the service ceiling of a MiG-3 was far greater, around 10-12 km according to some German tests.
     
  19. redcoat

    redcoat Active Member

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    According to Soviet records the 1,100 Spitfire IX's supplied by the British were used in the high altitude interception role for the defence of Moscow and Leningrad from 1944
     
  20. Juha

    Juha Well-Known Member

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    According to Soviet/Russian data the service ceiling of production MiG-3 was 12,000m, but of course its production ended in Autumn 1941. And I forgot that VVS also got 196 P-47Ds.

    Juha
     
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