M. M. Gromov Flight Research Institute or LII for short (Russian: Лётно-исследовательский институт имени М. М. Громова, Russian: ЛИИ) is an important Russian aircraft test base, scientific research center located in Zhukovsky, 40 km south-east of Moscow.
LII periodically holds the MAKS event, the International Air Show (Aviasalon).
The Flight Research Institute was founded on March 8, 1941, in accordance with the decree of Sovnarkom and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gromov, a legendary test pilot and a Hero of the Soviet Union, became its first chief.
From the very beginning the Institute participated in development and testing of aircraft and airborne systems, conducted flight research in order to pave the way to further scientific activities.
The first years of the Institute's existence fell on the Great Patriotic War, the hardest of times for the whole country. But it is in these days that versatility of the Institute's functions and resources manifested itself the brightest.
During the war, the experts of the Institute kept developing recommendations with respect to maintenance of the highest possible level of the aircraft's' military characteristics, controlled flight trials of the experimental prototypes, aided to combat troops, studied the foreign aircraft and equipment, both purchased and taken as trophies.
Zhukovskiy airfield was the Soviet Union’s equivalent to the USAF’s Edwards and as such many types of aircraft underwent evaluation.
Here some western aircraft were tested or analyzed. it’s unknown if any flight evaluations were made by the USSR. Google Earth look around for the Zhukovskiy airfield and Ramenskoye Airport shows an F-4 parked there.
- A F-86 Sabre was shot down during Korea and crashlanded in a tidal marsh with limited damage. That aircraft was recovered and evaluated in Russia.
- Two VNAF F-5s were transferred to Soviet soon after the end of Vietnam war in 1975. One F-5 was extensively tested by Soviet pilots from Chkalov's State Flight Tests Center.
- An A-37B captured in South Vietnam was also evaluated in Soviet Union.
- Wrecks from F-111s shot down over North Vietnam were sent to Zhukovskiy to be analyzed.
- There are also rumors an Iranian F-14 Tomcat defected to Soviet Union. The plane and its AIM-54 Phoenix misseles may have been tested. Some F-14 wrecks were probably brought to Russia for examination.
- Pieces of the F117 shot down over Serbia were sent to Russia.
- Pieces of US planes shot down in North Vietnam were taken for evaluation.
- Captured VNAF helicopters are believed to have been tested (UH-1H, CH-47).
Tourist jet fighter flights on Zhukovsky/Ramenskoe airbase
Due to financial problems in the 1990s, tourist fighter flights in former top secret jets became available, mainly for wealthy western tourists. The security check was comparable to the Russian visa. On offer for flights was the Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, the Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23, MiG-25 for stratosphere "Edge of Space"-flights, the MiG-29 Fulcrum and even the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. From June 2006, flights stopped on Zhukovsky. Today, flights in the Aero L-39 Albatros are available with the famous Aerobatik-Team Wjasma Rus and MiG-29 Fulcrum flights are available in Nizhniy Novgorod.
- Moskovia Airlines, also Gromov Air
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gromov Flight Research Institute.|
- (English) LII official site
- (English) MAKS, Aviasalon web-site
- (Russian) Web-page of Gromov Air, official LII aviacompany
- LII airfield at Google Maps
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