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Soviet Heavy Interceptors

Soviet Heavy Interceptors Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2005 Title Soviet Heavy Interceptors
Author Yefim Gordon Publisher Midland Publications
Published 2004 ISBN 1-85780-191-1
Format 126 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $34.95


Yefim Gordon is back with another installment of the Red Star series. In this volume (#17), the author examines a number of cold war era long range interceptors and prototypes. Where most European countries are fairly small, requiring little more that a point defense interceptor force, the former Soviet Union encompassed over eight million square miles of territory. When this area is extended out to sea and over the Arctic to protect against bombers and the occassional reconnaissance aircraft, this was a job for an interceptor with long legs!

The Air Defense Force of the former Soviet Union, the PVO, was equipped with a wide variety of interceptors that were assigned point defense and area defense missions. The long-range missions over water and ice required a large airframe to house the necessary fuel as these aircraft did not air refuel. In order to intercept a target effectively, the aircraft needed solid supersonic performance, a good all-weather fire control system and weapons.

Many familiar design bureaus answered the call for such an interceptor, but only one would serve - the Tupolev Tu-28/Tu-128 (Code-named 'Fiddler'). This aircraft first flew in 1961 and would defend its nation until phased out of service in the late 1970s.

Coverage of this title includes:

  • Lavochkin's Big Snake
  • The First 'Heavy' MiGs
  • Hurricanes Again
  • Tupolev Fiddler

Each subject covered is well-illustrated with black & white photography, line drawings, and some nice color profiles. If you've followed Soviet fighter development, especially the MiG family, you'll see some amazing prototypes that aren't well covered before this title.

Once again, the author has done a great job bringing the aviation historian as well as the modeler a wealth of excellent references for more rare prototypes and the various versions of the Fiddler that did serve the PVO