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About Sokol plant - Russian MiG Fighters Producer

Sokol Plant Nizhny Novgorod

Nizhny Novgorod Aircraft building plant SOKOL was founded in 1932. It is one of the leading companies of airspace industry in Russia. Until now it produced more than 43,000 aircraft. The company is a successor of Gorky aircraft building plant named after Sergo Ordzhonikidze originating from the date of October 21, 1929. It was on that day that the Labour and Defence Council of USSR passed a resolution to construct an aircraft building plant № 21 in Nizhny Novgorod which was built within unprecedented short time (in 21 months) and on February 1, 1932 the plant was put in operation. In August 1932 the first aircraft took off - fighter I-5, a biplane of mixed structure, designed by a team headed by an outstanding designer Nikolay Polykarpov. Within 1932 to 1934 I-5 fighter was in series production, and starting from 1934 a new high speed fighter I-16 was started to be developed. The first prototypes of I-16 were tested by Valery Chkalov, Soviet Union Hero and chief-pilot of the plant within 1934 to 1938, a legendary pilot who became famous all over the world with his non-stop flight from Moscow to USA through the North Pole. 

I-16 had 22 versions and was the primary fighter of Soviet Air Force up to the beginning of 1942: it was fighting in Spanish sky and over Hasan lake and Halhin-Gol river. Soviet pilots were flying this aircraft during the initial period of Second World War. In November 1941 under the guidance of the future Chief Designer Semyon Lavochkin the plant started serial production of La family fighters (the plant supplied to the fighting army forces 17,691 aircraft: every forth fighter manufactured in the country). 

The first La-5 successfully participated in Stalingrad battle and could equal to the basic Luftwaffe aircraft - FW-190. La-5FN in quantity was first tried in summer of 1943 in air fights on Kursk Duga: it exceeded German fighters in majority of parameters and was further acknowledged, along with La-7, one of the best fighters of the Second World War. It was on the fighters designed by Lavochkin that a famous pilot, thrice Soviet Union Hero Ivan Kozhedub brought down 63 fascist aircraft. 

The year of 1949 is the starting point of creative collaboration between the plant and Design Bureau of Artyom Mykoyan. From that time the plant has become the world known producer of MiG fighters. The first aircraft of this family is MiG-15 jet aircraft designed by A. Mykoyan and M. Gurevich. It was serially produced in the plant from 1949 to 1952. In 1950-1952 the combat performances of this aircraft were proved in Northern Korea sky. MiG-15 fighter was produced under license in Poland and Czechoslovakia. 

In 1952-1954 the plant was producing MiG-17 fighter, and in 1955-1957 - MiG-19, the first soviet serial supersonic aircraft.
In 1959 the plant started serial production of a famous MiG-21, which became the most numerous supersonic fighter in the history of the world aviation. 

From 1969 to 1985 the plant was serially producing fighter-interceptor MiG-25 - the first fully welded aircraft in aviation history, with 80% of airframe structure made of high-strength steels and titanium. MiG-25, having established 29 world speed, climbing capacity and flight altitude records, not only defined further development of world aviation but also initiated new generation of combat aircraft: development and mastering of this aircraft gave rise to technical revolution in the company. Reconstruction carried out at the end of the 60-s made Gorky aircraft building plant one of the most high-tech enterprises of the industry. 

Starting from 1979 the plant was serially producing a heavy long-range interceptor MIG-31, the first home-made combat aircraft of the forth generation. 

During 45 years of MiG family serial production the plant manufactured about 13,500 combat aircraft; the most famous of them - MiG-21 and MiG-29UB - were exported to more than 30 countries of the world. 

In the 90-s the company started the programme of profound upgrade of MiG-21 / 29 / 31 fighters. 

In 1996 Nizhny Novgorod aircraft building plant started a joint program with Yakovlev Design Bureau on development of a challenging aircraft YAK-130 intended for pilots and flight personnel training. Later on there was developed a combat-trainer YAK-130 capable to act as a multifunction tactical fighter. In April 2004 manufacture of the first combat-trainer YAK-130 was completed in Sokol and the aircraft in serial configuration made its first flight from the company's airfield.
Currently, apart from manufacture, modernisation, testing, maintenance of military aircraft, the priority activities for JSC NAZ Sokol are those related to civil products, in particular light aircraft and high-speed boats like turboprop multifunction aircraft M-101T "Sokol" (former "Gzhel") developed by Myasishev Design Bureau, multifunction amphibious aircraft "Accord-201", sea-going hydrofoil leisure boat "Sokol", ground-effect vehicle “Volga-2”. 

Sokol is actively participating in international cooperation in the civil aviation market being a manufacturer and supplier of aircraft components for the leading European aviation companies such as Aermacchi S.p.A. (Italy), Diamond Aircraft (Аustria), Walter (Czech Republic). 

Current main activities of Sokol plant:
  • Design Works
  • Production of Military Aircraft (MiG-31E Fighter-Interceptor, Fighter-trainer MiG-29UB, version B Combat trainer Yak-130)
  • Upgrading (MiG-21 BIS upgraded)
  • Civil Aircraft Production (M-101T - light passenger turboprop, Accord-201 Amphibious Aircraft)
  • Boat Production (SOKOL - titanium hydrofoil boat, Volga-2 - WIG boat)
For more information about Sokol Aviation Plant please visit
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