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Artyom Mikoyan

Artyom Mikoyan

Artyom Ivanovich Mikoyan
(1905-1970)

Anushavan Ivanovich Mikoyan was born in Sanain (now Tumanyan), a small mountain village in Armenia, in 1905. He first saw a plane in 1918, when his family took refuge in the mountains during a Turkish invasion. This was a Farman biplane that made an emergency landing there, and impressed the young Mikoyan. After the sudden death of his father, he went to Tbilisi to live with his relatives. Here he became familiar with communist ideology. His older brother Anastas had already started his career in the Bolshevik party. In 1921 Anushavan formed the first Komsomol (communist youth organization) in Sanain. In 1923 he went to live in Rostov, where he studied at a professional school and then worked as a lathe operator. He stood out for his conscientious attitude to work, was invited to join the communist party in 1924, and moved to Moscow. Here he worked again as a lathe operator, and contracted tuberculosis. His nickname Artyom originated in this period.

In 1928-1930 he had to perform military duty, at first in the infantry, and he was then promoted to the Frunze Military Academy at Orel. After the military service, he worked as a mechanic in Moscow. Then he accepted sponsorship for the Air Force Academy Y. Zukovsky that was the centre of Soviet aviation science, where he obtained a pilot's licence and also qualified as a parachutist. Before taking his degree, Mikoyan had to work at the Kharkov establishment, where he worked on the TsKB-7 gunship under the leadership of Dmitri Grigorovich

Returning to the Zhukovsky academy in 1936, he and his fellow student K. Samarin proposed a new sports plane with a pusher engine and canard layout. This was approved by the Academy, and a prototype was built, giving Artyom his first experience as a design team leader. Artyom graduated as a Red Army Air Force Mechanical Engineer in October 1937. In 1938, he started to work with Polikarpov's team as an inspector for newly built planes at Zavod 1 in Khodinka (then a suburb of Moscow); this gave him contact both with designers and with the production line. He had to frequently contact both designers and production technicians, obtaining excellent experience and gaining credits thanks to his skills. His first independent work was on the gun system and overheating problems of the 1-153 prototypes. Besides this he worked on a commission studying the causes of air accidents.

Mikoyan was offered his own design team in September, but he initially refused because of his lack of project experience and his strong position in Polikarpov's team. It has been suggested that Artyom was favoured because his elder brother, Anastas Mikoyan, was deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars (ministries) and People's Commissar for foreign trade. Although this could have had some influence, the main people behind this decision were the director of Zavod 1, Voronin, and his deputy V.Dementeev, who were worried about delays and problems because Polikarpov had too many projects on his hands.

Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich

Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich
31.XII.1892(12.I.1893) - 21.XI.1976


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