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Red Star Series Volume 18
Antonov’s Heavy Transports


Sukhoi Su-7/17/20/22



S u m m a r y

Title, ISBN, Media, Contents & Price: Red Star Series Volume 18 Antonov’s Heavy Transports
Soft cover, 128 pages
GBP £18.99 online from Ian Allen or from specialty bookstores worldwide

Aerofax Sukhoi Su-7/17/20/22 Soviet Fighter and Fighter-Bomber Family
ISBN - 1857801083
Soft Cover, 176 Pages
GBP £19.99 online from Ian Allen or from specialty bookstores worldwide

Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Yefim Gordon and Co do it again, thorough coverage of yet more Soviet Subjects.
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Ken Bowes

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Sometimes I wonder whether the history of Soviet era aviation would have been nearly as well served if Yefim Gordon had not come along as such a prolific researcher and author.

The latest from the Ian Allen imprints of Midland Counties and Aerofax are yet further contributions covering some of the more mainstream and important types operated around the world that had their origins in the design bureaus of Antonov and Sukhoi.

Red Star Series Volume 18 - Antonov’s Heavy Transports

In Red Star Volume 18 Gordon has again teamed up with regular collaborators Dmitriy and Sergey Komissarov to chart the development and service histories of the An-22, 124, 224 and 70. In his latest Aerofax volume, Gordon has addressed the Su-7/17/20/22 Fitter family and their operations around the world. 

If there is one thing Antonov are known for, it is their family of heavy lift transport aircraft. That they have excelled in this field is evidenced by the fact that the An-22 Cock, with the capability to lift 60 tons in special circumstances, first flew in 1965 at a time when the US C-141 could only lift 32 tons. Eventually 66 would be produced up until 1976. The next large scale project for Antonov resulted in the An-124 Condor, design studies for which started in the 1960s as a direct result of the challenge posed by the C-5 Galaxy. 56 Condors have been produced to date and their capability to lift outsize cargo has seen their widespread use around the world in support of the military deployments of many nations including Australia. The An-124 has also made many airshow appearances as the support act for other Russian and Ukrainian products and I remember being impressed by the Antonov pilot throwing his Ruslan around almost like a fighter at the Australian Bicentennial Airshow in 1988.  

Rounding out “Antonov’s Heavy Transports” Gordon et al address two types produced in much more limited numbers. The first of these is of course the AN-225 Mriya, a six-engine behemoth originally designed to support the Soviet space shuttle known as the Buran. Only one aircraft was constructed before the collapse of the USSR, but after years of storage it has again graced the skies as a charter cargo aircraft since 2002. The second is the An-70, a propfan airlifter which has shown great potential as a rival to the Airbus A400M but has again been hamstrung by a lack of official interest. 

Sukhoi Su-7/17/20/22
Soviet Fighter and Fighter-Bomber Family

Gordon’s volume on the Fitter family is everything one has come to expect from one his books. Good coverage is provided of origins and development of the Su-7, the switch to the swing-wing Su-17, developed to overcome the operational shortcomings of its predecessor, and a detailed look at the technical aspects of the aircraft itself. Production variations are well covered, with many photographs of prototypes and production types in service.

The most interesting aspects of the Fitter story come in the final chapters to my mind. “On Four Continents” covers the operational service of the Fitter in many air arms. Unsurprisingly the encounter between US Navy F-14s and Libyan Fitters is covered in some detail as are the lessor known border clashes between Peru and Ecuador which saw Peruvian Fitters ironically lost to Russian MANPADs deployed by the Ecuadorian army.

Of course other conflicts also receive attention from Gordon, including the Yom Kippur War, Afghanistan in the 1980s and the Iran-Iraq War. “Fitters Worldwide” if nothing else demonstrates the relative export success the Fitter family to Soviet client states and some more surprising air arms. 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger versions of pages from these books:




These volumes will be very useful with A-Model’s massive 1/72 An-22 Cock and the Revell 1/144 Condor on the way as well as existing kits of the Fitter family from a variety of manufacturers.

Given the modern subjects and widespread use, the text is supported by a considerable number of colour photographs in addition to the many black and white images one expects in these publications. Also included in both are useful appendices covering service use, construction records and line drawings of many variations.

I have read many of Yefim Gordon’s type histories of Soviet era aircraft and find them well researched and easy to digest. These two new volumes from the Aerofax and Red Star series are again of the high standard I have come to expect.

These books will serve both the history buff and modeller well.  


Thanks to Simon of DLS Australia for the review sample

Review Copyright © 2005 by Ken Bowes
This Page Created on 14 March, 2005
Last updated 13 March, 2005

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