Mikoyan MiG-27ML: Legs to stand on.

The MiG-27 is the ultimate ground attack version developed from the basic MiG-23 design. Here one of the licence-built MiG-27ML “Bahadur” (Valiant) of the Indian AF. These purposeful and demanding beasts were retired from service there last December (2019). Now just a bunch of them remain operational in both Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan.

There’re many, many things I’m partial about the MiG-23 and the undercarriage is definitely very high in that list. Sheer poetry in engineering motion. 

Photo: Ishan Gore.

Savelyev 1916 Quadruplane: Step by step.

Vladimir Fedorovich Savelyev loved quadruplanes. His first one was built when he was chief engineer of the 2nd fleet “helped” by mechanic Wladyslaw Zalewski in 1916. They used the fuselage of a French old Morane F monoplane with its 80hp Gnôme attached to four wings which progressively increased their span from bottom to top. The aircraft flew reasonably well, but more power was wanted; a 100hp Gnôme Monosoupape took care of that. So equipped and with minor modifications -or maybe a new aircraft(?)-, the quadruplane performed numerous flights, some of them in anger.

Adorable, don’t you think?

Douglas A-20G Havoc: “She’s slick….., and beautiful”.

Not maybe one of the great forgotten ones of WW2, yet the Boston/Havoc family with it circa 7,500 produced deserves to be better remembered. Originally designed by the Douglas’ El Segundo as a private venture bomber, the basic design soon grew into fast, sturdy and very able aircraft. Its many variants satisfied many users, in many war theatres and in a considerable number of roles.

Magnificent Kodakchrome photo of some brand new Havocs en route (Alaska, methinks) to the Soviet Union. Notice the clever customising of the American star into a provisional red one for the transit. With almost 3,000 delivered, the USSR was the major operator of the Boston/Havoc. They adored them.


Antonov An-12B: Not flashy, but with a punch.

Well, to put it simple, the An-12 has been called the Soviet “Hercules.” The An-12 was a military medium-lift cargo aircraft developed from the underpowered An-8 via the flawed An-10. Neither of its two so-so forebears presaged its substantial success. Mind you, not in the same league of the Hercules, but close enough. Circa 1250 were produced, and a considerable number of them are still in service with military forces and in the civilian market. Furthermore, the Chinese version of the An-12 (Y-8) is still in production.

Gorgeous early in service photo. Soviet paratroopers were regular users of the An-12s. Notice the defensive armament which consisted of a stunning DB-65U powered turret with its two 23 mm Afanasyev/Makarov AM-23 cannons.