Gromov Flight Research Institute
|Owner||United Aircraft Corporation|
Gromov Flight Research Institute or GFRI for short (Russian: Лётно-исследовательский институт имени М. М. Громова, Russian: ЛИИ) is an important Russian aircraft test base, state scientific research center located in Zhukovsky, 40 km south-east of Moscow.
It has one of the longest runways in Europe at 5,403 m with concrete surfacing covers the area of 2.5 million square meters. The airfield was used as the backup landing site for the Shuttle Buran test program and also as a test base for a Buran's aerodynamic prototypes. (See OK-GLI)
GFRI periodically hosts the MAKS event, the International Air Show (Aviasalon).
At present, GFRI is also hosted Zhukovsky International Airport.
The airfield is also known as Ramenskoye Air Base.
The Flight Research Institute was founded on March 8, 1941, in accordance with the decree of Sovnarkom and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Mikhail Gromov, a legendary test pilot and a Hero of the Soviet Union, became its first chief.
From the very beginning the Institute participated in development and testing of aircraft and airborne systems, conducted flight research in order to pave the way to further scientific activities.
The first years of the Institute's existence fell on the Great Patriotic War, the hardest of times for the whole country. But it is in these days that versatility of the Institute's functions and resources manifested itself the brightest.
During the war, the experts of the Institute kept developing recommendations with respect to maintenance of the highest possible level of the aircraft's' military characteristics, controlled flight trials of the experimental prototypes, aided to combat troops, studied the foreign aircraft and equipment, both purchased and taken as trophies.
Zhukovsky airfield was the Soviet Union’s equivalent to the USAF’s Edwards and as such many types of aircraft underwent evaluation.
Here some western aircraft were tested or analyzed. it’s unknown if any flight evaluations were made by the USSR. Google Earth look around for the Ramenskoye Airport shows an F-4 parked there.
- Wrecks from F-111s shot down over North Vietnam were sent to Zhukovskiy to be analyzed.
- There are also rumors an Iranian F-14 Tomcat defected to Soviet Union. The plane and its AIM-54 Phoenix misseles may have been tested. Some F-14 wrecks were probably brought to Russia for examination.
- Pieces of the F117 shot down over Serbia were sent to Russia.
- Pieces of US planes shot down in North Vietnam and their captured electronic countermeasures equipment were taken for evaluation (F-111, A-6, A-7, B-52, F-4, F105, etc.).
- Captured VNAF helicopters are believed to have been tested (UH-1H, CH-47).
Tourist jet fighter flights on Zhukovsky/Ramenskoe airbase
Due to financial problems in the 1990s, tourist fighter flights in former top secret jets became available, mainly for wealthy western tourists. The security check was comparable to the Russian visa. On offer for flights was the Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, the Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23, MiG-25 for stratosphere "Edge of Space"-flights, the MiG-29 Fulcrum and even the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. From June 2006, flights stopped on Zhukovsky. Today, flights in the Aero L-39 Albatros are available with the famous Aerobatik-Team Wjasma Rus and MiG-29 Fulcrum flights are available in Nizhniy Novgorod.
- Moskovia Airlines, also Gromov Air
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