Klimov VK-1

The Klimov VK-1 was the first Soviet jet engine to see significant production. It was developed by Vladimir Yakovlevich Klimov and first produced by the GAZ 116 works. It was derived from the British Rolls-Royce Nene plans for which were sold to the Soviet Union by the British as a goodwill gesture in what has been widely regarded as a bad move by Western military powers.

Immediately after World War II, the Soviet Union manufactured copies of first generation German Junkers 004 and BMW 003 engines, which were advanced designs with poor durability, limited by the state of metallurgy at the time. However in 1946, before the Cold War had really begun, the new British Labour government under the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, keen to improve diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, authorised Rolls-Royce to export 40 Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal flow turbojet engines. In 1958 it was discovered during a visit to Beijing by Whitney Straight, then deputy chairman of Rolls-Royce, that this engine had been copied without license to power the MiG-15 'Fagot', first as the RD-45, and after initial problems of metallurgy forced the Soviet engineers to develop a better copy, the engine had then entered production as the Klimov VK-1 (Rolls-Royce later attempted to claim £207m in license fees, without success).

The comparatively simple RD-45 proved troublesome due to Soviet inexperience with engineering and materials,Dubious|date=March 2008 but was further improved to produce the VK-1 which differed from the Nene in having larger combustion chambers, larger turbine, and revised airflow through the engine. The Soviets partially tackled the metallurgical issue by touring the Rolls-Royce plant in specially-designed shoes intended to pick up metal shavings for later analysis. The VK-1F added the afterburner.

The VK-1 was used to power MiG-15 and MiG-17 'Fresco' fighters, as well as the Il-28 'Beagle'.

The engine featured a centrifugal compressor unlike more progressive axial flow compressor of the German engines, requiring a thicker fuselage than aircraft featuring axial flow compressors.

Specifications (VK-1)


length=2,600 mm (102 in)
diameter=1,300 mm (51 in)
weight=872 kg (1,395 lb)
compressor=Centrifugal compressor
thrust=26.5 kN (5,955 lbf)
specfuelcon=109.1 kg/(kN·h) (1.07 lb/(lbf·h))
thrust/weight=41.4 N/kg (4.27:1)

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