Mikhail Simonov, father of the Flanker, dies at 81

Sukhoi’s Mikhail Simonov, who designed the Su-27 Flanker and unlocked the export market for the Soviet Union’s most prized weapons systems, died earlier today in Russia. He was 81.

Born between the Black and Caspian seas in Rostov-on-Don, Simonov graduated from the Kazan Aviation Institute in 1954, to become chief designer of a series of all-metal gliders. Moving to Sukhoi in the late 1960s, Simonov led the flight test campaigns for the Su-24 and Su-25, then accepted the challenge of designing the Su-27 — the USSR’s response to the American F-14, F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 fighters.

For his accomplishments, Simonov received two of the highest honors awarded by the Soviet Union for scientific achievement — the Lenin Prize and the order of the Red Banner of Labor.

Last October, London’s Telegraph newspaper produced an excellent appreciation of Simonov to mark the occasion of his 80th birthday, which I mentioned here.

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3 Responses to Mikhail Simonov, father of the Flanker, dies at 81

  1. Robert 4 March, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    R.I.P.

    What a legend.

  2. Bjørnar Bolsøy 6 March, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    Godspeed, Sir.

    B. Bolsøy
    Oslo

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