Yakovlev Yak-1 Vol. I

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The manufacturing and deliveries process also had some peculiarities. Manufacturing quality had been a perpetual concern throughout the whole history of the Soviet Union. Without competition, factories were concerned mostly with meeting the production numbers. Quality assurance departments existed, but they reported to factory managers and therefore could pass the output of dubious quality. Therefore, when military orders were concerned, the state had to instill an independent quality assurance body – the military acceptance. A military representative or a group would be assigned to a factory, and would be responsible for checking quality (“accepting”) of the output. They reported to the “client”, and the military could order to stop acceptance altogether if major problems were found.
There are many more peculiarities related to the way the industry operated in the Soviet Union. We will try to address them in the text. The Beginnings
…Clearly, it is not the attractiveness and the pioneering nature of the field, not the near possibility to realize the cherished dream of a man to fly, not the opportunity to create a new and fast means of transportation, but the fact that the governments of Western countries see air ships as a future powerful tool for defense and assault… Unwittingly, everyone realizes, although without proper formulation, that a colossal upheaval is coming, the consequences of which are hard to imagine, and that in a future conflict the advantage will belong to countries that mastered this new weapon of assault and defense. It would be horrible, even criminal to fall behind our neighbors in this field like we did in others…
From the report “On General Directions for Proper Development of the Aeronautics Field in Russia” presented to Russian Academy of Sciences by Duke B. Golytsin on December 13, 1909.
By 1939, the USSR had accomplished the modernization of its economy and military and consolidation of its society. The country leaders were ready to turn their attention to more active pursuit of geopolitical interests. The position that Russian Empire had in the global arena and territories that it has acquired in the Eastern Europe were lost during the Revolution and protracted civil war. The Soviet leaders saw their mission to get back the status of the global power. Failure to do so could have diminished the influence of the Soviet Union in the world making it just another regional player. In the spring of that year, with political crisis ravaging Europe, both Germany and Britain with France seemed interested in a treaty with the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, talks with Great Britain and France demonstrated that these countries were not ready to treat the Soviet Union as an equal partner. In this political situation, proposals from Germany turned out to be more attractive. In late April 1939 a government meeting on the issues of the Soviet foreign policy took place in Moscow, the details of which are still classified. It was apparently at that meeting that the Soviet leadership decided to seek a treaty with Germany. As many historians suggest, this turn was marked by the appointment of V.M. Molotov as a new foreign minister instead of M.M. Litvinov on May 3, 1939.

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The result of Soviet-German talks was the non-aggression pact between the two countries signed in Moscow on August 23, 1939. It was considered a significant success of the Soviet diplomacy. Political leaders of the USSR clearly understood that the clash of interests of the three major military-political powers in Europe - Anglo-French, German-Italian and Soviet – with each one pursuing its own goals could only result in a major war. In such conditions, a non-aggression pact was a temporary compromise that suited the Soviet Union well by allowing it to stay away from the war that was coming in Europe and on top of that to gain freedom to act in Eastern Europe and maneuver between the warring parties in pursuit of its own interests. When the Second World War broke out in Europe, the Soviet Union turned to the task of revising its Western borders that were forced upon it in 1920s. Now, Moscow received a chance to restore control over territories that used to be parts of the Russian Empire before the Revolution.
Based on the lessons of the Civil War in Spain, NKO estimated that to sustain military operations for one year, the USSR would need the capacity to produce 33,000-35,000 airplanes annually. In February 1939 a meeting between the leaders of the aviation industry and the VVS was held in Kremlin under the auspices of the party Central Committee and the SNK to discuss the possibility of significant improvement of Soviet aircraft and expanding production capacity of the aviation industry and by April, a program of development was approved according to which by the end of 1941 production capacities should have been increased by 66% compared to 1939. Simultaneously, steps were taken toward the massive modernization of the aviation products nomenclature.

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