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A Georgian Shaman (Yes, I have been Foolish too many times...)

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Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing TAM-1 'Foolish' - PVO Stany, Soviet Air Force,1961


Following the movement of the Taganrog and Sevastopol aircraft factories to Tbilisi in Georgia during 1941, the formation of the Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing company (TAM) saw TAM manufacture large amounts of LaGG-3 and Yak-3 fighters for the Soviet Air Force during World War 2. After the war the company scaled down but continued to manufacture Yakovlev fighter aircraft including the first Soviet jet fighter, the Yak-15, in 1946 followed by the Yak-17 and Yak-23 gaining considerable experience before switching to the manufacture of the MiG-15. In early 1949 TAM sought official permission to design their own aircraft and, once granted, Irakli Chelidze was promoted to become TAM's senior designer. 


Meanwhile, in 1949 the PVO Strany (Soviet Air Defence Forces) was separated from the other Soviet Armed Forces services (but with equal status) with a declared principal aim of defending Soviet airspace and immediately issued a requirement for a supersonic interceptor with long range and heavy armament. Three OKB's submitted designs for this requirement; Lavochkin, Yakovlev and TAM. Lavochkin's La-190 was a small, highly swept-wing design ultimately let down by a poor engine whilst Yakovlev's Yak-1000 demonstrated such poor handling characteristics during ground tests that it never flew! TAM's design, however, was very well regarded and sufficiently large for the mission but engines of sufficient thrust were simply not available to realise the design's tremendous potential. At this stage, Stalin intervened by issuing a directive that the MiG OKB should design a smaller supersonic fighter eventually leading to the successful MiG-19 (first flown in September 1953) and allowing TAM to continue with their larger TAM-1 design whilst Tumansky refined their promising R-11 engine which would later power the MiG-21, Yak-28 and Su-15. 


The prototype TAM-1 took to the air in Tbilisi on September 29th, 1954 and even on the low thrust of it's early R-11 engines it exhibited excellent performance and was soon selected for series production. After a successful flight testing phase the TAM-1 eventually entered service in November 1956 with PVO units in the Moscow Air Defence District and Leningrad Military District before being issued to PVO units in the Byelorussian Military District and Far Eastern Military District in 1957 and 1958. Known as the 'Champion' in Soviet service the TAM-1 was given the rather less flattering NATO codename of 'Foolish' but remained in service until 1970 when the 689th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment re-equipped with the Mig-25 'Foxbat'.






Edited by Spinners
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Now thats pretty cool. Guns only ormit can carry one of those huge soviet A-A missiles?

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I have the feeling the US Air Force went on a wild spy hunt after seeing that in the air... :D

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