Soviet Naval Aviation 1946-1991
This is a massive tome that covers Soviet Naval Aviation from immediately post-WWII through the breakup of the USSR. The book is profusely illustrated with hundreds of color and black and white photos, many of which may be new to Western readers. In addition, there are dozens of color profiles throughout the pages.
The book begins with a discussion of Soviet naval aviation in the years following WWII. At first, they were still using leftover indigenous designs as well as US lend/lease aircraft that survived combat. Realizing the need for a long-range navy, they began to modernize and prepare for the struggle with the US and other Western powers. This chapter discusses the organization of naval aviation forces and their work with other elements of the Soviet navy and other armed forces.
The following chapters cover development of naval reconnaissance aviation, strike force aviation, submarine hunters, fighter and attack aircraft, auxiliary and special mission aircraft, and Soviet aircraft carriers.
My favorite chapter is number 7. This covers Cold War clashes, and it becomes readily apparent that there were many more incidents where the Cold War got hotter than the Western public was aware of. Quite a few shoot-downs on both sides! With all these incidents, we really are lucky that only these situations got hot and none caused a wider war. The chapter on Soviet aircraft carriers is another favorite, as I was unaware that there were as many as are discussed in the book.
The book then concludes with a short chapter on how the breakup of the Soviet Union affected naval aviation and its organization, then presents a look at each specific aircraft and the weapons used by these aircraft. These are all laid out in order by manufacturer and designation – quite an informative section.
This is really a great book! The authors have a great knowledge of the subject matter and easily communicate it in the pages. The amount of information contained within the covers in both print and picture is as massive as the book itself. If you have any interest in the Cold War, its history, or its aircraft; then this book if for you. The modeler will find the many pictures and profiles of great benefit should he wish to tackle a Soviet naval aircraft subject. This is THE definitive volume on Soviet naval aviation, and again; I recommend it to all. It is a truly informative book.
Our thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity.