R-1, N.N.Polikarpov

oviet-built analog of the DH-4/ DH-9 biplane bomber.
The DH-4 was fast, versatile and well-armed. DH-4 production in Russia on Dux factory was about to start in October 1917. Guess if it did or not? Manufacturing was frozen due to absence of the engines, but preparations did not stop. N.N.Polikarpov was steadily working on blueprints for assembly lines. During the Civil War some latest DH-9 and DH-9a were captured, and modifications were included into the project.
When Bolshevik government decided to gain airpower, one of the simplest solutions was to re-start old projects. Intermediate DH-4, DH-9/R-1, DH-9/R-2 were built in 1921-1923, using parts imported from the Great Britain. Gained experience and started production of the M-5/ Liberty engine allowed to create first Soviet mass production aircraft. First combat ready R-1 were built on the GAZ-1 factory under the supervision of N.N.Polikarpov in 1923. They were named "Imeni Izvestij VTsIK" and "Moskowskij Bolshevik". Mass production started same year at GAZ-10 (Taganrog).
First squad of 19 aircraft was designated 'Lenin' and presented to XIII Congress of the RKP(b) on May 23-31 1924. One of the Congress resolutions called to The Party and Workers organizations to intensify mass propaganda of gaining air fleet power as a necessary reaction of growth of military and civil aviation in capitalist countries.
It is not correct to call the R-1 a copy of DH-4/9. It was build from all domestic materials, whole construction was revised to utilize technologies available in war burnt Russia. It was heavier, carried more payload and had substantially strengthened construction.
Group of R-1s performed flight Moscow-Peking-Tokyo (M.M.Gromov as a leader), proving high quality and reliability of the first Soviet series aircraft.
The R-1 became the first Russian aircraft to be exported - Afghanistan(!!!) purchased some 20 in 1923-1924;
During 1924-1931 ~2800 were produced.



  • "History of aircraft construction in the USSR" by V.B.Shavrov, Vol.1 p.334-336;
    More Links...
  • R1/R2 at Virtual Aircraft Museum
  • R-1, Polikarpov
    See more about DH-4...
  • at the USAF museum
  • de Havilland DH-4 at NASM
  • Technical data
    Type R-1
    Function Reconnaissater
    Year 1924
    Crew 2
    Engines 1*400hp M-5
    Length 9.24m
    Wingspan 14.02m
    Wing area 44.54m2
    Empty weight 1450kg
    Loaded weight 2200kg
    Wing load 49.2kg/m2
    Power load 5.5kg/hp
    Speed at 0m 185km/h
    Landing Speed 90km/h
    Takeoff Roll 250m
    Range 700km
    Flight Endurance 4h
    Ceiling 5000m
    1000m 4.5min
    2000m 10.0min
    3000m 16.5min
    4000m 25.3min
    Guns 1*mg (synchronized, 200 rounds)
    1*mg (turret, 500rounds)
    Bombs Few small bombs on underwing racks
    Modified January 5, 1997
    by Alexandre Savine;
    Back to
    Main Gate