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The Klimov VK-1 was the first Soviet jet engine to see significant production. It was developed by Vladimir Yakovlevich Klimov and first produced by the GAZ 116 works. It was derived from the British Rolls-Royce Nene. The engine was built under license in China as the WP-5.

Design and development

Immediately after World War II, the Soviet Union manufactured copies of first generation German Junkers 004 and BMW 003 engines, which were advanced designs with poor durability, limited by Germany's availability of rare metals at wartime. However in 1946, before the Cold War had really begun, the new British Labour government under the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, keen to improve diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, authorised Rolls-Royce to export 40 Rolls-Royce Nene centrifugal flow turbojet engines. In 1958 it was discovered during a visit to Beijing by Whitney Straight, then deputy chairman of Rolls-Royce, that this engine had been copied without license[1] to power the MiG-15 'Fagot', first as the RD-45, and after initial problems of metallurgy forced the Soviet engineers to develop a slightly redesigned (and metallurgically closer) copy, the engine had then entered production as the Klimov VK-1 (Rolls-Royce later attempted to claim £207m in license fees, without success).

The RD-45 was further improved to produce the VK-1, which differed from the Nene in having larger combustion chambers, larger turbine, and revised airflow through the engine. The VK-1F added the afterburner.

The engine featured a centrifugal compressor, requiring a larger-diameter fuselage than aircraft featuring the more progressive axial compressor designs that had already appeared in WWII Germany and Britain.


The VK-1 was used to power MiG-15 'Fagot' and MiG-17 'Fresco' fighters, as well as the Il-28 'Beagle'. Some engines are in use today as snow blowers.[citation needed]

Specifications (VK-1)

Klimov VK-1 cut-out.

General characteristics
  • Type: Turbojet
  • Length: 2,600 mm (102 in)
  • Diameter: 1,300 mm (51 in)
  • Dry weight: 872 kg (1,395 lb)
  • Compressor: Centrifugal compressor
  • Maximum thrust: 26.5 kN (5,955 lbf)
  • Specific fuel consumption: 109.1 kg/(kN·h) (1.07 lb/(lbf·h))
  • Thrust-to-weight ratio: 41.4 N/kg (4.27:1)

See also



  1. Gunston 1989, p.90.


  • Gunston, Bill. World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines. Cambridge, England. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1989. ISBN 1-85260-163-9
  • Kay, Anthony L. (2007). Turbojet History and Development 1930-1960. 2 (1st ed.). Ramsbury: The Crowood Press. ISBN 978-1861269393. 

External links

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