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Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov
Born Николай Дмитриевич Кузнецов
(1911-06-23)June 23, 1911
Aktyubinsk, Russian Empire
Died July 30, 1995(1995-07-30) (aged 84)
Nationality Russian
Occupation Chief Designer, General Designer of OKB-276(1949-1994)
Known for Aircraft and Rocket Engine designs

Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov was a Chief Designer of the Soviet Design Bureau OKB-276 which deals with the development, manufacture and distribution of equipment, especially aircraft engines, turbines and gearboxes.


Kuznetsov started his career as a professional coppersmith and he began working as a mechanic. In 1930 graduated from the school and enrolled at the "Moscow Aviation College" where he studied part time and worked as a mechanic. In 1933, he joined the Air Technical School in the Motor Branch of "VVIA of Zhukovsky". There he studied under Prof. Nikolai Jegorowitsch Schukowski - then the head of the department for aircraft engines research, and Kuznetsov received a degree with honors in November 1938.

The topic of his diploma there was on motors: four carburettor, 28-cylinder with a 4star aircooled power of 1500 hp at 3400 rpm and at an altitude of 6000 meters with two-high-speed driven centrifugal blowers.

In April 1939, Kuznetsov became a member of Communist Party organization of the academy and was elected a faculty. On 4 April 1941 he successfully defended his thesis on the structural integrity of aircraft engines. In the period from July to September 1942 he trained under a senior engineer of 239 fighter division 6th air force who met George Malenkov and praised the ability of Kuznetsov and subsequently sent his deputy to become a Designer at the Ufa Aviation Plant.

Here Kuznetsov worked from 1943 to 1949 first under the leadership of Klimov then as chief designer. In 1949 he was transferred to Kuybyshev (currently the City of Samara) which is headed by the State union pilot plant number 2 on the development and manufacture of advanced jet engines now known as "N. D. Kuznetsova Samara Scientific and Technical Complex". There he worked with Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, the famous Soviet rocket designer.


After World War II, captured German turbine specialists were brought along with some of the gas turbines to the Soviet Union. In addition to the already established Jumo 004 and BMW 003 engines they brought along the design documents and plans of Jumo 022 project.

In 1949, Kuznetsov was appointed as chief designer of jet engines at OKB-276 ("Experimental design bureau-276") and started developing turboprop designs further with the help of the German specialists.

It proved to be a successful engine and was completed in 1955. The new turboprop engine, named Kuznetsov NK-12, displayed great performance and was developed up to 11,000 kW. It was used in the Antonov An-22 aircraft, A-90 Orlyonok Ekranoplane and the Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber among others. The later models produced around 15,000 kW.[1]

In 1954, he began work on a two-flow jet engine with afterburner, called the Kuznetsov NK-6, which was never completed.

In 1957, He received the Order of Hero of Socialist Labor for his contributions.

From 1959 onwards, he was also involved in the development of engines for the projected Soviet N1 moon rocket. The primary engines for the development rockets were Kuznetsov NK-15 and Kuznetsov NK-15V (later developed into Kuznetsov NK-33 and Kuznetsov NK-43). Ultimately, these designs were successful but arrived too late. By the time the bugs in this very advanced design, which to this day has the highest thrust to weight ratio of any liquid fuel rocket engine ever produced [2] were rectified, the N1 rocket program had been cancelled.[3][4] The S. P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia now manufactures RD-180 engines, based on the NK-15, for Atlas V rockets, under contract to United Launch Alliance.[5]

In the 1960s he developed aircraft engines specifically for the world's first supersonic transport aircraft to fly Tupolev Tu-144, the Kuznetsov NK-144 turbofan. This was however inefficient and replaced by a Kolesov turbojet.

Based on these design experiences, the engine Kuznetsov NK-321 (also known as NK-32-1) was developed later for the supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber Tupolev Tu-160, which is also in the more powerful version of the Tupolev Tu-144 (version Tu-144LL).

In the late 1980s OKB- 267 began the development of the fuel sipping Turbo Fan Engine Kuznetsov NK-93, which has a by-pass ratio of almost 17:1 and thus an engine of a unique design in the world.[citation needed]


  • Hero of Socialist Labor (Twice)
  • Honorary Citizen Kuybyshev in 1982.


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