View Full Version : RR Nene for a game of billiards??

Shaggy Sheep Driver
23rd Jan 2003, 19:53
I’m just watching ‘Battle Stations’ on Ch4 about the Mig 15. Some nice flying footage, but they told a story I’d not heard before.

The Mig team were invited to visit RR post war, and stayed with a RR executive. They played billiards and the stake was a Nene engine. They won, and got the engine, which certainly helped the Mig 15 to later out perform the Sabre in Korea.

The way I’d hard it, the Labour government (spit!) of the day GAVE the engine to the US *and* the USSR.

Anyone know the truth about this???


henry crun
23rd Jan 2003, 20:50
I have never heard of that story SSD, it sounds most implausible.
That sort of decision would have to be made at a much higher level than just a RR exec.

I cannot find the reference at present but there is documentary proof that the Labour government of the day did, in a moment of extreme lunacy, give this engine to the soviets.

It has even been suggested that the ideological leanings of certain members of that government influenced the decision, but I could not possibly comment on the truthfullness or otherwise of that. :)

23rd Jan 2003, 21:05
I didn't see the programme, but I'd take the billiards story with a pinch of salt (or shot of Stolichnaya, as you will). As I understood it, the Labour government of the day (SSD's spit seconded) offered the Nene to Russia in September 1946 under the terms of a trade agreement. Ten engines were shipped immediately, followed by a further 15 in March 1947 and more later. The first engines were stripped, 'reverse engineered' (the Russians were very good at that, remember the Tu-4 Superfortress clone?) and production drawings issued to Klimov, whose Nene lookalike VK-1PO had previously been destined for the MiG-15. The Nene went into production, without such niceties as licences or royalties, as the RD-45. Klimov had reportedly been confident of being able to produce the Nene even without the compliant Labour government via data gathered by Soviet intelligence sources. In the event they didn't need it.

Part 2: Now that I've checked, rather than relying on faded brain, I can add a little more.The deal came about after Russian aviation minister Mikhail Krunichev and his deputy Aleksanr Yakovlev asked Stalin to make a direct request to the British Government to buy R-R Derwents and Nenes. Stalin is supposed to have retorted along the lines of, "What kind of fool would agree to sell his country's secrets?" Step forward Sir Stafford Cripps, who was so anxious to please his chums in Moscow that he readily agreed, and a Russian party, including Artyom Mikoyan, was in London and Derby within the week, and actually took the first ten Nenes back with them. You couldn't make it up. Why, it's almost as daft as suggesting that a government might allow terrorists into the country under the guise of 'asylum seekers', provide houses for them, give them pocket money courtesy of taxpayers, and even appoint people to ensure that they were getting all their 'benefits' and 'human rights'. Maybe this should be on 'Jet Blast', which come to think of it is exactly what Labour gave the Russians, and trimmed 18 months off the development cycle of what was to become the MiG-15.

Lu Zuckerman
24th Jan 2003, 01:49
The American government gave the Russians a brand new Sikorsky S-58 to be used as an executive transport for the then Russian president. Everyone screamed that the Russians would copy the design through reverse engineering and all of our secrets would be lost. I have been around in the helicopter and aerospace business for a very long time and I have never seen anything on Russian helicopters that resembled anything made by Sikorsky.


henry crun
24th Jan 2003, 03:23
Maybe they looked at it Lu and figured there was nothing worth copying, and with a little more effort they could come up with something uglier. :D

24th Jan 2003, 06:55
To make sure they won the billiards game the Russians fielded their most capable player Inov the Red! :D :D

astir 8
24th Jan 2003, 07:13
Suggest you see Sir Stanley Hooker's book "Not Much of an Engineer" for the sad story of the Nene

The most widely built jet engine in the world?

Except in Britain of course.

Sounds familiar

24th Jan 2003, 08:06
At least the second prototype of the Iljushin IL-28 (http://www.suchoj.com/andere/IL-28/home.shtml) jet bomber was equiped with Rolls Royce Nene jet engines, because the Klimov engines of the first protype were too weak for the heavy plane. Later versions got stronger klimov engines.

Don´t know how the russions got the engines, maybe they have won a billiard game, more likely they won a wodka drinking contest or russian roulette :D

24th Jan 2003, 10:02
Lu: Is that the S-58 that I saw at the Monino museum? There was also a Vertol 44, both in US civilian markings, and looking somewhat incongruous among all the Russian prototypes.

Genghis the Engineer
24th Jan 2003, 10:07
Re: Lu's point, the clever stuff on a helicopter tends to be more internal, whilst the clever stuff on a FW aircraft is often fairly visible.


24th Jan 2003, 12:25
Loved the bit about Ivan stomping around the floor around the turbine lathe in soft shoes hoping to attract some metal shavings for analysis!