Foundations of Russian Military Flight, 1885–1925
Foundations of Russian Military Flight focuses on the early use of balloons and aircraft by the Russian military. The best early Russian aircraft included flying boats designed by Dimitrii Grigorovich and large reconnaissance-bombers created by Igor Sikorsky. As World War I began, the Imperial Russian Navy made use of aircraft more quickly than the army. Indeed, the navy established a precursor to the aircraft carrier. The Imperial Russian Army came to respect over time the work of aircraft that evolved from reconnaissance and bomber to fighter planes. Over 250 army pilots during the war received awards of high distinction for their wartime flights. After the 1917 revolution, both the new Bolshevik government and the reactionary White forces created air arms to combat each other. In the 1920s, the Soviet Union and Germany negotiated agreements that allowed Germany to violate the Treaty of Versailles by building military aircraft and training German military pilots in the USSR. This provided the Soviet Union access to the latest aviation technology and prevented them from falling too far behind the West in this crucial sphere.