Vakhmistrov’s Circus

Zveno Combined Aircraft by Mikhail Maslov

The concept of the ‘parasite fighter’, which basically involved a mother ship (the bomber) carrying a fighter (the parasite) for self-defence began during the First World War and the idea was not completely dispensed with until the 1950s. One of the many early exponents of this concept was Russian aircraft designer Vladimir Vakhmistrov who is famous for his ‘Zveno’ experiments which saw five different types of fighters attached, singularly or in pairs to a modified Tupolev TB-1 or TB-3 bomber.

Subtitled ‘The Projects, Development, Testing and Combat’, author Mikhail Maslov has left no stone unturned on this subject and the fact that he has spent 20 years researching is most obvious. The book is liberally illustrated with 180 black and white photographs, 16 sets of scale drawings and eight colour profiles plus a number of original technical drawings. With regard to the photography, apart from the odd exception, they are all unpublished and the air to air shots in particular are excellent. This really is a great subject about a concept that was fundamentally sound but as fighters range continually increased, the need for parasite aircraft dwindled.      

A very well-produced book and an intriguing subject which would be great to see reproduced in model form – hint, hint! Thanks to Tom Bonnington at Casemate for our review copy.


ISBN: 978-1-911096-75-7

Price: £21.95

Pages: 150

Format: Softback – 248mm x 185mm

Publisher: Helion and Company