Zhukovsky is a city in Russia
(pop. 100,000) known as the world's largest aerospace
development center. It is located about thirty miles southeast of Moscow
, at 55°33'N 38°10'E. During the Cold War
, American intelligence referred to the facilities as "Ramenskoye
," the name of a nearby city: while Zhukovsky was once a suburb of Ramenskoye, it has been an incorporated city for decades.
It is named after Nikolai Yegorovich Zhukovsky, who founded the Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute and is considered to be one of the fathers of Russian aerospace engineering. The entire city continues this aviation naming theme, with streets and boroughs named for pilots, engineers, and cosmonauts.
The centerpiece of the complex is the Gromov Flight Research Institute, which has been described as the equivalent of putting Boeing, Lockheed, and General Electric on a single campus. A variety of Soviet combat aircraft, including the Su-27 Flanker, MiG-29 Fulcrum, Tu-22M Backfire, and Tu-160 Blackjack, were developed and tested there. There are over fifty testing facilities at the FRI, including supersonic and subsonic wind tunnels, vaccuum chambers, and thermal testing chambers.
Nowadays, Russian aerospace development is progressing at a much slower pace, but foreign investors have kept the operations at Zhukovsky going.
The FRI is also the base of two bomber wings equipped with strategic nuclear weapons. Seven Tu-95 Bear subsonic bombers and six Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic bombers are stationed there, ready to rain nuclear winter in the next Tom Clancy novel.