Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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TsAGI centenary in the history of aviation: the G-5 torpedo boat

2 August 2018

In the beginning of 1920’s the Red Army command initiated fast torpedo boatsdevelopment to attack enemy ships in coastal waters. The UK’s similar fleet proved them to be good in the battles of the First World War and impressed the Soviet military commanders. The Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute was entrusted to develop the platforms. The mission was completed and the G-5 (or GANT-5) torpedo boat joined the fighting ships of the Navy Forces of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army in August 1, 1934.

A.N Tupolev’s team launched a new vessel design in February 1925. Captured British captured equipment served as the basis for the development. The task proved to be difficult: the Institute never engaged in anything similar to the creation of a fully functional combat vessel. The boat, named by TsAGI Ant-3 “Pervenets” (“First-born”) was good, but the fleet needed a larger ship. Then TsAGI started to work on the Ant-4 boat (Sh-4.) This model entered series production. The Institute was tasked to create a heavily armed vessel and they constructed the Ant-5, the prototype of the G-5.

In February, 1933 the “Gliding Fifth” went to the Black Sea for trials. The boat was notable for the increased length of the hull, modified cockpit and engine compartment, and also was armed with larger torpedoes and machine guns. In addition, instead of torpedoes, it could take mines or troopers from 22 to 50 people.

There were nine lots of the G-5 boats. They differed by thickness of panels, motors, speed, fuel and weapons. Externally they were similar.

The “Gliding Fifth” had to participate in fast attacks on enemy ships, and its main criterion was speed. The developers gave up a number of characteristics for the sake of the speed: seaworthiness, sailing range, weapons. But in practice, the boats were used for other purposes: they were involved in communications, storming ashore, evacuating the wounded from front lines, escorting vehicles, and carrying out night raids. Indeed, they fulfilled the tasks for which they were not originally designed.

Also, the G-5 boat participated actively in military operation, including the Great Patriotic War (WWII). The latest example of the combat use of the G-5 torpedo boats refers to the time of the Korean War.

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