Mikhail Petrovich Simonov was the General Designer of the joint-stock company “Sukhoi Design Bureau”, Moscow. He was born in Rostov-on-Don in a family of teachers. In 1933 he went with his parents to the village of Bykovo near Moscow, then to Alma-Ata, where his father received a distribution after graduate school. Here Mikhail spent the war years, went to school, became interested in aviation, was engaged in the Society of young aircraft builders. After the war Simonov moved to their native land, Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, the Rostov region. Here Mikhail finished high school. In 1947 he entered Novocherkassk Polytechnic Institute with a specialization in “design and operation of cars”. By the third year, he had already been a Stalin scholar. He was actively engaged in cycling – road racing, even got into the student national team of the RSFSR. But the interest in aviation did not pass, and in 1951 the student Simonov, at his own request, was enrolled in Kazan Aviation Institute, in the fourth year of the aircraft building faculty. After graduating from the Institute in 1954, he stayed to work there. He was the Head of the laboratory, assistant of the Department of Aircraft Structures. In 1959 Mikhail Petrovich Simonov initiated the creation of the Sports Aviation Design Bureau at Kazan Aviation Institute, where he was the Chief Designer and, at the same time, an instructor and tow pilot of the aviation sports club. In the Design Bureau of Sports Aviation, under the leadership of Simonov, the first all-metal record gliders KAI-11, KAI-12, KAI-14, KAI-17, KAI-19 were created in the USSR. Simonov did not only design gliders, but also managed to fly sports planes, and almost all gliders that the Soviet Union had. In 1969 he was transferred to Moscow, worked as the first Deputy Chief Designer of the Dolgoprudny Automation Design Bureau, and since 1970 he was the first Deputy Chief Designer of the Taganrog Aviation Plant and the Head of the Ukhtom branch of this plant. In 1970-1979 he worked at the Moscow Sukhoi Design Bureau of the USSR Ministry of Aviation Industry as the Deputy Chief Designer, Chief Designer. He supervised flight tests and fine-tuning of the experimental T-6 aircraft, the future Su-24 front-line bomber. At the beginning of 1975 M.P. Simonov was appointed as the Chief Designer of the T-10 project, the future Su-27 fighter. In 1976, among other employees of the Design Bureau, he was awarded the Lenin Prize for the creation of the Su-24. In 1979, due to a conflict with the General designer of the Sukhoi Design Bureau, Simonov was transferred to work in the Ministry of Aviation Industry of the USSR as the Deputy Minister for Science and New Technology. He paid special attention to the creation of aviation combat complexes and, especially, the construction of an aviation on-board equipment complex. In 1981 he travelled to Afghanistan to provide technical assistance on the effective use of Su-25 attack aircraft. In January 1983 Mikhail Petrovich Simonov was appointed as the General Designer of the Sukhoi Design Bureau (in 1995-1999 at the same time the General Director of the Design Bureau). Under his leadership and with his direct participation, combat aircraft for various purposes Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-34, Su-35 and their numerous modifications, sports and aerobatic aircraft Su-26, Su-29, Su-31, passenger aircraft S-80, experimental aircraft were created with the reverse sweep of the wing of the Su-47 “Berkut”, as well as other types of aircraft. By 1995, the corporation headed by Simonov included 32 enterprises, including JSC “OKB named after Sukhoi” and aviation plants of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Irkutsk and Novosibirsk. More than 2.5 thousand “Su”-class aircraft were operated in 21 countries of the world. The Russian Air Force was equipped with these aircraft by 70 percent. On September 25, 1997, a prototype of the fifth-generation fighter S-37 “Berkut” with a reverse sweep wing took to the sky, at the same time light single-engine UBS S-54, C-55 fighter and deck C-56 were tested. By the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of September 25, 1999 for the courage and heroism shown during the creation and testing of modern aviation equipment, and a great personal contribution to strengthening the country’s defence capability, Mikhail Petrovich Simonov was awarded the title of the Hero of the Russian Federation with the award of a special distinction – the Gold Star medal. He headed the Sukhoi Design Bureau until the last days of his life, was a member of the Board of Directors of JSC Sukhoi Company. He lived in Moscow.
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