In the nervous 1950s, as the Cold War gained momentum, the Soviet Union faced the task of defending its borders against intrusions by Western spyplanes and deterring an attack by Western bomber armadas, which at the time seemed more than likely. The mission was to intercept incoming adversaries at long range, which required plenty of engine power, ample fuel and heavy armament. Several Soviet design bureaux took on the priority task of developing aircraft in this class. One of them was the Mikoyan OKB which had established itself as a 'fighter-maker' before World War 2. The first heavy interceptor from the Mikoyan stable was the swept-wing 1-3 of 1956 which, though never flown, was the precursor of the cannon-armed 1-7U and the missile-armed 1-75 which displayed high performance. These were followed by the delta-winged Ye-150 series of the late 1950s and early 1960s - the single-engined Ye-150 and Ye-152 and the twin-engined Ye-152A. Known to the outside world as the Ye-166, the huge Ye-152M set a impressive speed record of 2,681 km/h on 7th July 1962. These aircraft paved the way for the impressive MiG-25 interceptor.
Other contenders included the Sukhoi OKB whose T-37 was terminated by government order before it had a chance to fly. Even the Tupolev OKB traditionally specialising in heavy bombers and airliners had a say in the matter, developing the twin-engined Tu-128 - the world's largest interceptor which was so huge that it was initially mistaken for a medium bomber. The book is richly illustrated with colour and black and white photographs, including many that have never been published before, plus line drawings.