I was reading this question on Quora, when I reached the last answer:

I visited the Tbilisi Aircraft factory at the end of the Cold War and was astonished to see that MIG fighter fuselages were being built with American Cincinnati machinery. I now know that they also had built-under-licence Rolls-Royce 'Nene' engines.

The claims presented are:

  1. American Cincinanti machinery was used to build MIG fuselages (in Tbilisi)
  2. British Nene engines were built under licence

Did the two most prominent members of NATO supply / license machinery to the Soviet Union, and if so, how long before the Cold War did it happen?

  • 5
    Well, the cold war kicked off almost immediately after WWII was over, and we know that the Russians got a lot of stuff during the war through the lend-lease program. It wouldn't have been manufacturing machinery, though.
    – Ben Barden
    Aug 30, 2017 at 16:37
  • 1
    It seems unlikely that Nene engines designed in the 1940s were still being built at the end of the cold war but apparently unlicensed copies were build earlier by the Soviet Union and PR China as the Kuznetsov RD-45/Klimov VK-1 and Wopen WP-5 for the MiG-15 and Shenyang J-4
    – Henry
    Aug 30, 2017 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


According to the Economic Review of the Soviet Union :

Among American firms represented were the following: ... Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. ...

Cincinnati Milling Machine Company was a maker of basic machine tools

  • There's a 1932 number of Fortune which sorta confirms that but for "American Tool Works Co., Cincinnati". Probably the machinery sale happened well before the much better known engine sale.
    – Fizz
    Nov 28, 2017 at 21:44
  • ... and that's a different company from Cincinnati Milacron.
    – Fizz
    Nov 28, 2017 at 21:52

According to Empire of the Clouds by James Hamilton-Paterson, in 1945 Rolls-Royce sold Nene and Derwent engines to the USSR; permission was given by Sir Stafford Cripps, president of the Board of Trade.

This wasn't received well by the US at the time, especially when Klimov Nene powered MiG-15's appeared over Korea. Stalin is quoted as asking 'What kind of fools would sell their secrets?'

  • The Nene scandal is actually well known. It was made possible because Labour came to power and (unlike Churchill) wanted a rapprochement with the Soviets. airspacemag.com/military-aviation/…
    – Fizz
    Nov 28, 2017 at 19:55

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