Andrei Tupolev was a disciple and one of the first assistants of the 'father of Russian aviation', Nikolai Ye. Zhukovsky, in setting up the world-known school of aviation thought, TsAGI. He graduated from the Moscow Higher Technical School (MVTU) in 1918. Tupolev took an active part in the cause, in which Zhukovsky's ideas were implemented, - the establishment of a scientific and practical institution for a comprehensive resolution of a wide range of scientific and engineering problems of Soviet and international aircraft-making. Andrei Tupolev is the founder of Soviet all-metal aircraft prototype and full-rate production facilities and one of the most fruitful aircraft design houses in the world. He began his career of aircraft designer in 1918 with deigning and building a series of all-metal snowplanes and skimmer craft at TsAGI and a design bureau he set up as part of TsAGI to find a use for a new structural material called kol'chugaluminiy (Soviet-made duralumin). Andrei Tupolev and his team started developing all-metal aircraft in 1922; by 1936 he had built several types of snowplanes and torpedo boats. Some of them saw production and service. The team had also built 50 aircraft types, including the production ANT-4 (TB-1), ANT-6 (TB-3) and ANT-42 (TB-7) hevy bombers, ANT-40 (SB) mass-produced fast tactical bomber, ANT-3 (R-3) and ANT-7 (R-6) multi-role aircraft, ANT-9 (PS-9) and ANT-35 (PS-35) passenger aircraft, ANT-5 (I-5) fighter, the unique ANT-20 Maxim Gor'ky giant aircraft and record-breaking ANT-25 (RD) and ANT-37 (DB-2). Tupolev also set up a creative team sharing his ideas and capable of tackling the biggest challenges of military and civil aircraft development.
The team led by Tupolev became an independent company as part of the Soviet aircraft industry in 1936. At the same time, Andrei Tupolev became dual-hatted as chief engineer of the Main Directorate of Aircraft Industry of the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry. Holding this office, he outlined the strategic approaches to developing the Soviet aircraft industry and played his part in boosting the industry's material and technical basis. The Soviet aircraft industry owes Andrei Tupolev a lot for its preservation of effectiveness and its increase in output during the hardest years of the Second World War.
A.N. Tupolev was arrested on false charges in 1937. Locked up until the summer of 1941 and designing aircraft in NKVD's 'in-house' design bureau, he supervised the development of the Tu-2, one of the best tactical bombers of World War II. 11 types of aircraft, snowplanes and torpedo boats developed under his supervision were used in the war, contributing to the defeat of Nazism.
Once released from imprisonment in 1941, Andrei Tupolev was appointed Chief Designer and, in 1956, General Designer. After the war, his team developed a series of heavy combat aircraft that served as the backbone of the Soviet and then Russian Air Force for many years (Tu-4, Tu-16, Tu-22, Tu-95 and Tu-22M bombers) and enabled the nation to achieve military parity with the West during the Cold War. The emergence of the jet airliner family comprising the Tu-104, Tu-114, Tu-124, Tu-134 and Tu-154 facilitated the large-scale introduction of passenger air traffic in the USSR. Tupolev led the development of the world's first supersonic airliner, the Tu-144, which was a feat of the Soviet aircraft industry of the 1960s and 1970s. Tupolev offered numerous draft solutions in developing the Tu-160 multi-mode intercontinental strategic bomber.
Overall, A.N. Tupolev supervised about 200 projects of aircraft, snowplanes and boats of various types, about 70 of them being embodied in prototypes and production examples. The aircraft created under his direction set 78 aviation records and completed around 30 outstanding long-range flights.
Before the war, Andrei Nikolayevich Tupolev had been a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union, as the government was known at the time, and was elected to the Supreme Soviet (the parliament) in 1950. His efforts in aircraft development earned him eight Orders of Lenin, the Order of the October Revolution, the Order of Suvorov (2nd Degree), the Patriotic War Order, the Red Star Order, two Orders of Labour Red Banner, the Badge of Honour and numerous medals and foreign decorations. Tupolev also was awarded FAI's Gold Air Medal, the Gold Medal of the French Society of Aviation Founders and the Leonardo da Vinci Prize.
The Tupolev Joint Stock Company - the upholder of the Tupolev design bureau's traditions - is named after him, as is the Kazan' State Aviation University and an island in the Gulf of Ob' in the Kara Sea. A Tupolev bust was erected in the town of Kimry, Tver' Region, and his name was given to an embankment on the River Yauza where the Tupolev joint stock company's administrative and production facilities are situated.
However, the best monuments to Andrei Tupolev is the numerous aircraft he built and the dedicated team of designers who continue to develop advanced Tupolev aircraft.