By the mid 1950s the Russian Air Force had the Americans totally duped into believing they had hundreds of Bison Bombers poised and ready to strike at the heart of American cities, but the Soviets knew they still lacked a way of reaching the continental United States. This led to a top secret project led by an Italian named Robert Ludvigovich Bartini to develop a supersonic amphibious craft with the ability to refuel at sea via a submarine.
After the Fascist takeover in Italy in 1923, Robert Ludvigovich Bartini was transferred undercover to the USSR as an aviation engineer. Along with his transfer, he took along all the latest Italian design and avant-garde technology he was able to gather. He occupied several engineering and command positions in the Soviet Air Force and Red Army. He became the head of the department of amphibious experimental aircraft design in 1928. He was the head of the design department of NII GVF, general designer (chief designer), since 1930. (source: Wikipedia.org)