Lieutenant Alexei Ivanovich Sudayev was a Russian engineer responsible for designing several small arms during World War II.
Alexei Sudayev was born in Alatyr in August 1912. After his father died in 1924, Sudayev trained as an engineer and got a job in a state factory, working as a fitter. He then traveled to Gorky to attend further education and by the age of twenty, he worked as a technician in the Urals, where he worked on engineering dumpers for landfill.
In 1936 he returned to Gorky to enroll in the Industrial Institute and two years later he enlisted at the Red Army Artillery Academy as an engineer. In his early years there, he designed a self-loading pistol prototype, and was awarded a state scholarship. He was stationed in Leningrad when the Germans besieged the city in 1941, and in response to the desperate situation, he designed a cheap and simple submachine gun, known as the PPS. It was trialed by the Red Army under strenuous circumstances, and accepted into military service in 1942.
In 1943, Sudayev fell ill, preventing him from participating in the war effort. As his condition worsened, he became bedridden, but continued to design new firearms in hospital. He prototyped a 7.62×39mm experimental assault rifle in 1944, which was trialed against rival designs such as the Kalashnikov rifle. Although Sudayev's design showed early promise, he was unable to finish developing it, as he succumbed to his illness and died a week before his 34th birthday in 1946. He was awarded several state prizes, such as the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Patriotic War, and the Red Star.