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Ilyushin Design Bureau - Pre War History

The history of the Bureau goes back to 1933, when a Central Design Bureau was found at the Moscow Aviation Plant #39, named after Menzhinski. The Design Bureau had a section for designing a long-range bomber, the section was headed by S.V.Ilyushin. In 1935 this section got the status of Design Bureau having four main branches: designing of bombers, fighters transport and cargo airplanes.

The Design Bureau history commenced with designing of a long-range bomber. Its production version TsKB-26 was later modified into TsKB-30 and launched (as DB-3) into series production in 1936. The Il-4 (a new name of the latest modification, given in 1942) came to be the essential long-range bomber used in the Great Patriotic War. Creation of the bomber like DB-3 and SB was a transition from bulk (30 tons and more) and huge (wing area more than 400 square meters) with low flight speed (180-210 km/h) to speedy maneuvering bombers (take-off weight of 6-9 tons, wing area 52-68 square meters, flight speed more than 400 km/h). The second branch of the design activity was development of the assault airplanes. The Il-2 is an armored assault airplane, flying at low altitude to support on-ground troops. Ilyushin stood for powerful defense and armoured protection of all combat airplanes. The military application of the Il-2 during the first days of the war proved the correctness of his concept of an airplane thorough protection. The IL-10 being more maneuvering and speedy also participated in combat actions. Within the given class of airplanes the DB also designed such heavy assault airplanes as the Il-8, Il-20 and the speedy maneuvering assault Il-16.

The "Aviation Complex n/a S.V. Ilyushin" began its creative activities on 13 January 1933, by the order of P.I. Baranov, the Head of the Main Department of Aviation Industry of the the People's Commissariate of Heavy Industry of the USSR. P.I. Baranov (1892-1933) was Chief of the Red Air Force, 1924-1931, and member of RVS SSSR, 1925-1930. In accordance with this order, the Central Design Bureau was founded at Plant No.39 named after V.R. Menzhinsky [later IAIA (Irkutsk)] in order to organize a complete cycle of light aircraft engineering design and manufacture.

Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin (1894-1977) was appointed a Head of the Central Design Bureau and the plant Deputy Director. The Central Design Bureau structurally consisted of independent design teams specialized at works related to the aircraft types, armament, technology and various types of tests. The Team No.1 involved in the reconnaissance aircraft development was headed by S.A. Kochergin; the Team No.2 involved in the fighter aircraft development was headed by N.N. Polikarpov; the Armament Team was headed by Y.I. Maltsev; the High-Altitude Airplanes Development Team was led by V.A. Chizhevsky; the Maritime Aircraft Development Team was led by I.V. Chetverikov at first and then by G.M. Beriev; the Static Tests and Weights Team was led by P.M. Kreison. Later on, as a result of expansion of the scope of work and the types of experimental aircraft, these design teams were gradually transformed into independent design bureaus.

By the end of January, 1933 a group of designers was formed within the team No.3. This group included S.M. Eger, V.V. Nikitin, V.V. Kalinin, S.N. Chernikov, Z.Z. Zhevagina, A.Y. Levin. Their activities were directly guided by the Head of the Central Design Bureau. This group became the first main body and main basis of the ILYUSHIN Design Bureau. From the very beginning, the aircraft developed by a new design bureau met recognition and worldwide fame.

By early 1934, some changes took place in the Design Bureau organizational structure. According to the decision taken by the People's Commissariat of the Heavy Industry, the maritime aircraft development team led by G.M. Beriev and a number of designers from Team No.3 led by V.A. Chizhevsky, were taken away from the Central Design Bureau. On their basis, there was formed a new bureau of special designs. The combat aircraft design and manufacture objectives became the main direction of Team No.3 activities. The team became the "The ILYUSHIN Team" and the Head of the Design Bureau became accordingly the team leader. At that time, S.V. Ilyushin expected creation of his first-born aircraft, and that would be the long-range bomber aircraft. The project required considerable group efforts, and the team was complemented with engineers, designers, analysts and draftsmen. In May 1934, the team included 54 specialists.

By 1935, the team developed, built up and tested the TsKB-26 twin-engine bomber aircraft which further modification was finally named as the DB-3. In August 1936, the DB-3 aircraft was commissioned into service to the Red Army. In the same year, the test pilot V.K. Kokkinaki achieved the first Soviet world aeronautical record and during 1938-1939 the "Moscow" aircraft (the DB-3 aircraft civil version) carried out two outstanding (when speaking about those years) long-distance flights from Moscow to the Far East and from Moscow to North America.

In September 1935, the Chief Directorate of Aviation Industry officially transformed the Third team into the Experimental Design Bureau of the Plant n/a V.R. Menzhinsky. The fourth, fifth and sixth team specialists that joined the TsKB-26 aircraft engineering design works became the Bureau employees. Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin was appointed Chief Designer in the newly created Experimental Design Bureau. In early 1936 the number of employees reached 90 persons. V.K. Kokkinaki was appointed Chief Pilot of the Experimental Design Bureau.

Starting from 1935, the team initiated the development of the special battlefield aircraft - the ground-attack aircraft designed to destroy hostile tanks, military equipment, mechanized units and enemy personnel. The flight on October 2, 1939 became the first test for the unknown until then the TsKB-55 aircraft that was named later as the BSh-2 armored ground attack aircraft. In two years this aircraft became famous all over the world and known as a dreaded ground attack plane. The "Flying Tank" played an outstanding role in the Great Patriotic War (World War II).

The People's Commissar of the Aviation Industry issued the Order No.704 concerning the combat aircraft renaming and this order obligated to "rename all combat aircraft by assigning them the first letters from the chief designer's name and a numerical index". The TsKB-55 ground attack aircraft and DB-3 (TsKB-26) bomber aircraft were named as the IL-2 and IL-4 correspondingly.

From the first days of the Great Patriotic War, the DB-3 and IL-4 conducted bomb strikes against the enemy rear areas. In August 1941 these aircraft bombed a capital of the Nazi Germany capital for the first time. Through the entire war, these aircraft served for the bomber aircraft, torpedo carriers, airdrop and air landing facilities in order to deliver the reconnaissance groups to the enemy rear areas. In 1941 the aircraft manufacturing plant manager received a telegram from the General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief: "Now our Red Army needs the IL-2 aircraft like we need air or bread". There were more than 36000 IL-2 manufactured and that was the record that is not broken until now. The IL-2 initiated a new branch of aviation. In 1944 the "Pravda" newspaper wrote: "The "ILYUSHIN-2" aircraft are not just the aeronautical science achievement but it is a remarkable tactical discovery".

ILYUSHIN proceeded from the IL-2 aircraft tactical employment experience for the development of the IL-10 high-speed highly maneuverable armored ground attack aircraft that considerably exceeded the IL-2 by its flight performances. A great number of the IL-10 was involved in combat during the last stages of the Great Patriotic War and the war against Japan. Mass production of these aircraft continued until 1947. The IL-10M updated ground attack aircraft were mass manufactured and were in service within the Soviet assault air forces and some foreign countries until the mid-1950s.

From October 1941 until April 1942, the Experimental Design Bureau stayed in Kuibyshev (Samara) and worked at the Aircraft Manufacturing Plant No.18 [now Aviacor (Samara, aka Kuibyshev)]. Upon return to Moscow, the Experimental Design Bureau and the experimental production were situated at the PCAI Plant No.240 territory, 17 Krasnoarmeyskaya Street. On April 21, 1942, A.I. Shakhurin, the People's Commissar of the Aviation Industry by its Order No.304 nominated Sergey Vladimirovich Ilyushin to become a Director and Chief Designer of the PCAI Plant No.240 (PCAI - The People's Commissariat of the Aviation Industry).

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Page last modified: 23-07-2014 18:08:36 ZULU