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Lisunov Li-2 Cab

During the Second World War, a transport version of the aircraft under the C-47 designation was produced in the United States in the amount of about 10,000 copies. The DC-3 was issued under license in many countries of the world. In the USSR, it was manufactured under the name of PS-84 (since 1942 - Li-2).

After the Civil War, the USSR began to create a new military aircraft industry. Initially, the Soviet aviation industry aimed at creating defensive aviation. The first serial production high-speed passenger aircraft - KhAI-1 - was created in the USSR. The first flight of KhAI-1 took place on October 8, 1932. It was built in Kharkov Aviation Institute under the guidance of Professor IG Neman. According to the scheme and design, it resembled the Lockheed Orion, with a passenger capacity of 6 people. The need for improvements delayed putting the plane into service before 1936, and in total 43 KhAI-1 were built, which were used on the airlines until the end of 1940. Unsurprisingly, such single-engine aircraft were often used to transport mail, not passengers.

The threat of a new world war, hanging over Europe after the arrival of Hitler to power, adversely affected the development of passenger aviation in other countries. The aircraft industry of the USSR, which created the first passenger airplane in Europe with a flight speed of more than 300 km/h, was mainly engaged in the improvement of military equipment and could not pay due attention to the development of civil aviation. The two-engine passenger PS-89 (ZiG-1) and PS-35 (ANT-35) appeared in the mid-1930s. Despite the good characteristics were produced in very small quantities. So, the PS-35, designed to carry 10 passengers with a cruising speed of 346 km / h, was built only in 9 copies.

The military began to improve the external forms of military aircraft based on the principles used in the creation of passenger aircraft.

In 1938, with the commencement of the third five-year plan, priority was given to developing technical facilities and installations at major airports throughout the Soviet Union, resulting in massive airport construction programs. Hundreds of new rural routes were also established over the next five years, and these serviced remote areas previously connected by Russian railways. A breakthrough in aircraft supplies came in 1939, when the Douglas DC-3 was manufactured under licence in the Soviet Union as type PS-84, built by the Lisunov manufacturing plant as the Li-2.

The Douglas DC-3 was put into operation in the summer of 1936. To develop licensed production of a transatlantic aircraft, the plant No. 84 of civil aviation in the Moscow region of Khimki was chosen. The main designer was VM. Myasischev. "Douglas," as the aircraft was called in the USSR, was immediately planned to be built in civilian and military (transport and landing and sanitary) versions. However, the production of even a passenger modification, which differed little from DC-3, turned out to be a complicated matter. The development was delayed due to arrests of experienced designers, including VM. Myasishchev. In the years 1938-1939. under the supervision of the chief engineer of the plant BP. Lisunova inch dimensions were translated into metric, the strength norms of practically all units and aggregates were recalculated in connection with the use of domestic aviation materials.

In January 1939 the representatives of VVS and Aeroflot accepted the mock-up of the future machine. To gather the first flying copy it was possible only in summer (before this it was assembled two copies DC-3 from the components from the Douglas firm. On September 3, 1939 began the tests in NII (Scientific Research Institute) GVF. Aeroflot employees tested machine prior to the end of the year. The aircraft obtained positive estimation, and series production was begun under the name PS-84.

In 1939 the USSR began to build the Douglas DC-3 under license - first using the designation PS-84 and later redesignating the aircraft Li-2, apparently for B.P.Lisunov, who seems to have added a window aft of the pilot's side window. Boris Pavlovich Lisunov was the Engineer Major of the factory built DC-3 under license. He organised study of new technologies and arranged the mass production of this remarkable aircraft. Altogether, over 10,000 DC-3s were built in the US, with more made in the USSR as the Lisunov Li-2.

In 1940, in order to increase the output of the SS-84, the NCAP decided to upgrade the plant No. 84 in Khimki, bringing the production capacity to 500 cars per year, building a new plant in Tashkent and organizing the production of aircraft at plant No. 124 (building TB-7) in Kazan. It has been confirmed that a total of 6,157 Li-2s in various versions were built at the Khimky and Tashkent plants from 1939 through 1952.

The characteristics of the Li-2 were inferior to those of the DC-3. The Soviet airliner was heavier, developed lower speed, bore smaller payload. Onboard equipment more modestly appeared. The engines possessed worse thrust characteristics, and they were more complex in operation. Nevertheless, the Li-2 became the best Soviet airliner and it remained the same prior to the beginning of 1950. The construction of aircraft was durable, the work of its engines was reliable. It could fly, also, on one engine. Instrument and radio navigation equipment made it possible to fly by night, also in adverse weather conditions. The aircraft required a comparatively small takeoff and landing strip.

The PS-84A design of the aircraft used the aerodynamic scheme and a large number of nodes and aggregates of the base PS-84. From the serial PS-84 the new car was distinguished by an enhanced glider, a larger wing area and new engine hoods with "skirts", as well as M-71 engines. Provision was made for the fairings of the chassis. The SS-84 was developed in several variants: passenger (26-34 seats), military transport (up to 3000 kg of cargo), amphibious (45 fighters), ambulance, staff and bomber. It was not built. In the period 1939-1941. A number of modifications of the SS-84 with AM-35, M-63, M-71, M-81, M-88, M-90, M-103, M-105 engines with M-30 diesels and American " Wright R-2600. But all projects remained unrealized, since significant modifications of the airframe were required.

Widely used in WWII, the Li-2 was to revolutionize air transport in the Soviet Union and outlasted many subsequent designs into the late 1980s. A total of 6,150 Li-2s were built over 15 years between 1939 and 1954, most of which carried Aeroflot titles. Many of the pre-war airliners and Li-2s were quickly deployed to help break the German blockade of Leningrad. The airlift lasted ten weeks and over 50,000 people were evacuated from the city, while 6,500 tons of military supplies were flown in, provided mainly by Li-2s.

The disrupted third five-year plan actually lasted six years due to the diversion of Aeroflot output into the war effort. However, the fourth five-year plan of 1946-1950 was drawn up to improve and expand the services from Moscow to the capitals of the Union Republics. In a huge increase in capability, vast amounts of military Li-2s were civilianised and pressed into Aeroflot service in order to to support the new routes and higher frequency timetables. Towards the end of 1954, the long-awaited Li-2 and 11-12 replacement, named as the II-14, entered service, and over the next six years became a key aircraft in the airline's long-haul structure.

Although World War II brought the two countries into alliance, based on the common aim of defeating Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union's aggressive, antidemocratic policy toward Eastern Europe had created tensions even before the war ended. The Soviet Union and the United States stayed far apart during the next three decades of superpower conflict and the nuclear and missile arms race. Beginning in the early 1970s, the Soviet regime proclaimed a policy of dtente and sought increased economic cooperation and disarmament negotiations with the West.

Unlike the transatlantic relative, Li-2 did not become an "eternal" airplane, and was largely overtaken by the Il-14 and An-2, which drove it out of the niche of inexpensive piston machines. Today there is only one Li-2 in flying state. This aircraft with the factory No. 23441605 was built at the very end of the serial production - the assembly shop of the Tashkent plant it left in 1952. The aircraft was operated for 20 years, and in 1972 it was written off from DOSAAF. But his fate was unprecedented for domestic aviation. After another 20 years the plane was restored by the efforts of enthusiasts of the Federation of Aviation Aviation of Russia and again began to fly. Since then, he has been a constant participant in various air shows and flights.




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