DC-3, C-47, Li-2
The DC-3, created by Douglas and produced in different countries under different names, carried cargo and passengers for more than half a century - 55 years! In addition, this machine is still a model of safety ..
In 1934, Douglas supplied American Airlines with its new DC-3 airliner, an enlarged version of the previous model DC-2. The aircraft, designed for 24 passenger, was in many ways innovative. In the new car were implemented round sleek fuselage, retractable landing gear, anti-icing system, advanced avionics, a simple and very reliable control system, as well as various "chips" that provide comfort to passengers. Very quickly, the Douglas became the main machines of American civil aviation.
In 1940, the US Army purchased the DC-3 as a transport aircraft. Here he received a new designation - C-47 "Skytrain". The transport variant differed from the passenger only by a wide cargo door in the rear part of the fuselage. Thanks to the excellent qualities of the C-47 became the main "workhorse" of the US Air Force and was successfully used, in particular, during the landing of large-scale landing forces over Sicily, Normandy, Belgium and the Philippines.
Almost immediately after the start of production "Douglas" began to disperse around the world. The British bought a large batch of DC-3, which they received the name "Dakota". The Japanese began to build a license L2D. A delegation from the USSR arrived in the USA. The Soviet side decided not to waste time on trifles and bought not only a license and airplanes, but also a machine park for the production of cars. However, this was not enough - it was necessary to transfer all the technical documentation from the inch system to the metric one. These works were headed by engineer Lizunov, in whose honor a little later the aircraft was renamed to Lee-2. But it happened later, already with the beginning of the war, and immediately after the launch into the series the Soviet “Douglass” were called PS-84. They say that even Comrade Stalin, who was extremely attentive to security proper, if he was lifted into the air, he flew only on the Douglas.
Since the beginning of the war, Li-2, as well as C-47, participated in amphibious operations. From the American cars they were distinguished by a machine gun turret, as well as the fact that the doors opened inwards and not outwards. Soviet engineers adapted the Li-2 for bombing tasks, installing an additional gas tank inside the car and hanging up large caliber bombs. Moreover, such a modification was effectively used even at the end of the war, when the modified Douglas in 1944 struck Koenigsberg.
After the war, C-47, Lee-2 and DC-3 continued to remain in service for many years. Especially great they were used in polar aviation: so successfully land on ice airfields could not any other machine. For example, in the Soviet polar aviation, the Li-2 continued to operate until the 1980 year. But this is not a record. In Latin America, the last “Douglass” were written off only in 1991 year!
In fact, initially the North American P-51 was not very lucky. It was created by request of the Royal Air Force of Great Britain (RAF) as an optional project. A neat, albeit rather heavy car (four tons) was equipped with an unsuccessful Allison engine. The plane flew perfectly at low altitudes, but as soon as it rose higher, the engine lost power and, accordingly, the speed dropped. Having received a new car from the Americans, the British first wanted to abandon it, because, despite powerful armament (six wing machine guns), for the above reason it was an unsuccessful fighter. But, fortunately, the representatives of the RAF on time paid attention to the excellent aerobatic qualities of the machine at low altitudes. It was decided to use the P-51 as a ground attack aircraft. On the armament of the Royal Air Force of Great Britain Р-51 entered with a new name - "Mustang"
Soon a rather large party of the "mustangs" was sent to fight with the Germans in Africa and with the Japanese in Burma, where they showed themselves well. The only thing that caused irritation was the low survivability of the engine. It was worth one bullet to get into the engine, as it failed, that for the attack aircraft it was clearly not the best quality.
Meanwhile, in England, there was an active search for ways to improve the combat properties of the Mustangs. One option was to install on the plane instead of the weak “Allison” pride of the British engine building - the engine “Merlin” of the company “Rolls-Royce”. And almost immediately a miracle happened - the mediocre car from the “ugly duckling” turned into a clear falcon! The Mustang with the Rolls-Roysov engine began to fly at a speed of 690 km / h and climb to a height of 12 800 meters. For planes of the time it is excellent performance.
After the recipe for taming the Mustangs was found in Britain, the Americans began to buy engines from the British for their own P-51. At first, the US military wanted to call such Apache planes, but still left the usual name. True, the American "Mustangs" differed from the British counterparts with new streamlined lanterns and more advanced avionics.
Despite the changes, the P-51 continued to be used as ground attack aircraft. And still they were distinguished by low survivability. Meanwhile, in the neighboring fighter regiments based in Britain, the P-47 “Thunderbolt” fighters were used. “Thunderbolts” - huge nine-ton machines (or as the pilots called them “pots”) were used to escort “flying fortresses” that raided Germany. They were used without much success, since they were very cumbersome and lost in duels against the lighter German Focke-Wulf and Messerschmitt. The only thing that was good for the P-47 is the engine's survivability. The huge star-shaped motor defended the pilot well in frontal attacks and withstood several hits of medium-caliber anti-aircraft projectiles.
It is not known exactly who of the pilots came up with the idea, but soon the rumors about the desire of the regiments of the Mustangs and Thunderbolts to swap cars came to the Air Force command. They conducted comparative tests of the P-51 and P-47, and as a result, the obvious became clear - the Thunderbolt turned out to be a good attack aircraft, and the Mustang - an excellent escort fighter.
From the beginning of 1944, the Mustangs began to escort the “flying fortresses” of the B-17 during raids on Germany. There, hundreds of kilometers from the bases, they managed to shoot down enemy interceptors and successfully return home. Literally over the year, the color of the fascist fighter aircraft was almost completely knocked out. And considerable merit in this belonged to the pilots of the "Mustangs".
After the end of the Second World War, the military biography of the Mustangs did not end there. Most of the P-51 migrated to the Australian and South African air forces, the "Mustangs" took part in the battles of the Korean War. Of course, the Mustang fighter jets could not withstand Korea — they lost in speed. But for fighters with piston engines, work was found — if jet machines were fighting for air supremacy, for example, Mustangs fought with another aircraft legend - the Soviet "bookcase" Po-2.
Although by the end of the Korean War the P-51’s combat path was over, it did not break up with the sky. Thanks to the chic aerobatic qualities, many Mustangs moved into the hangars of private pilots. North American has produced a large batch of racing cars based on the Mustang, as well as two-seater administrative aircraft. At one of these "civilian" P-51, for example, the actor Tom Cruise is now flying.
“The simpler - the better” - apparently, aircraft designer Nikolay Polikarpov was guided by just this principle, creating a new training aircraft for flight schools in 1926. The aircraft was built according to the biplane scheme, which by that time was considered obsolete. High speed from a biplane is difficult to expect, but it made the car very maneuverable, allowing you to take off and land at very low speeds. The plane's glider was made of pine and plywood structures, covered with percalem - a fabric that, thanks to special impregnation, became durable and withstood strong mechanical effects. The car was named U-2, the letter in the title indicated the purpose of the aircraft - “training”. On this machine, prepared hundreds of thousands of pilots.
With the beginning of the war, the U-2 became a combat aircraft. It would seem that the plywood-linen bookcase has nothing to do on the fronts, where the most modern high-speed planes fought in the sky. But suddenly, the U-2 occupied a unique niche that was not available for faster and more modern machines. In addition to the traditional for the "celestial slug" functions - sanitary, connected, reconnaissance and correction - the machine was used as a night bomber. Here a unique aircraft carrying capacity came in handy. With the take-off weight in 890-1100 kg, the U-2 could lift up to 350 kg bombs! With the onset of darkness, the U-2 pilots broke through the front line and "hung" for hours over the positions and the nearest rear of the enemy, terrorizing his personnel, striking communications. Thanks to extremely simple aerodrome maintenance, the U-2 proved to be a very effective bomber. Judge for yourself: the Pe-2 bomber per day made an average of two sorties (the airfield service took a while), during which they dropped kg of bombs on the enemy to 1500. And U-2 could make eight sorties a day, “carrying” 2400 kg of bomb load.
During the war, the U-2 received a new name in honor of its creator designer Polikarpov - Po-2.
It is worth noting that flying on the Po-2 during the war years was a dangerous occupation. Plywood-linen design burned for a few seconds, often not giving the pilot the opportunity to jump with a parachute. A small speed turned her into an easy target for anti-aircraft gunners. But the German pilots received an Iron Cross for every downed Po-2 - it was such a difficult task to bring down Po-2 on a fighter. The low speed and high maneuverability of the "rus plywood" allowed pilots to dodge German aircraft: as the enemy fighter approached the distance of the shot, the Po-2 abruptly went away. There have been cases when Po-2 went away from attacks on beams and ravines. One German pilot remembers how he tried to knock down a "bookcase", which, using a small turning radius, circled around the bell tower, preventing the "messeur" from aiming ...
Sometimes the unique aerobatic properties allowed us to perform absolutely outrageous things. For example, 10 in August 1945, the crew of Po-2, consisting of the pilot of the junior lieutenant Pashenov and the navigator Seroshtan, carried out the task of bombing the Japanese garrison. As a result of the bombing, the headquarters building was set on fire. The Japanese began to scatter. Taking advantage of this, Pashenov landed near the burning headquarters, removed the machine gun from the plane and opened fire on the Japanese. After destroying several enemy soldiers, Pashenov ran into the building, took away the documents found there, then took off and returned safely to his airfield!
Po-2 has repeatedly distinguished itself in the Korean War. It would seem that at the time of jet machines this antediluvian plane had nothing to show. But no! On-2 again, as in the days of the Second World War, took up their own business - to terrorize enemy soldiers at night. The Americans called these planes "Kings, raising from the bed." The Kings did not only get out of bed, but they destroyed entire columns of troops and tankers. But the most impressive was the raid of the North Korean Po-2, produced by 17 on June 1951. At night, a stack of shelves bombed an American airfield in Suwon, where they destroyed the newest F-9 Saber 86. And 21 Jun repeated the raid and destroyed 10 machines.
When, in 1939, the British firm De Heviland offered its new Mosquito DH-98 bomber, the engineers and pilots were perplexed - the novelty was wooden! Well, in distant Russia, almost all aircraft, including fighter jets, were made of wood and canvas, but aluminum dominated British aviation for a long time. Even more puzzling was the fact that there was not a single machine gun on the plane. At all! And this is when other bomber as a defensive weapons mounted a whole battery of machine guns and cannons.
Designers "De Haviland" explained - they have relied solely on speed. It was she who was supposed to protect the Moskito from the Messerschmitts. To do this, the outer surfaces of the aircraft were carefully cleaned of irregularities and polished, all protruding parts were hidden in the fuselage, and the joints between the parts are reduced to a minimum. The efforts have justified themselves: the Mosquito has developed speed in 644 km / h - more than the Luftwaffe fighters!
Despite the excellent data, at first the command of the Royal Air Force did not know where to stick this wooden plane. Finally, in 1941, it was decided to release the Moskito batch in the intelligence version. The first combat departure of the aircraft took place on September 20 1941 of the year - DH-98 flew over Brest and Bordeaux. And almost immediately it turned out the correctness of the decision to make a bet on speed. The plane easily left German interceptors ...
A little later for DH-98 found another lesson. They became heavy night fighters. Radars, four guns, four machine guns were put on the aircraft and sent to hunt for the enemy Heinkels and Junkers. "Mosquito" proved to be the best possible.
Soon the assault version of the DH-98 appeared. Equipped with automatic cannons, aircraft patrolled over the sea, looking for submarines. And if found, the submarines were very unlucky - after all, even minimal damage made diving impossible, because of which the boat became an easy target.
But best of all, the Moskito felt themselves in the role for which they were originally intended - as light bombers. The relative small bomb load - 900 kg was compensated for by the enviable accuracy of the bombing.
For the DH-98 bomber version, the main occupation was the destruction of bridges and dams in France and Belgium. The Moskito pilots have developed a unique method for dropping bombs from a cabriolet. The bomb dropped from a minimum height first flew flat on the earth's surface, then flew to the dam with a ricochet and detonated there already.
For every thousand DH-98 sorties, there were only eleven lost vehicles. It was a record figure for the British Air Force. As a rule, in combat reports it was the same: “The task was completed successfully! All "Moskito" returned to base. " Pilots could not get enough of the ease of operation and excellent survivability of the aircraft. Wood impregnated with a special compound turned out to be stronger than aluminum. It perfectly kept the bullets and shrapnels, and also did not burn, but only charred. Airplanes easily departed from most of the then German fighters, using speed and maneuverability.
After the war, DH-98 continued to fly successfully. Even when jet aircraft were already reigning in the sky, the British used loyal plywood bombers. For example, the RAF used them during conflicts in the Middle East. The last such cars were decommissioned only in 1961 year. A total of 77781 Mosquito was released. And almost everyone left great memories with the pilots of the Royal Air Force.
The unpleasant 1 incident of May 1961 of the year, the American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Urals, forced the Soviet leadership to think about the reliability of the country's air defense. Nikita Khrushchev’s faith in anti-aircraft missiles was seriously undermined. Although the C-75 anti-aircraft missile systems managed to get the U-2, it became obvious that a new high-altitude high-speed interceptor was needed. Especially since the Americans soon threatened to launch a new spy into the series - the ultra-fast SR-71 Blackbird. Its speed should be equal to three speeds of sound, and the height of the flight to reach 20 000 meters!
The USSR found what to say - in 1965, a completely fantastic MiG-25 car flew into the air. The two-killer aircraft developed a tremendous speed of three speeds of sound, flew over a distance of more than 2000 km, climbed to a height of 24 000 meters! The MiG-25 was almost half made of titanium. Other materials did not fit - after all, when flying at such speeds, the surface of the aircraft became white-hot. The price of the new aircraft was transcendental, but the defensive tasks required just such machines. The best in the world (from 1965 to 1978 year on the MiG-25 set 25 world records of height and rate of climb).
MiG-25 was produced in three versions - reconnaissance, shock, and as a fighter-interceptor. And the opportunity to try the car in the case was provided during the next escalation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. At that time, an air group that was armed with MiG-25 was sent to Egypt. Despite the fact that Israel was ready to meet with the MiG-25, direct contact never took place. When a titanium plane appeared in the sky above the promised land, several dozens of "Phantoms" and "Mirage" rose to intercept. But their ceiling did not allow to get the Soviet car, and she proudly defiled over targets, photographing in all details the secret bases, ports, airfields, launchers and army positions. The Israelis tried to break through to the MiG base many times to destroy the vehicles on the ground, but every time they were met by Soviet missiles.
The Americans closely followed the epic, and probably more than once wondered how to get this fantastic car. But failed. The MiG-25, due to its high cost, was released by a very small circulation of less than one and a half thousand vehicles and, unlike other aircraft, the USSR initially did not sell them to anyone. The incident helped (although so far many espionage specialists believe that this is a well-thought-out operation).
September 6 1976 of the year suddenly appeared over the Soviet military aircraft. Having circled, he landed on the civil airfield of the city of Hakodate, nearly ramming the Boeing 727. Arriving at the airport, the Japanese and US military were surprised to find the latest Soviet MiG-25P with the tail number 31. The pilot of the plane introduced himself as senior lieutenant Viktor Belenko.
The Soviet side, having learned about the incident, immediately declared that the pilot got lost and demanded that the plane and the pilot be returned. The Americans and the Japanese hurried to gut the car to the cog, more than sixty Japanese and twenty American experts poked around for about a week in the MiG, figuring out the slightest nuances of the engines, equipment and reflective capabilities. But the main trophy was the identification of "friend or foe". Having learned everything that is needed, the Japanese returned the ill-fated MIG back to the USSR.
It seemed that after Belenko’s betrayal, the plane could have given up on the plane. But in the end, the MiG-25 only won. As a result of this “hijacking” of the Air Force and the Air Defense of the country, it was necessary to quickly change the identification of “friend or foe” and upgrade the MiG-25. Works were completed in 1982 year. The modernized aircraft proved itself from the best side, now the USSR began to sell it abroad. Not a single car was lost as a result of the fighting, and flying accidents with the “twenty-fifths” were rare. Later, a more advanced MiG-25 aircraft replaced the MiG-31.