Li-2 the Russian counterfeit

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May 25, 2005
Somewhere near nothing.
Some of you will already know about this (Il-2 Sturmovik game owners) but I thought it was interesting so I posted it anyway!

Before the war Russia imported 21 pre-built and 2 un-built airframes of the Douglas DC-3 (later to become the C-47 Dakota/Skytrain in the west) with the intention of building their own licensed versions under the designation of PS-84, (Passazhirskii Samolet, Plant 84) they were fitted with Russian Shvetsov M-62 engine which was delevoped from the licensed Wright SGR-1820F engine which was fitted to the earlier DC-2s. However by the 17th of September 1942, they re-designated their aircraft Li-2 after Boris P. Lisunov, who was an aeronautical engineer who was a production supervisor at the American Douglas plant. They refitted their aircraft with the more powerful ASH-62 engine, after the refit they modified the Li-2 into several different variants, most noteworthy was the bomber version, the Li-2B which was capable of carrying up to 1,500 kg of bombs, and the Li-2G, which was a freighter which was kitted out with a gun turret on its back. The Russians had managed to turn the West's "workhorse" into a multi purpose aircraft which could be used for far more than a cargo/troop carrier. The Americans later modified some of their ageing C-47's during the Vietnam war, the AC-47 Gunship "Spooky" was fitted with 4 mini-guns on the portside, and used with devastating effect against the Vietcong. The AC-47 showed how useful a gunship could be, and inspired the creation of the AC-130 Gunship "Spectre" (C-130 Hercules) which is still in service today (AC-130U). Russia manufactured 6,157 Li-2's by the end of WW2, and some are still in service with companies and airfields all over the world (one was even turned into a stationary cafe at an airport in Yugoslavia!). But the funniest thing is that Russia never paid any money to Douglas for the license to build them! Russia claimed they had only built 3,500 but the Americans claim they built nearer 20,000, since then the actual production numbers have been documented. The end result is that America (although without their consent) gave their WW2 allies Russia a stable platform on which to expand, which they did to great effect, and in return America was shown how to use an aircraft far beyond its original concept.


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A slight aside but after the war a film was made in Czechoslovakia about a Czech Wellington bomber. For the film they modified an Li2 but the guns were German from old stocks.

So you had a Russian copy of an American design modified to a British bomber, flown by Czech crew armed with German guns.

Confusing or what

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