Il-54, Il-149, S.V.Ilyushin 'Blowlamp'

20k b/w picture from Russian Power Site.

ontinuing development of front line bombers, team of S.V.Ilyushin started development of supersonic jet bomber, capable to achieve speed M=1.15 at altitude 4750m and deliver 3000kg bombs at range 2400-2750km.
Early Il-54 layout, from Russian Power
Two preliminary layouts were approved by S.V.Ilyushin.
  • March 1953: Mid-wing with traditional landing gear, engines (TRD-I) in the wing roots, T-tail. This option was rejected due to large high speed interference between engine nacells and fuselage. Main landing gear, retracting into the wing, made it structure overweight and overcomplicated.
  • November 1953: High-wing aircraft with conventional tail, engine in underwing nacells and bicycle landing gear. High wing allowed to keep engines high enough from the ground. Moving bulky wheels inside the fuselage allowed to enjoy advantages of simple thin wing and small engine nacells. Of course on expense of more complicated fuselage - it had to be strengthened to handle increased load during the landing and accommodate two more large cavities (in addition to bomb bay and radar opening).
    Il-54 takeoff kneeling, from Russian Power
    The rear wheels (carrying less load than front ones) was equipped with kneeling mechanism, allowing to double incidence angle on takeoff. Traditional for bicycle scheme retractable wing tip supports assisted on taxi and Takeoff Roll.
    Three men crew included pilot, navigator and radio operator-gunner in the extreme tail. All 'work places' were heavily armored and equipped with ejection seats (pilot - upwards, navigator and gunner - downwards). In case of emergency landing each crew member could use an escape hatch on the top of his cockpit. Inflatable raft was ejected automatically if Il-54 was water-landed.
    Il-54 versions, from Russian Power
    Following versions were considered for the Il-54:
  • Tactical bomber for strikes against front line targets and behind enemy lines;
  • Torpedo-bomber Il-54T (both high and low altitude torpedoes) with 2m longer bomb bay and navigator cockpit with better forward view for low altitude attacks;
  • Photo-reconnaissater Il-54R;
  • Trainer Il-54U with instructor cockpit instead of navigator's one.
    Trials of the first Il-54 (AL-7 engines) started on April 3, 1955. Aircraft was flown by V.K.Kokkinaki and pilot noticed good in-flight handling, while landing and takeoff were somewhat more complicated than with traditional landing gear. Later same year second Il-54 was flown with upgraded AL-7F engines. As a result of those tests pair of ventral fins were added under the tail.
    Despite Il-54 passed all tests and satisfied all requirements, it did not see mass production. Country leadership was fascinated with guided missile progress and underestimated role of combat aircraft.
    Western mass media questioned existence of such a bomber in Soviet arsenals, until on June 25, 1956 Il-54 was demonstrated on airshow near Moscow (Tushino? Domodedovo?) under fake designation Il-149.
    More Links...
  • Special Thanks: Il-54/Il-149, Ilyushin 'Blowlamp' - in Russian;
  • Il-54, Ilyushin 'Blowlamp'
  • IL-54 at Virtual Aircraft Museum
  • Technical data
    Type Il-54
    Function Bomber
    Year 19541955
    Crew 33
    Engines (two) 5000kg / 8600kg AL-7 (MR-40) 6500kg / 10000kg AL-7F
    Length 28.96m
    Wingspan 17.65m
    Wing area 84.6m2
    Empty weight 23560kg 24000kg
    Loaded weight 36820kg 40660kg
    Maximum weight 38000kg 41600kg
    Wing load 435kg/m2 480.6kg/m2
    Trust/Weight 0.260.32
    Maximum Speed 1170km/h 1250km/h
    Cruise Speed 910km/h
    Range 2200km 2500km
    Ceiling 13000m 14000m
    Guns 3*23mm NR-23
    one fixed forward, two remotely controlled in tail
    Normal: 3000kg
    Overload: 5000kg
    Modified December 2, 1997
    by Alexandre Savine;
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