A Photo Visit in Soviet Warplane Plants

Just release, these photos show details of the Russian production lines that supplied the Red Air Forces with planes, first to grind down the "blitz," then to pace the assault into Germany.
Note: this is a pictorial article, photos shown at bottom. Photo captions are included here:

Sturmovik IL-2s in final assembly stage. In this section of a large, unidentified Soviet factory, planes are having outer wing panels attached. No continuous conveyor lines are in evidence. As will be noted in right foreground, dollies are employed to move wing sections info position for attachment.

Completed Sturmoviks awaiting flyaway delivery. Designed for low level attack missions in support of infantry, these planes are heavily armed with rockets, cannon, and machine guns. Power plant is in-line Tupolev M-38 of 1,300 hp, and top speed is about 280 mph. Early Sturmoviks were single seaters, whereas these later models are two-place, with rear gunner handling twin flexible guns. Note large diameter tube projecting from leading edge of wing near fuselage; unidentified, if may be new type of armament.

Control units for IL-4 bombers being assembled on trolley conveyers. Frame on which unit is set is mounted on casters and shuffled along for individual operations. In center of moving frame is track lock to keep work steady. At right, control column can be seen in place. Chief of assembly conveyor (left) inspects part of a unit. Evidence of Soviet's total war mobilization is shown in youth of workers. In war's early stages some plants actually underwent German''s artillery fire and, after shifts, workers fought in trenches.

Engine being installed an IL-4 is 14-cyl M-88 twin-row radial of 1,700 hp, fitted with controllable shutters, as used for cold weather operations. Wing at center section appears to be of two-spar truss-rib construction, with four attachment points for outer wings. Split trailing-edge flaps are in extended position. Exhaust gas analyzer can be seen attached to engine manifold. Odd feature for a modern combat plane is externally fixed handhold on fuselage near pilot's cockpit.

IL-4's engine cowling, which is built in two halves, gets some adjustments before installation. Component details on Soviet airplanes appear to be kept to a minimum, with ease of maintenance and ruggedness stressed.

End of a production line, with IL-4s receiving final touches before being tested. Hinged, transparent hatch is probably used as exit door by forward gunner and bombardier. Featured here are portable work stands, apparently of standardized design in various sizes, of which some may be fitted with casters.

Soviet IL-4, formerly known as DB-3F, is a long-range high-performance bomber with a top speed of over 265 mph. Normal range is 2,500 mi, and gross wt, 33,000 lb. Construction is all-metal, mostly flush-riveted. Retractable landing gear appears to have been developed from type used in Douglas DC-3s, many of which are being used by Russia's air force. Rear upper turret is power-operated, and a retractable belly turret is also incorporated in the craft.



This pictorial article was originally published in the May, 1945, issue of Aviation magazine, vol 44, no 5, pp 156-157.
The 7 photos are credited to Sovfoto.