Aviation of World War II

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Long-Range Bomber

DB-LK (long-range bomber - flying wing) - experimental, tailless military aircraft - bomber, reconnaissance and artillery spotter. Approaching the "flying wing" according to the scheme, the aircraft was of interest for creating a high-speed high-altitude rocket aircraft in the future.

Professor Belyaev suggested to his talented follower Leonid Selyakov, in the newly organized OKB-16, to rework the project of a high-speed passenger aircraft into a long-range bomber. It was 1938. The DB-3 bomber was already performing its duties quite well. The design goal of the DB-LK is one: to surpass its performance in terms of tactical and technical characteristics.

The aircraft - with two fuselages formed by elongated engine nacelles with two M-87B engines of 950 hp each. The horizontal tail was located high on the keel. Motor nacelles, and this was the main advantage of the design, formed the rear of the glazed cockpits of the shooters, giving them an extensive overview, and the cockpits were able to rotate around the axes of the fuselage. On the rear of the center section there was a large area of ​​vertical tail.

Crew 4
Maximum speed over ground, km / h 21.60
Wing area, m² 56.87
Length, m 9.78
2 × radial PE M-87B, h.p. 2 × 950
Weight, kg
Empty 6,004
Loaded weight 9,061
Gross weight 10,672
Maximum speed over ground, km / h 395
Maximum speed at an altitude of 5100 m, km / h 488
Service ceiling, m 8,500
Service range, km 1,270
Ferry range, km 2,900
Six 7.62-mm ShKAS machine guns, bombs, kg 2000

DB-LK with M-87B engines was removed from testing due to the inaccessibility of its take-off and landing properties to medium-skilled pilots: poor visibility for the pilot and navigator, targeting and bombing is not provided, fuselage rifle installations are not well developed and the aircraft cannot be fully loaded bombs and fuel due to poor alignment and takeoff properties of the aircraft. The commission, highly appreciating the constructive idea of ​​the aircraft, proposed, after processing and eliminating all the shortcomings, to submit the DB-LK again for testing at the Air Force Research Institute. The unusual plane was put to the "eternal stop" in Chkalovskaya.

The fundamental novelty of the design evokes involuntary respect and sympathy for this aircraft. Practice has shown that the "flying wing" DB-LK had its own advantages and disadvantages. There were still more of the latter ... The DB-LK was, as it were, a transitional design from an aircraft of a conventional scheme to a "flying wing", which, as subsequent experience showed, has a much higher fuel efficiency and weight efficiency than a conventional aircraft. But more advanced technologies are required to build a real "flying wing".

Photo Description

Drawing DB-LK

In August 1940, Belyaev prepared a list of alterations that could satisfy many of the requirements of military testers. Initially conceived small changes soon began to look very dramatic:

Replacement of M-87 engines with M-81 engines with a capacity of 1500 hp. and rework of all motor equipment.

Replacing the landing flap on the wing with a slotted flap, introducing an additional slat.

Introduction of the synchronization of the landing flaps with the stabilizer.

Transition to a 3-support landing gear with a bow strut.

Changing the power frame of the shooting points.

Gradually it became clear that a completely new aircraft would have to be built, and it should be oriented towards the installation of one of the most realistic engines at that time: M-81, AM-35 TK-2 or M-120. However, the military also put forward new requirements in terms of making the bomber a dive, and placing the pilot in the central cockpit. However, these works were not continued.

The reason for this was the obvious congestion of the production areas of plant No. 156, which by that period were mainly focused on the manufacture of machines "100" and "103", which are products of the Special Technical Bureau (OTB). These two aircraft, which are prototypes of the Pe-2 and Tu-2, were designed by V.M. Petlyakov and A.N. Tupolev.


  • The history of designs of planes in USSR 1938-1950 /Vadim Shavrov/
  • Lost victories of Soviet aviation. / M.A. Maslov /

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Viktor Nikolaevich Belyaev began his professional career in aviation in 1925 as a strength engineer at the OKB D.P. Grigorovich. The next year, at the age of 30, he transferred to TsAGI, where he took part in the strength calculations of the ANT-6, ANT-7, ANT-9, ANT-14, ANT-20 aircraft. Thanks to this specialization, he later paid the greatest attention to the development of original, high-strength and at the same time lightweight structures.
September 20, 1940, without protection, V.N. Belyaev was approved in the scientific degree of Doctor of Technical Sciences. However, the high rank did not help the main activity, the work on updating and modernizing the DBLK did not continue.
Back in August 1940, the director of plant No. 156 A.V. Lyapidevsky (GSS, participant in the operation to rescue the crew of the steamship "Chelyuskin") proposed to transfer the aircraft as a unique technical exhibit to the Bureau of New Technology (BNT) of TsAGI or to the Moscow Aviation Institute. In October 1941, when German troops approached Moscow, it was decided to overtake the plane to the rear, but there were no free pilots capable of flying on it, so the DB-LK was destroyed.
It is hardly worth it to truly regret it, the passion to destroy everything even without the presence of explainable reasons, probably, a distinctive feature of our mentality, simple enumeration of "merits" in this business of ours is just a shock ...