Founders of the Russian helicopter and engines industry

Over the course of just one lifetime Soviet designers and engineers managed to create a unique world-class school of helicopter and engine-making.

Mikhail Mil (1909-1970)
Soviet helicopter designer

The design bureau led by Mikhail Mil was founded in 1947. The bureau has now become the Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant, a joint stock company.

In the past six decades the Mil bureau has designed 14 mass-produced Mi helicopters.

The Mi-8/17 series has become the calling card of the Russian helicopter industry. More than 13,000 helicopters of the series are now in service in 100 countries all over the world.

The Mi-26 heavy transport has set 14 world records.

The Mi-24 attack helicopter holds the absolute world speed record for helicopters: 368.4 km/h.

Nikolay Kamov (1902-1973)
Soviet helicopter designer

The Kamov design bureau, which has now become the Kamov joint-stock company, was founded in 1948.

The bureau has designed 12 mass-produced Ka helicopters.

It specializes in attack and special-purpose civilian helicopters.

Kamov is the world’s only designer of helicopters to have developed and launched mass production of a coaxial rotor helicopter.

Arkhip Lyulka (1908-1984)
Soviet designer of aircraft engines

The design bureau led by Arkhip Lyulka was founded in 1946. It has now become the Lyulka design center, part of the NPO Saturn company.

Lyulka oversaw the development of the first Soviet turbofan engine, the TR-1.

The AL-3F engine he designed has a well-deserved reputation as a bestseller of Soviet engine-making.

The engines created by the Lyulka design bureau have been used in Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Beriev, Tupolev and Mikoyan aircraft.

Pavel Solovyev (1917-1996)
Soviet designer of aircraft engines

Solovyev became the lead designer of the OKB-19 design bureau (which is now the Aviadvigatel joint stock company) in 1953. He was later promoted to chief designer. 
He oversaw the development of the Soviet Union’s first double-flow turbofan engine, the D-20P, which was used in the Tu-124 aircraft, as well as the D-30F6, one of the best military engines used in the MiG-31 fighter.
In Soviet times the Perm-based design bureau developed engines for the Tu-134, Mi-10, Il-75, Tu-154 and other aircraft.
The last engine designed by Solovyev is the D-90, which was renamed the PS-90 in Solovyev’s honor in 1987. The engine is now used in all the modern Russian aircraft, including the Tu-204/214, Il-96-300, and Il-96-400.

Nikolay Kuznetsov (1911-1995)
Soviet designer of aircraft and rocket engines

Kuznetsov became the lead designer of the No 2 experimental plant in Kuybyshev (now the Kuznetsov joint stock company in Samara) in 1949. He was later promoted to chief designer.

He oversaw the development of 57 types of engines for various aircraft (including the Tu-114, Tu-154, An-22, Il-62, Tu-144, Tu-160) and for the N1-L3 lunar rocket complex (for the Soviet lunar exploration program).

About 40 per cent of the engines powering the natural gas pipelines in Russia and the former Soviet republics were designed by the Kuznetsov bureau.

Vladimir Klimov (1892-1962)
Soviet designer of aircraft engines

Klimov oversaw the development of engines for many of the Soviet fighter and bomber aircraft which contributed to the Soviet victory in the Great Patriotic War (World War II).

The design bureau led by Klimov was founded in Leningrad in 1946. The bureau has now become the Klimov company, based in St Petersburg.

After the war, the Klimov bureau designed several air-breathing engines for the Yakovlev, Mikoyan, Ilyushin and Tupolev aircraft.

The MiG-15bis aircraft fitted with a Klimov-designed engine was recognized as the best fighter of the 1950s.

Klimov also oversaw the launch of the development of the first gas turbine engines for Soviet helicopters.

In an unexpected departure from its traditional field, the Klimov bureau also designed the Olympic torch for the 1980 Moscow Olympics.