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The Lisunov Li-2 was a transport aircraft that was used by the Soviet Union during World War II.

Description

Originally designated PS-84,[1] the Li-2 was a license built copy of the Douglas DC-3 transport aircraft with several key modifications made. The Li-2 had two Shvetsov M-62 engines that were capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 354 kilometers per hour.[2] Armament consisted of three 7.62mm machine gun mounted in a turret on the top of the aircraft with up to 1,000 kilograms of bombs. For short range operations, a maximum load of 2,000 kilograms could be carried on board the aircraft. 

The total weight of the Li-2 was around 7,700 kilograms while its total length was around 19.6 meters.[3] Wingspan was 29.8 meters and service ceiling was 5,600 meters. The crew consisted of up to five men, filling the roles of pilot, navigator, and three gunners meanwhile, up to 21 passengers could be carried on board.[4] Operational range was 2,500 kilometers and like its DC-3 base, the Li-2 was very reliable. Especially in cold weather conditions for which it had been modified for. 

Variants

The first variant was the PS-84-I model which had been converted into an aerial ambulance. The PS-84-D or later Li-2D was a paradrop conversion with cargo doors and a reinforced floor. The Li-2R meanwhile was a reconnaissance conversion used for general surveillance. To fulfill this role, extra and larger windows were added. The Li-2VV was the general purpose bomber conversion. 

History

The Li-2 was first developed in 1936 following the first deliveries of DC-3s to the Soviet Union. The creation of the Li-2 only began in 1936 despite shipments being received in 1935 because it was only then that the license had been acquired. The first models were initially designated as PS-84s. The major problems with the development was to convert the measurements into the metric system, in all comprising hundreds of changes. However, production was first slow with only 237 examples being produced by the time of Operation Barbarossa. Furthermore, only civilian examples were produced by this time. Once the invasion had began, production began of a military conversion. 

From then on, the Li-2 was used for general purposes from transport, to ambulance, to reconnaissance during the war. It was used throughout the war. In total, around 3,000 examples had been produced during WWII alone. Another 3,000 were built post war to further serve Soviet troops. 

References

  1. Gunston, Bill (Forward). Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II. Tiger Books. 1989. ISBN 1-85501-996-5. (Reprint of Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1945/1946. Bridgeman, Leonard (Editor). 1946). Page 198
  2. http://www.warhistoryonline.com/war-articles/lisunov-li-2-the-russian-version-of-the-dc-3.html
  3. http://www.wwiivehicles.com/ussr/aircraft/transport/lisunov-li-2-ps-84-transport.asp
  4. http://www.airwar.ru/enc/cww2/li2.html


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