History of the Sukhoi Design Bureau

7 Jan 2020

In 1936 Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, issued a requirement for a multi-role combat aircraft. Pavel Sukhoi, a Soviet Russian aerospace engineer, who headed team from the CAHI's AGOS aviation, took up the challenge. A year later in 1937 the Sukhoi and his team developed the BB-1, a reconnaissance aircraft and light bomber

Pavel Sukhoi

 

The BB-1 was approved and under a July 29, 1939 government resolution, the Sukhoi OKB, designated as OKB-51, also known as the Sukhoi Design Bureau, was developed in order to set up production for the aircraft. The BB-1 was introduced and later adopted by the Soviet Air Forces in the same year, a year later the BB-1 was designated the Sukhoi Su-2. A total of 910 Su-2 aircraft were developed. The resolution also made Sukhoi chief designer, gave Sukhoi's team of the design bureau standalone status and relocation of the bureau to the Production Aircraft Plant No. 135 in Kharkiv, Ukraine. However, Sukhoi was not satisfied with its location, since it was isolated from the scientific hub of Moscow. Sukhoi later relocated the bureau to the aerodrome of Podmoskovye in Moscow, completing half of the relocation by 1940. Sukhoi encountered another issue: the bureau had no production line in Moscow, thus making it useless as Sukhoi had nothing to do.

Sukhoi Su-2

 

During the German invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II, the Su-2 needed a successor as it was proved obsolete and under-armed against German aircraft. Sukhoi and his bureau designed a two-seat armoured ground-attack aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-6, considered in some terms to be superior to its competitor, the Ilyushin Il-2. The government however later chose the Il-2 over the Su-6, but rewarded Sukhoi a Stalin Prize of the 1st Level for its development in 1943. Sukhoi and this team later focused on development of variants of the Su-2, the prototype cannon-armed Sukhoi Su-3 fighter, as well as the Sukhoi Su-8, which to serve as a long-range ground-attack aircraft for the Soviet Air Forces, but was later discarded as the Soviet Union was winning the Eastern Front.

Sukhoi Su-6

 

After the war, Sukhoi and his team were among the first Soviet aircraft designers who led the work on jet aircraft, creating several experimental jet fighters. Sukhoi started developing two jet fighters, the Sukhoi Su-5 and the Sukhoi Su-7 before 1945. The Su-5 is a mixed power jet fighter, using both a propeller and a motor jet to power it, but the experiment was later cancelled even though the fighter had a maiden flight in April 6, 1945. The Su-7 is a swept-wing, supersonic, air superiority fighter, and it was successful as it was adopted by the Soviet Air Forces in 1959, which was over 14 years later.

Sukhoi Su-5                                      Sukhoi Su-7

 

At the start of 1945, the design bureau started working on jet fighters such as the Sukhoi Su-9, Sukhoi Su-11, Sukhoi Su-15, and the Sukhoi Su-17, the Sukhoi Su-10 jet bomber, and the reconnaissance and artillery spotter twinjet, the Sukhoi Su-12. Sukhoi and his team also used the Tupolev Tu-2 bomber to develop and produce the trainer bomber UTB-2, worked on passenger and troop-carrying aircraft, the jet fighter Sukhoi Su-14, and a number of other aircraft.

Sukhoi Su-9                                      Sukhoi Su-11

Sukhoi Su-17

 

From 1945 to 1950, Sukhoi and his team also developed the Soviet Union's first booster aircraft control system, landing braking parachute, catapult ejection seat with telescopic trolley, and a jettisonable nose with a pressurized cockpit. In 1949 Sukhoi fell out of Stalin's favour and in a government resolution, the Sukhoi Design Bureau was scrapped, Sukhoi was forced to return to work under Andrei Tupolev, this time as Deputy Chief Designer. In 1953, the year of Stalin's death, he was permitted to re-establish his own Sukhoi Design Bureau, set up with new production facilities.

Catapult ejection seat

 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, each of the multitude of bureaus and factories producing Sukhoi components was privatised independently. In the early 1990’s Sukhoi started to diversify its products and initiated Sukhoi Civil Aircraft to create a line of civil aviation projects for the company. The progress made by the new branch would lead to the development of the utility aircraft, the Su-80, and the agricultural aircraft, the Su-38, less than a decade later. In 1996, the government re-gathered the major part of them forming Sukhoi Aviation Military Industrial Combine (Sukhoi AIMC). In parallel, other entities, including Ulan Ude factory, Tbilisi factory, Belarus and Ukraine factories, established alternate transnational Sukhoi Attack.

Sukhoi Su-38

 

The Sukhoi AIMC is composed of the JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau and the JSC Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, located in Moscow, the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association (NAPA), located in Novosibirsk, and the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), located in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.  The Russian government merged Sukhoi with Mikoyan, Ilyushin, Irkut, Tupolev, and Yakovlev as a new company named United Aircraft Corporation in February 2006, Mikoyan and Sukhoi were placed within the same operating unit. In September 2007, Sukhoi launched its first modern commercial regional airliner—the Superjet 100 (SSJ 100), a 78 to 98 seater, built by Sukhoi. It was unveiled at Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The maiden flight was made on May 19, 2008.

Sokhoi Superjet 100

 

In March 2008, Sukhoi was selected to design and produce the carbon fibre composite wings for Irkut's MC-21's airframe. Sukhoi started working on what is to be Russia's fifth-generation stealth fighter, the Sukhoi Su-57, the maiden flight took place on the 29 January 2010.

Sukhoi Su-57

 

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