Site news 20.03.2008
March 23, 2008 is the centenary of academician Arkhip Lyulka birth. He was a genius Russian scientist and designer, a distinguished organizer, and a pioneer of a bypass turbojet engine.
Arkhip Lyulka was one of the founders of the NPO Saturn design school and the national engine-building industry as a whole. His life is an essential period of the Russian turbojet engines history, and his creative work as an engine designer has become the property the mankind. That is why the centenary of academician A. Lyulka’s birth is celebrated by the scientific community of the world.
In 1978, on the occasion of his 70th anniversary A. Lyulka addressed the collective of the Saturn design bureau created and headed by him: “We are now called the pioneers of the Russian turbojet engine creation. This is a pleasing definition and it is binding upon us. There is something from our youth in it, which we cannot forget.
Our design bureau, its remarkable people have passed a long and not easy way from the first experiments and design studies in the turbojet engines technology up to complete turbojet engines approval as the main powerplant for the contemporary aircraft of any type and application. This was the era of enthusiasts who had taken a completely independent way.
Many years have passed since the work on the turbojet engines in the Soviet Union began, but even now I cannot see the limits. In the years to come we have to solve a number of very interesting and complex tasks in creating new generations of engines. They will be solved, I believe. In fact, some time ago we have solved the most urgent issue of the country’s aviation development – creation of the Russian turbojet engine!”
The AL-31F engine, developed by NPO Saturn in 1976-1985 under General Designer academician A.M. Lyulka, and at the official test stage under General Designer V.M. Chepkin (who headed the design bureau from 1984 to 2000), and up to now is considered one of the best engines in the world for the front-line aviation. The AL-31F is fitted to the Su-27 fighter and its modifications, the Su-33 carrier-borne fighters, the Su-35 multi-purpose fighters, the Su-30MK, and the Su-34 front-line bombers.
In connection with the jubilee of the distinguished aircraft engine designer and one of the founders of the company, NPO Saturn General Director Yuri Lastochkin said:
”We will always have to remember that thanks to Arkhip Lyulka’s efforts and to the efforts of his colleagues the great engines of the AL brand have been created; these engines have been manufactured and are still manufactured now in thousand pieces and equip the Air Force of Russia and armies of dozens of other countries around the world. The AL-31 engine has beyond doubt become the technical bestseller of the ÕÕ century. Today we are celebrating the centenary of Arkhip Lyulka’s birth, and at this very time thousands of engines created by him raise hundreds of aircraft of such world countries as Russia, India, and China to the skies every day.
There is such a notion as a school of design. Arkhip Lyulka created his own school of design – the school of creating super-modern turbojet engines for combat aircraft. Heritage means knowledge, both theoretical and practical, which has been accumulated for dozens of years, and which relates to starting the engine design, the engine layout, development, powerplant integration into the aircraft.
Broadening this knowledge and traditions of Arkhip Lyulka’s school of design means transition of this knowledge to contemporary rail-tracks. Today, quite new information and technological potentialities are applied both in this country and throughout the world; and all these are actively applied at NPO Saturn while developing up-to-date engines.
The most important task for our company is to create no less successful engine prototypes, bring them into operation, and equip the next generation of Sukhoi design bureau aircraft with new powerplants. Today, together with our partner the Ufa Motor-Building Production Association, we create a new engine for the Sukhoi design bureau, i.e. for the 5th generation aircraft. Recently, quite a new aircraft, the Su-35 multi-purpose fighter has flown powered with our 117Ñ engines; it is successfully passing the flight tests. We are sure that all the tasks the company is facing in the framework of the Sukhoi design bureau provision with up-to-date powerplants will be performed.
The main thing to do is to upgrade the existing production, to preserve the design school, to select the best people for them to bring up such general designers. This is the best way to retain the heritage of great designer Arkhip Lyulka”.
NPO Saturn Technical Director-General Designer Mikhail Kuzmenko, who has headed the design bureau for 8 years, since 2000 and up to now, says: “The role of personalities and pioneers, such as Arkhip Lyulka, is of utmost importance. This is because the business of any designer is dangerous, accompanied with a good deal of difficulties; it’s a highly responsible business. You should have enough courage to follow the path of an explorer, experience numerous troubles, sacrifice, and, nevertheless, move forward. To my mind, the innovator’s role is like this. And this was the path followed by A. Lyulka, who created his own school of design.
What are the peculiar features of the A. Lyulka’s design school? About a quarter of the century has already passed since A.Lyulka’s death, but everything he has made and created has not lost its actuality and is still implemented today. We can describe other cases. For example, there was a great engineer, a scientist, a specialist, and there was a company. The scientist died, and his company stopped its existence, and his school of design broke. It does not exist any more. In the case of A. Lyulka the situation is different. The school has been formed during dozens of years. Concurrently numerous engines have been designed. Those were the years of designer A. Lyulka creative work. It turned out so that the conjunction of a man and a machine, experience of the people and experience concentrated in the finished product helped to create the school. It has been proven by life that A. Lyulka’s school turned out to be viable, even during the hard times of the 1990s of the ÕÕ century. When the government stopped supporting the company, which had been established and headed by A. Lyulka for a long time, the company had to suffer quite a lot of difficulties. However, in spite of the heavy conditions A. Lyulka’s design school managed to preserve the most important thing – the basis of the collective and the basis of knowledge possessed by the collective.
The time showed that the engines designed by Arkhip Lyulka turned out to be not only foremost but also advanced as far as their further development is concerned. As of today we could provide further development (over 20%) to those engines that had been left by A. Lyulka, and this is not the limit. During 24 years after the designer’s decease, we are using the benefits of his labor.
Obviously, the system cannot only rest on things that have passed. Serious changes have passed I this period of time. The A. Lyulka’s design school merged with the Rybinsk design bureau, in which very interesting engine design schools have intermixed: Perm, Luylka’s, Rybinsk. Specialists from Samara have arrived. Nowadays at Saturn there is a great constellation of specialists, who have worked here before and who have come from other companies, besides, they are not common specialists, they are outstanding. A new company has been established, which incorporates some outstanding features we inherited from Arkhip Lyulka.
When we started to develop civil aircraft engines we found ourselves in a new environment. As a matter of fact, we began to reinforce anew the previous school of design, and develop and create a new one.
These days we are celebrating the centenary of A. Lyulka’s birth. While estimating A. Lyulka’s contribution into the world engine building we can speak about him as of a great person-creator, and what is most important, the aircraft powered by the excellent AL-31F engines still remains one of the best aircraft in the world today. I am speaking about the Su-27 fighter, of course. This aircraft is highly demanded. It possesses characteristics required by the Air Force. It can be even further developed through further improvement of the engine and growth potential, which was designed by its creator Arkhip Lyulka”.
Arkhip Lyulka (1908-1984) was born in the village of Savarka, Kiev province to a large peasant's family. In 1931, he graduated from the Kiev Technological University. From 1933 to 1939, he delivered lectures in Kharkov Aeronautical Institute. In 1937 in Kharkov, Arkhip Lyulka began working on the project of an air-breathing engine with a centrifugal compressor. The engine was intended for the KhAI-2 fighter. However, the work outran the engineering capabilities of that time.
During that period, the designer created the turbojet engine design with an axial compressor, which was approved by the People's Commissariat of Aviation Industry. The work started in the specialized design bureau (SKB-1) in Leningrad. There in Leningrad A. Lyulka designed the RD-1, the first turbojet engine in the USSR. In April 1941, A. Lyulka received certificate of authorship for the bypass turbojet engine design that was recognized over the world.
However, the plans of the turbojet engine creation had to be put aside because of the war. For some time A. Lyulka worked at the tank plant in Chelyabinsk. Beginning from 1943, he continued working on a turbojet engine. On March 30, 1946 the OKB-165 experimental design bureau was established, to develop domestic turbojet engines, and Arkhip Lyulka was appointed the manager of this bureau. This is the date of A. Lyulka Saturn design bureau foundation.
Under the direction of A. Lyulka the first TR-1 domestic turbojet engine was created. Later on the A. Lyulka design bureau created a whole range of successful turbojet engines, which powered the Sukhoi, Tupolev, Ilyushin, and Beriev aircraft. The most well-known among them during those years were the AL-7 family engines: AL-7P (for the Tu-110), AL-7PB and AL-7TB (for the first IL-62 aircraft). By the government decision, the engines designed by the A. Lyulka design bureau came to be named with the initial letters AL designating Arkhip Lyulka.
The designer equipped further modifications of the AL-7 with an afterburner. The AL-7F was intended for the first S-1 supersonic fighter designed by the Sukhoi design bureau. The engine turned out to be so successful that the aircraft designers endeavored to install it on their new aircraft: the IL-54, the Tu-98, the Sukhoi T-3 and P-1 interceptors, the Mikoyan I-7U and I-75, and the Lavochkin La-250.
The IL-54, S-1 and T-3 aircraft took part in the parade; and the S-1 aircraft for the first time in the USSR attained speed twice as high as the sound speed.
Soon the AL-7F and its further modifications, i.e. the AL-7F-1, the AL-7F-2, were simultaneously launched into serial production at several plants.
From 1950 to 1960 Professor A. Lyulka delivered lectures in MAI (Moscow Aviation Institute). In 1957, he became General Designer of the OKB-165, and the OKB-45 that had been working on the Klimov engines was handed over to his supervision.
In 1965-70, a new generation of engines emerged in the design bureau. That was the AL-21F engine family. Besides, during this period projects of small gas-turbine engines and liquid-propellant rocket engines were initiated.
In the early 1970s, A. Lyulka turned to implementation of his invention – the bypass mixed-flow turbojet engine design, the certificate of authorship for which he received in 1941. Nowadays, the absolute majority of gas-turbine engines in the world are built based on this design.
In 1976, the A. Lyulka design bureau took up to creating the AL-31F 4th generation engine to power the Su-27 front-line fighter developed by the Sukhoi design bureau. This engine has become the peak of A. Lyulka’s creative work. By estimates, the best domestic engine was installed on the best aircraft, on which from 1986 to 1988 more than 30 world records were established.
The country duly appraised the designer’s merits: in 1975 he was awarded a rank of the Hero of the Socialist Labor, and he was awarded the orders and medals of the USSR; he became the Lenin and the State prize winner (twice).
After A. Lyulka’s death in 1984, his name was given to the company he had been in charge of since 1946. The square in Moscow near the A. Lyulka’s design bureau and the pilot plant was also given the name of Academician Lyulka.
At the beginning of the ÕÕI century, the Scientific-and-Technical Center named after A. Lyulka and the Lytkarino Machine-Building Plant, which had been created and headed by Arkhip Lyulka for a long time, formed a merger with OAO NPO Saturn.
Today, NPO Saturn is a company specialized in development and serial production of gas-turbine engines for military and civil aviation, power-generating and gas-pumping units, and propulsion systems for ships. The company incorporates the gas-turbine engine production plant, experimental design bureau and pilot plant in Rybinsk, and affiliates in Moscow, Moscow region, St. Petersburg, design-engineering center in Perm.
The staff of NPO Saturn and its affiliates amounts to over 23 000 people, including over 4500 people of in the design department with the pilot plant and affiliates, among which are more than 100 Doctors of Science. Over 1500 people are working at the A. Lyulka Scientific-and-Technical Center and Lytkarino Machine-Building Plant, 20 of them are Doctors of science.
The General Designer A. Lyulka's business is going on. NPO Saturn personnel are working at projects of new aircraft engines, which are traditionally designated ‘AL’ that stands for Arkhip Lyulka.
NPO Saturn is a leading engine-building company specialized in development, manufacture and after-sales service of gas-turbine engines for military and civil aviation, Navy ships, power-generating and gas-pumping units.