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On August 17, 2015 Petr Alekseevich Kolesov, the famous aircraft engine designer would have turned 100

Site news 17.08.2015

August 14, 2015, Rybinsk. - On August 17, 2015 Petr Alekseevich Kolesov (1915 - 2004), a professor, doctor of technical sciences and head of design at the Rybinsk design bureau (1960 - 1984) would have turned 100 years. The solemn ceremony of laying the flowers to the tomb of Mr. Kolesov will take place at the Moscow-based Perepechinskoe cemetery. The ceremony will be attended by the young engineers of NPO Saturn as well as by the company’s veterans who used to work with Petr Kolesov.
NPO Saturn general designer Yuriy Shmotin: “For twenty four years Petr Alekseevich Kolesov had been in charge of the destiny of the Rybinsk aircraft engine design bureau. Under his guidance and leadership the design bureau came up with the engines for the first Russian: supersonic missile carrier, the supersonic passenger aircraft and the supersonic vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Each of those engines was going ahead of its time each leaving its landmark in the Russian engine-building industry. Even today, the design community of NPO Saturn is still using the reserve of knowledge generated under the initiative, supervision and in-depth involvement of Dr. Kolesov.”

Petr Alekseevich Kolesov was born on 17 August 1915 in the village of Emelyanovo of the Kalinin Region in the family of a village teacher and a housewife. He completed the village school and seven years of school in Kalinin. In 1931 Mr. Kolesov moved to Moscow where he signed up to the design courses at the Principal Aviation Production Institute (Glavaviaprom). While still a student (in March 1932) he was commissioned to CIAM as a design technician. Since then the 17-year old Petr Kolesov had embarked on his half a century-long journey of a design engineer.

The young Mr. Kolesov was extremely thrilled to work at CIAM where for two years already had been concentrated the country’s talents in the field of engine design. Later on, some of those talents emerged as general designers such as A. Mikulin, S. Tumanskiy, V. Dobrynin, V. Klimov and others.

Under the mentoring of professor V. Kirsanov, Petr Kolesov would design fuel control systems for aircraft engines. He considered professor Kirsanov his first big teacher who fostered in him an interest for designing and experimental work.
The young technician had successfully worked at CIAM for more than three years understanding that he needed an engineering education. That led him in 1935 to the “Engines” faculty of the Sergo Ordzhonikidze Aviation Institute of Moscow (MAI).

During his years of studying at that institute, Mr. Kolesov continued to design: he was participating in the creation of a reducing gear for the helicopter designed by I. Bratukhin, together with V. Kirsanov at the Plant No. 33 he was also working on the design of experimental rigs for testing the equipment for injecting fuel directly into the engine cylinders. During the preparatory phase of his graduate design project, he was working at the faculty of the “Jet engines theory” headed by professor A. Kvasnikov. There he was in charge of performing calculations of the control system of a piston engine М-250 designed by the MAI design bureau. In March 1941 after graduating from MAI, Petr Kolesov was commissioned to the city of Voronezh to the experimental department of the Plant No. 16 where the M-250 engine was being created under the design leadership of Mr. Dobrynin. A remarkable meeting took place between the two designers - the 46-year old Vladimir Alekseevich Dobrynin who had already been awarded government decorations for the engine ensuring the world-famous flights of the flight crews of V. Chkalov and M. Gromov and the 26-year old Petr Kolesov. Mr. Dobrynin had been at the helm of the Rybinsk design bureau for 20 years until 1960 while Mr. Kolesov did the same for 24 years. At the moment, 20 long years still separated then from 1960.

For the first five years he worked as a design engineer in the piston engine crank mechanism and casing group. The school spearheaded by Dobrynin had long been known for its innovation and zest to explore the unexplored - that explained the fast maturation of its students. In 1946 the design engineer Petr Kolesov was appointed a design leader in charge of the crank mechanism and the casing - the most intricate elements of a piston engine. When the post-development campaign of the combined VD-4K engine got on its way, Kolesov became its designated head of design support.

The work was complicated by the first-in-the-world application of three pulse turbines and a turbocompressor fitted with a variable jet nozzle as well as by the very challenging deadlines given to the development of that unique engine. The situation was becoming more intense due to the fact that the design assignment was simultaneously given to two design bureaus - the one located in Rybinsk and the other situated in Perm. The winner would be awarded the right to equip the long-haul strategic bombers Tu-85 with the engines. The battle was won: the sole supplier of engines for the Tu-85 aircraft had remained the Rybinsk design bureau. That was also a victory of the lead design engineer Petr Kolesov for which he received a government award.

At the beginning of 1952 the design bureau terminated working on piston engines. It switched to the principally new jet engines.
In April 1952 the government decreed that the design bureau was to come up with a jet engine dubbed the VD-5 to power a subsonic strategic bomber designed by the V. Myasischev design bureau. The specified takeoff thrust equaled 13000 kgf which by one and half exceeded the AM-3, back then the most powerful in the world Russian engine. Only 21 months were given for the entire project duration until the presentation of the newly designed engine to the state-witnessed acceptance tests. On February 9, 1953 the work on its engineering development began.

Subsequently, the design bureau worked at the VD-7B gas turbine engine, the VD-7M afterburning jet engine and the RD-7М-2 jet engine launched into serial production and adopted by the Russian Air Force. Mr. Kolesov was in charge of the design of the VD-7B gas turbine engine. In 1956 he became the head of a design department and back in 1959 was appointed deputy chief designer.
At the time of receiving the assignment to work on the RD-7M-2 engine (1960) ordered for Russia’s first supersonic missile carrier (1800 km/h), the design bureau was headed by Petr Kolesov. After that engine came the RD36-41 powering the T-4 aircraft with the extended cruise speed of 3000 km/h, the RD36-51А and the RD36-51V for Russia’s first supersonic passenger jet Tu-144D, the RD36-51V designed for the first Russian super high altitude aircraft М-17 (“The Stratosphere”) and a large family of liftoff and boosting engines inspired directly by Mr. Kolesov and installed on the airplanes designed by P. Sukhoi, A. Mikoyan, A. Yakovlev, O. Antonov and A. Konstantinov.

A combination of qualities of a design engineer and a manager is hard to find in one person. But Petr Kolesov had them both. The author of 43 inventions and a number of scientific works allowed the Rybinsk design bureau headed by Mr. Kolesov be one of the best in the industry.

In 1984 Kolesov retired. But he continued working as a lead design engineer and a senior research assistant up until 1995.
The considerable contribution of P. Kolesov has been distinguished by three USSR state awards (in 1951, in 1971 and in 1979), two Lenin orders (in 1966 and in 1971), the order of the October Revolution (in 1976), the order of the Red Banner of Labor (in 1957), several medals and the Distinguished aviation engineer decoration (in 1987).

The RD36-51A engine designed for a supersonic passenger jet

The NPO Saturn Research and Production Association (OJSC) is an engine-manufacturing company specialized in the design and development, production, and after-market support of gas turbine engines for military and commercial aviation, naval ships, and power-generating plants and gas-pumping units. The association is part of the Union of Russian Mechanical Engineers, an All-Russian public organization.

NPO Saturn is part of United Engine Corporation (JSC) and acts as the leader of the Commercial Engines Division, a business unit of UEC founded on 09.10.2012 as a result of integration of the following companies: NPO Saturn (OJSC), Aviadvigatel (OJSC), PMZ (OJSC), Metallist-PM (CJSC), Energetik-PM (OJSC), Motoservis-PM (CJSC), and Zheleznodorozhnik-PM (CJSC).

United Engine Corporation (JSC) (a Rostec State Corporation company) is an integrated organization specialized in the design and development, serial production, and after-market support of the engines for military and commercial aviation, space programs, the Navy, as well as for the oil and gas industry, and power generation. One of UEC’s prioritized fields of activity is the implementation of comprehensive programs of development of the companies in the industry by introducing new technologies meeting the world-class standards. In 2014 revenues of the corporation amounted to RUB 199.9 billion.

The Rostec State Corporation is a Russian corporation established in 2007 in order to facilitate the development, manufacturing, and export of high-technology industrial products of military and commercial application. Today, it comprises over 700 companies, which form 9 defense-industrial and 5 civil industry holdings, as well as 22 direct control companies. The Rostec portfolio includes such renowned brands as AVTOVAZ, KAMAZ, Russian Helicopters, VSMPO-AVISMA, etc. Rostec’s subsidiaries are located in 60 regions of Russia and deliver their products to over 70 countries worldwide. In 2013 revenues of the corporation amounted to RUB 1.04 trillion. Total taxation exceeded RUB 138 billion.

NPO Saturn press service
Phone: +7 4855 296898


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