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Lisunov Li-2

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Lisunov Li-2
Lisunov Li-2
Type Cargo/passenger utility aircraft and light bomber
Manufacturer GAZ
Designed by Arthur E. Raymond, chief engineer, Douglas Aircraft Company
Introduced 1939
Primary users Soviet Air Force
Aeroflot, and exported to 14 countries
Produced 1939-1952
Number built 6,157[1][2]
Developed from Douglas DC-3

The Lisunov Li-2, originally designated PS-84 (NATO reporting name Cab), was a license-built version of the Douglas DC-3, produced by the GAZ-84 works near Moscow, and subsequently at GAZ-34 in Tashkent. The project was directed by aeronautical engineer Boris Pavlovich Lisunov. An original Li-2 can be identified by the 4-bladed VISh-21 propellers, although many later Li-2s were equipped with three-bladed props.[3] Unlike the C-47 development of the DC-3, military versions of the Li-2 also had bomb racks and a dorsal turret (see photograph).

Design and development

The Soviet Union had already received its first DC-2 in 1935 and although a total of 18 DC-3s had been ordered on 11 April 1936, the Soviets managed to purchase 21 DC-3s before World War II. The arrangement (possibly through a third country) accompanied a production license "for free" on 15 July 1936. Lisunov spent two years at the Douglas Aircraft Company, between 1938 and 1940 and modified the C-47 into a Soviet version, which was given the designation PS-84 (Passashirsky Samolyot 84, passenger airplane 84).

Despite the original intention to incorporate as few changes as necessary to the basic design,[4] the GAZ-84 works documented over 1,200 engineering changes from the Douglas engineering drawings, and it was no small task for Vladimir Myasishchev to change all dimensions from inches to metric units.[5] Some of the changes were substantial, such as the use of the Russian Shvetsov ASh-621R engines. The Russian standard design practice also usually mandated fully shuttered engines in order to cope with the extreme temperatures. A slightly shorter span was incorporated but many of the other alterations were less evident. The passenger door was moved to the right side of the fuselage, with a top-opening cargo door on the left side in place of the original passenger door. The structural reinforcement included slightly heavier skins necessitated since the metric skin gauges were not exact duplicates of the American alloy sheet metal. Standard Russian metric hardware was different, and the various steel substructures such as engine mounts and landing gear, wheels and tires were also quite different from the original design. In order to operate in remote and Arctic regions, later modifications allowed the provision of ski landing gear. By 1939, the first PS-84s began to emerge from the GAZ-84 production line. [6]

Operational history

Prewar, the PS-84 had flown with Aeroflot primarily as a passenger transport but when Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, many of the PS-84s were taken into military use and redesignated the Lisunov Li-2 in 1942. The military models were equipped with a 7.62 mm ShKAS machine gun, and later with a 12.7 mm UBK heavy machine gun. The aircraft were used for transport, partisan supply, bombing and also as ambulance aircraft. A version designated Li-2VV (Vojenny Variant = military variant) had a redesigned nose for extra defensive armament, and could also carry up to four 250 kg bombs under the wings. In addition, smaller bombs could be carried inside the fuselage, and were thrown out from the freight hatch by the crew.

More than 6,000 aircraft were produced of all Li-2 versions and it saw extensive use in Eastern Europe until the 1960s. There were many versions, comprising airliner, cargo, military transport, reconnaissance, aerial photography, parachute drop, bomber and high altitude variants. The Li-2 also saw extensive service in the Chinese Air Force in the 1940s and 1950s.

Several airlines operated Lisunov Li-2s, among others Aeroflot, CAAK, CSA, LOT, Malév and Tarom.

There is only one Li-2 restored to airworthy condition. The Hungarian HA-LIX still flies sightseeing tours and is a regular participant at air shows.


Original passenger airliner, equipped with 14-28 seats. Somewhat smaller span and higher empty weight, and it was also equipped with lower-powered engines compared to the DC-3. The cargo door was also transposed to the right side of the fuselage.
Military transport aircraft with defensive armament (designation started from 17 September 1942).
Paratroop transport version (1942), with reinforced floor and tie-downs, plus cargo doors (slightly smaller than the C-47 doors) on the left.
Basic civil passenger model.
Civil "combi" passenger-cargo version.
"Reconnaissance" version, with bulged windows fitted behind the cockpit.
Bomber version (1942)
High-altitude weather surveillance version of the Li-2, equipped with turbocharged engines.
Yugoslavian version equipped with American Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines (similar to the DC-3)
Polish bomber training aircraft




Template:Country data Czechoslovakia


Template:Country data North Vietnam Democratic Republic of Vietnam
SFR Yugoslav Air Force
  • Independent Units
    • 1st Transport Aviation Regt - Beograd




China National Aviation Corporation
Template:Country data Czechoslovakia




Specifications (Li-2)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 5-6
  • Capacity: 20+ passengers
  • Length: 19.65 m (64 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 28.81 m (94 ft 6 in)
  • Height: ()
  • Empty weight: 7,750 kg (17,485 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 10,700 kg (23,589 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 11,280 kg (24,867 lb)
  • Powerplant:Shvetsov ASh-621R 4-bladed VISh-21, 736 kW (1,000 hp) each



3× 7.62 mm ShKAS machine guns
1× 12.7 mm UBK machine gun
1,000 kg bombs (normal load)
2,000 kg bombs (short distances)



  1. Pearcy 1995
  2. Davies 1993
  3. Douglas DC-2 and DC-3 History
  4. Soviet Lisunov LI-2
  5. V.M. Myasichev
  6. Mondey 1978, p. 213.


  • Davies, R.E.G. Aeroflot. Rockville, MD: Paladwr Press, 1993. ISBN 0-96264-831-0.
  • Gordon, Yefim and Komissarov, Sergey and Dimitriy. Lisunov Li-2: the Soviet DC-3. St. Paul, Minnesota: Specialty Press, 2006. ISBN 1-85780-228-4.
  • Gunston, Bill. Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft. London: Osprey Publishing Limited, 2000. ISBN 1-84176-096-X.
  • Jane, Fred T., ed. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1945-1946. London: Jane's Information Group, 1946.
  • Mondey, David, ed. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. Secaucus, New Jersey: Chartwell Books Inc., 1978. ISBN 0-89009-771-2.
  • Pearcy, Arthur. Douglas Propliners DC-1-DC-7. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing Ltd., 1995. ISBN 1-85310-261-X.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

cs:Lisunov Li-2 de:Lissunow Li-2 ja:Li-2 (航空機) hu:Li–2 no:Lisunov Li-2 ru:Ли-2 sr:Лисунов Ли-2 fi:Lisunov Li-2

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lisunov Li-2".