Arkhip Lyulka

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Arkhip Mikhailovich Lyul'ka (Ukrainian: Архип Михайлович Люлька, Russian: Архи́п Миха́йлович Лю́лька) (1908–1984), was a Soviet scientist and designer of jet engines of Ukrainian origin, head of the OKB Lyulka, member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.


Arkhip Lyulka was born on March 23, 1908 in Savarka village in Kyiv gubernia of Russia. He was educated in the Savarka village school and graduated from the Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI) in 1931 (Mikhail Kravchuk was his teacher and mentor in both institutions). He then worked for two years in the Kharkov turbogen factory.

Lyul'ka was a USSR aero-engine design bureau / manufacturer from 1938 to the 1990s when manufacturing and design elements were integrated as NPO Saturn based at Rybinsk. The Lyul'ka design bureau had its roots in the Kharkiv Aviation Institute where Arkhip M. Lyul'ka was working with a team designing the ATsN (Agregat Tsentralnovo Nadduva - Centralised supercharger) installation on the Petlyakov Pe-8 bomber. Lyul'ka was responsible for designing the first Soviet gas turbine engines, preferring to steer away from copying captured German equipment, he succeeded in producing home grown engines.

In 1939-1941 Arkhip Lyul'ka elaborated the design for the World's first turbofan engine, and acquired a patent for this new invention on April 22, 1941. Although several prototypes were built and ready for state tests, Lyulka was forced to abandon his research and evacuate to the Ural mountains as the Great Patriotic War began with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

In 1941-42, Lyul'ka worked in a tank factory in Chelyabinsk as a Diesel-engine engineer. However, after the disaster of the Soviet rocket engine project of 1942, Joseph Stalin recalled Arkhip Lyul'ka among other scientists working on jet engines to resume their work in Moscow.

From 1945 onwards, the Soviet jet engine project split into two: the OKB MiG based their development on German trophy aircraft and Western technology. Lyul'ka, however, refused any foreign influence and continued his own research. In 1945-47 he designed the first Soviet jet engine, TR-1, which passed the whole cycle of state tests with success. Pavel Sukhoy (head of the OKB Sukhoy) immediately proposed to install the new engine on his Su-11 jets, starting a long collaborative work with Lyulka. He later designed the AL-5, AL-7, AL-21 turbojet engines which were installed on the Su-7, Su-17, Su-20, Su-24, MiG-23 and other Soviet military aircraft. Lyulka also designed the upper stage engines for the Soviet moon rocket N1.

In the 1970s, Pavel Sukhoy asked Arkhip Lyul'ka to design a new engine with unorthodox characteristics for installation on the projected Su-27. The challenge was taken up, and although Pavel Sukhoy died in 1974, his work was carried on by his successors and colleagues, including Lyulka. The primary difficulty in designing this aircraft appeared to be in the engines, which had to be constantly redesigned and upgraded. As a result of the intensive work of Arkhip Lyul'ka and his team, the work on the new engine, AL-31F, was finally accomplished in the early 1980s, . Unfortunately, Arkhip Mikhailovich Lyul'ka died on June 2, 1984, probably as a result of the exhaustion he had suffered in his commitment to the project[citation needed].


Overall, the achievements of Arkhip Lyulka have become decisive for Russia and its allies. To this day, the patent for double jet turbofan engines widely used in all sectors of the world's aviation belongs to him. The Al-31 alone has become the cornerstone for various international developments in both civilian and military sectors, now undertaken by NPO Saturn, the heir to Lyulka's OKB.


Summary of engines built/designed by Lyul'ka
Model name Date Type Thrust (kg) / Power (eshp) Fitted to
RTD-1/VDR-2 1938 Two-stage centrifugal compressor Turbojet 500 kg estimated Test-bed only
S-18/VDR-3 1945 Axial flow compressor Turbojet 1,250 kg Gu-VRD project
TR-1 1946 8-stage Axial flow compressor Turbojet 1,300 kg Alekseyev I-21, Ilyushin Il-22, Sukhoi Su-10, Sukhoi Su-11
TR-1A 1947 8-stage Axial flow compressor Turbojet 1,500 kg
TR-2 1947 projected growth version of TR-1
TR-3 and AL-5 1949 7-stage Axial-flow Turbojet 4,600 kg (at qualification in 1950) Il-30, Il-46, Lavochkin Aircraft 190, Tu-86, Yak-1000, Su-17(1949), "Aircraft 150"
TR-7 1950s supersonic compressor prototype of the AL-7 Prototype for AL-7
AL-7 1954 9-stage supersonic compressor Turbojet 6,500 kg Il-54, Su-7B, Tu-98, Su
AL-21 1961 14-stage Axial compressor with variable stator blades 11,000 kg Yak-38, Tu-28/Tu-128, Su-17, Su-24
AL-31 1976 Twin-spool Turbofan 0.6 bypass ratio. 13,300 kg Su-27, Su-30, Su-34, Su-35, Su-47 Berkut


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