The U-2 Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft shot down in the Sverdlovsk region on May 1, 1960 still has many secrets. In the course of Operation Overfly (“Fly”), “Black Scout” was to cross the territory of the USSR from south to north at an altitude of 21,000 meters. However, the spy plane shot down. The wreckage of the aircraft Nikita Khrushchev ordered to parade. But one of the engines that fell into the marsh and was relatively well preserved was sent to a closed KB. Ilya Panteleevich Volchkov, a veteran of the rescue service of the North Caucasus, honorary rescuer of Russia, told about what was done to him. In those years, he worked as a design engineer at the secret design bureau.
The secret engine was recreated completely
“At that time, our design office, the so-called“ Mailbox-100, ”worked at the Ufa Engine Works, which produced engines for MiGs, said Ilya Volchkov.
Ilya Panteleevich Volchkov with his wife Vera Nikolaevna:
- Our design bureau developed and improved aircraft engines. One of our "know-how" was an unmanned projectile - the prototype of a cruise missile. There was no such design anywhere. In 1959, I got to accompany her to Moscow for an exhibition of military-air equipment. Seeing our unmanned aircraft and getting to know it closer, Nikita Khrushchev shook my hand for a long time as a sign of gratitude.
And literally a year later, we were brought to the design bureau by an engine from the U-2 Lockheed Powers aircraft. The design bureau specialized in high-altitude engines, and the American one was preserved almost perfectly.
Especially valuable was the fact that the remains of unique oils were not lost in it. We were given the task to study the engine, modify it and, if possible, create an even more perfect design. Our MiGs at that time could not reach such heights - the turbines could not withstand the afterburner, and the metal melted. Engine parts were selected one to one. If the screw, for example, was silver plated, we also silver it. Studied the structure of the metal, did chemical analysis. With poisonous lubricant, the system of which turned out to be the most difficult, it was necessary to work in gas masks.No matter how we fought, we could not understand the structure of graphite seals that were used in oil pipelines, but we could not repeat them. At high speed oil at the joints flowed. However, we did recreate the Lockheed U-2 engine. After some time, the entire structure was ordered to be transferred to another design bureau. Well, later, when constructing MiG engines, we achieved no less high altitude.
During the operation, shot down the U-2 and ... MiG
And now we recall the background of the engine falling into the hands of Ilya Volchkov. Having created Lockheed, the Americans were confident of complete impunity - its flights took place in the stratosphere at an altitude of over twenty thousand meters. It was believed that there are no fighters and missiles in the world capable of reaching the ghost plane. Therefore, the U-2 has repeatedly climbed deep into the territory of the USSR, conducting reconnaissance of secret strategic facilities (including the Baikonur cosmodrome). On May 1, 1960, US intelligence agencies launched Operation Flight - a reconnaissance aircraft, led by Senior Lieutenant Francis Powers, was to cross the territory of the USSR.
Rising from a Pakistani airfield near the city of Peshawar, he was supposed to land in Norway.The plane soared into the sky at 5 hours and 36 minutes. Before sending, the pilot was told that in the sky of Russia he had nothing to fear, although it was a deliberate lie. The CIA knew that the S-75 missile systems and the Su-9 high-altitude fighter-interceptors were already in service with the Soviet air defense forces. After the spy flew through Tashkent, the Aral Sea, Troitsk and Chelyabinsk, it was caught by air defense radars. Lifted at six in the morning, Nikita Khrushchev ordered the plane to be shot down. The MiG-19 fighters based not far from Chelyabinsk could not get an American - the height and speed of 780 kilometers per hour interfered. But the aircraft still lifted into the air. And the target was already struck by the first rocket fired from the ground - it happened at 8 hours and 53 minutes. In total, fourteen rockets were launched during the destruction operation and hit ... two planes, including ours. Raised to intercept the MiG-19, piloted by Sergey Safronov, it was hit by its own missile. Powers was lucky, and the Russian pilot was killed.
Unique fuel leaked out of uselessness.
The rocket exploded behind the Lockheed U-2 aircraft, splinters damaged the tail and wings. The car lost control and began to fall. Powers got out of the cab and escaped by parachute.Half an hour later he was caught on the ground. Already without a pilot, the plane was hit by another rocket, and it finally collapsed. The wreckage fell within a radius of 20 kilometers near the villages of Kosulino and the Cookery of the Sverdlovsk region. The local peasants received the “heavenly gift” with enthusiasm, dropping a lot of rubble into their homes. In particular, the plane filled with fuel, invaluable to military experts, was broken, and the fuel was poured into the grass.
When on May 2 the special forces were combing the territory divided into squares, much was already lost for military science. But what was the joy of search engines when one of two engines was removed from the swamp! By order of Khrushchev, the remnants of the aircraft were taken to Moscow in the Maksim Gorky Recreation Park, and the engine went to Ufa for research.
Thanks for the material provided to the author of the text: historian, journalist Vladimir Sharikov.