Ilyushin Il-54

The Il-54 was a transonic bomber developed in the USSR in the 1950s. Only two examples were built before the project was abandoned.

Three-quarter view of the second Il-54 prototype
Role Bomber
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Ilyushin
First flight 3 April 1955
Number built 2

Design and development

The Council of Ministers issued a directive to OKB-115, for a transonic bomber prototype to be submitted for State Acceptance Trials in July 1954. The design of this bomber went through several stages before settling on the final configuration.[1]

The Il-54, as built, had a very thin 45 degree swept wing with anhedral, which was shoulder-mounted on the fuselage. The Lyulka AL-7 engines were housed in slim, pylon mounted, pods at approximately 1/3 span. Because the wings and engine nacelles were too small to house a conventional undercarriage, the Il-54 used a bicycle undercarriage arrangement, with nose and main gear units on the centreline of the aircraft, at each end of the bomb bay. This arrangement meant a conventional rotating takeoff would be impossible. To enable the Il-54 to take off, in a reasonable runway length, the main gear knelt and the nose gear extended to give the ideal angle of incidence for takeoff (10 degrees).[1]

Flight trials of the Il-54 commenced in April 1955 with test pilot Vladimir Kokkinaki at the controls. Difficult handling during the landing run was rectified by modifying the undercarriage.[1]

Production of the Il-54 was not proceeded with, due to competition from Yak-25 derivatives, and the belief that manned aircraft would soon be replaced by missiles.[1]

Booked to fly in the flypast at Tushino Airfield in 1956, the Il-54 was dropped from the flying programme. The aircraft was then shown to a US Military Delegation at Kubinka. The delegation was told that the Il-54 was the Il-149, as part of a deception programme. As a result, the Il-54 was assigned far more importance than it actually warranted, and was assigned the NATO reporting name ("Blowlamp") after it had ceased flying.[1]


Datafrom:OKB Ilyushin[1]

  • Il-54T - Torpedo Bomber (project)
  • Il-54U - Trainer (project)
  • Il-54R - Photo-Reconnaissance (project)

Specifications (Il-54)

Data from OKB Ilyushin[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 28.963 m (95 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 17.65 m (57 ft 11 in)
  • Wing area: 84.6 m2 (911 sq ft)
  • Gross weight: 40,400 kg (89,067 lb) (1st prototype)
40,660 kg (89,640 lb) (2nd prototype)
  • Max takeoff weight: 41,600 kg (91,712 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-7 turbojet engines, 75.537 kN (16,981 lbf) thrust each with water injection (1st prototype)
2x Lyulka AL-7F 98.1 kN (22,100 lbf) with afterburning (2nd prototype)


  • Maximum speed: 1,150 km/h (710 mph, 620 kn) at 5,000 m (16,000 ft) (1st prototype)
1,250 km/h (780 mph; 670 kn) at 5,000 m (16,000 ft) (2nd prototype)
  • Landing speed: 243 km/h (151 mph; 131 kn)
  • Take-off run: 1,150 m (3,770 ft)
  • Landing run: 1,150 m (3,770 ft)
  • Range: 2,057 km (1,278 mi, 1,111 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 2,312 km (1,437 mi, 1,248 nmi) with drop tanks
  • Service ceiling: 13,630 m (44,720 ft) (1st prototype)
14,000 m (46,000 ft) (2nd prototype)
  • Rate of climb: 25.25 m/s (4,970 ft/min)
  • Time to altitude: 5,000 m (16,000 ft) in 3.3 minutes


  • Guns:
  • 1x 23 mm (0.906 in) Nudelman-Rikhter AM-23 cannon in the port forward fuselage.
  • 2x 23 mm (0.906 in) Nudelman-Rikhter AM-23 cannon in the remotely controlled tail barbette
  • Bombs: 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) of bombs (normal), 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) of bombs (overload)

See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. Gordon, Yefim; Komissarov, Dmitriy and Sergey (2004). OKB Ilyushin: A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft. London: Ian Allan. pp. 150–154. ISBN 1-85780-187-3.
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