In 2022, it will be 130 years since the birthday of Arkady Dmitrievich Shvetsov

26 january 2022

In 2022, it will be 130 years since the birthday of Arkady Dmitrievich Shvetsov, the outstanding Soviet aircraft engine designer, the founder of Perm Design School (he was the Chief Designer of Plant No.19, at present UEC-Aviadvigatel, from 1939 to 1953).

Arkady Shvetsov was born on the 12th (25th) of January 1892 in Nizhne-Serginsky Plant industrial township of Krasno-Ufimsky District of the Perm Province (now Nizhnie Sergi, Sverdlovsk District) in a teacher’s family. In 1909, he graduated Perm Alexeevskoe non-classical secondary school (at present Perm Aviation Secondary Technical School named after A.Shvetsov). In 1921, he graduated Moscow Technical High School (now Bauman Moscow State Technical University), with a diploma of the mechanical engineer in the field of combustion engines.

From 1922 to 1934 worked at Aviation Motor Plant No. 24 (Moscow, now Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Gas-Turbine Engineering Research and Production Center “Salut”). He rose from Technical Bureau Manager to Technical Director of the Plant.

In 1925-1926, under Shvetsov's leadership, a five-cylinder radial aircraft engine M-11 was developed – the first Soviet air-cooled aircraft engine, which was produced until 1940 (with modifications – until 1952) and powered U-2 (Po-2), AIR-6, UT-2, Yak-18.

In 1934, the USSR purchased a license for the American radial engine Wright R-1820 Cyclone. In order to master and adapt the engine, Plant No.19 was built in Perm; Arkady Shvetsov was appointed Technical Director and Chief Designer of this Plant.

In 1939, Design Bureau of the Plant No.19 was reorganized into OKB-19; Arkady Shvetsov was appointed Chief Designer. By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War the Design Bureau under his leadership created a family of radial air-cooled piston engines powering Polikarpov, Tupolev, Lavochkin, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, and Antonov aircrafts and played an important role in the victory over Fascism. Among the most famous:

M-62 and its modifications for the I-153 fighter, transport Li-2 and An-2;

M-63 for I-16 fighter;

ASh-82 and its modifications for La-5, La-7 fighters, Tu-2 bombers and others.

Shvetsov engines were notable for their reliability and failure-free performance, ensuring successful combat operations for Soviet military pilots. The Ash engines won the great engine battle of World War II.

The merits of the Perm Design Bureau in producing piston aircraft were recognized in 1943 with the Order of Lenin. OKB No. 19 maintained leading positions even after Great Patriotic War. Almost all new projects of piston equipment for military and civil aviation were concentrated in Perm. Fifteen types of piston engines designed by Arkady Shvetsov, not including their modifications, were put into series production. The total number of serially produced piston engines designed by OKB No. 19 exceeded 105 thousand.  

Arkady Shvetsov was awarded the titles of Doctor of Engineering Science, Lieutenant General of Engineering Aviation Service. He was a Hero of Socialist Labour, winner of the Stalin prize for four times, awarded five Orders of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner of Labour, Order of Kutuzov of I Degree, Order of Suvorov of I Degree an four medals.

Perm Aviation Secondary Technical School and a street in Perm were named after Shvetsov. There is a monument in his native town, Nizhnie Sergi.

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