Among the residents of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, the name "Dzemga" is primarily associated with the Leninsky urban district, as the Komsomol residents call this area of the city among themselves. The very word "Dzemgi" is of Nanai origin and is translated as "Birch grove". Before the start of the construction of the city in 1932, there was a camp of the indigenous inhabitants of the Amur region - the Nanais - in this area.
The purpose of building a new Far Eastern city on the banks of the Amur was to create a large military-industrial center and the development of sparsely populated areas. Even at the design stage, in the area of the village of Permskoye, in the place of which the city began to be built, it was envisaged to build an aircraft, shipbuilding and metallurgical plants (Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yu. A. Gagarin).
Initially, the site for the construction of aircraft plant No. 126, despite the warnings of the local population, was not chosen well. The high autumn flood of 1932 partially destroyed the stored building materials and flooded the excavation prepared for laying the foundation of the main building and the runway of the airfield under construction.
The construction management made the appropriate conclusions and the new plant site and the runway were moved to a higher place 5 km north of the previous place.
Military builders made a great contribution to the construction of the plant, and of the entire Komsomolsk-on-Amur. They began to arrive at the end of 1934, some of them, in the absence of transport links in winter, reached the construction site on skis on the ice of the Amur. Anyone who is familiar with the Far Eastern climate will certainly appreciate this feat without exaggeration, despite the fact that the distance between Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk is approximately 400 km.
By the end of 1935, the builders had erected several main and auxiliary workshops, after which the installation of equipment began. At the same time, preparations were underway for the assembly of aircraft. The first aircraft built in Komsomolsk in 1936 was the long-range reconnaissance aircraft R-6 (ANT-7), designed by A. N. Tupolev. This aircraft had much in common with the first Soviet all-metal twin-engine monoplane bomber TB-1. By the standards of the late 1930s, the R-6 was undoubtedly considered outdated, but it allowed the Far Eastern aircraft manufacturers to accumulate the necessary experience. By the time the first built R-6 was ready to take off, the factory runway had not yet been completed. Therefore, for testing, the aircraft was equipped with floats and took off from the water surface of the Amur River.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to find exact data regarding the date of commissioning of the factory runway. Most likely this happened in the second half of 1936. In any case, most of the P-6 aircraft built in Komsomolsk had wheeled chassis. In total, 20 vehicles were assembled at the plant by the end of 1937. The few R-6s that remained at the plant in 1938 were used for regular flights between Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk. At the end of the 30s, an aeroclub began operating on Dzemgakh, in which there were four Po-2 aircraft.
In May 1936, an order came to the plant to establish the production of long-range bombers designed by S. V. Ilyushin DB-3, at that time it was a fairly perfect aircraft, corresponding to the level of foreign analogues. Despite numerous objective and subjective difficulties in 1938, the plant's staff managed to hand over 30 aircraft to the military. In 1939, 100 bombers were already built at the plant. In the first months of 1941, the construction of torpedo bombers DB-3T and DB-3PT began. Later, there was a gradual transition to the production of DB-3F (IL-4).
Monument to IL-4 on the territory of the plant
During the war years, the production capacity of the aircraft plant and labor productivity at the enterprise increased significantly. The annual volume of aircraft delivered during this period increased by more than 2.5 times, while the number of workers remained at the pre-war level. In total, plant No. 126 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur delivered 2,757 Il-4 bombers to the front.
In the middle of 1945, in connection with the transition to "peaceful rails", preparations began for mastering the serial production of the Li-2 aircraft. This aircraft was a licensed Soviet version of the American transport and passenger aircraft DC-3 (C-47) by Douglas. The first batch of aircraft was produced in 1947. In two years, a total of 435 Li-2 aircraft were built, of which 15 were in the passenger version.
At the end of 1947, a MiG-15 jet fighter took off for the first time. This aircraft, which later received wide popularity, was created in the design bureau of A. I. Mikoyan and M. I. Gurevich. In 1949, preparations for its construction began at the aircraft plant in Komsomolsk.
In 1952, the more advanced MiG-17 was launched into the series. Establishing the production of jet fighters required a qualitative renovation of the production facilities of the aircraft plant, large-scale construction of new production facilities and the reconstruction of existing ones. The delivery of MiG-17F fighters abroad was the plant's export debut.
By that time, the factory runway no longer met modern requirements. For testing and normal operation of modern jet-powered cruise vehicles, a hard-surfaced runway was required. The construction of the concrete runway coincided in time with the beginning of the process of mastering the production of a new supersonic aircraft by OKB P. O. Sukhoi.
In the spring of 1958, the first supersonic Su-7s were handed over to military acceptance. The beginning of the production of "Su" combat vehicles went with great difficulties, which the plant staff overcame with honor. During the serial production of the Su-7, 15 modifications of this aircraft have been developed. The most widely used fighter bombers Su-7B and Su-7BM. In 1964, their export deliveries began.
The evolutionary line of development of the Su-7 was the Su-17 variable-geometry fighter-bomber. The variable sweep wing made it possible to improve the take-off and landing characteristics and choose the optimal sweep depending on the flight profile, but at the same time, such a scheme significantly complicated the aircraft design.
Su-17 assembly line
Construction of various modifications of the Su-17 for the USSR Air Force and export versions of the Su-20, Su-22, Su-22M at the plant, which became known as the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yu. A. Gagarin”continued until the early 90s. In parallel with the production of fighter-bombers, the plant was assembling anti-ship cruise missiles P-6 and "Amethyst" for arming submarines. By cooperation, the tail sections of the fuselage with empennage and rotary wing parts for the Su-24 were supplied to Novosibirsk.
In 1984, the delivery of serial Su-27s began. Pilots of the 60th IAP were one of the first fighters to master the Su-27. This fighter regiment, which covered Komsomolsk-on-Amur for a long time, shared the runway with the plant.
The first I-16 fighters appeared on Dziomga in 1939, then this fighter aviation unit was part of the 31st Aviation Brigade. At the beginning of 1945, the regiment was completely re-equipped with Yak-9 fighters. During the Soviet-Japanese war, pilots of a fighter regiment from Dzomog took part in the Sungaria offensive and the South Sakhalin operation.
In 1951, the regiment finally switched from piston fighters to jet MiG-15s. In the first half of 1955, they were replaced by MiG-17 fighters, which were soon supplemented by the Yak-25 loitering fighter-interceptors with the Izumrud radar.
In 1969, the 60th IAP was re-equipped with Su-15 supersonic interceptors, which had flown from the Dzemgi airfield for about 20 years. In the 70s, Yak-28P interceptors were based on Dzomga for some time, but it was not possible to establish whether they belonged to the 60th IAP or another aviation unit. In any case, in the early 90s, at the storage base located at the Khurba airfield near Komsomolsk, there were Yak-28Ps.
Despite the fact that the 60th IAP was one of the first to switch to the Su-27, the Su-15 fighter-interceptors were used on Dzomga as early as 1990. Particularly impressive were the night flights, when the Su-15, taking off at the afterburner with jets of flame beating from jet engines, literally pierced the dark sky like rockets. Shortly before the withdrawal of the Su-15 from service, it was possible to observe very complex aerobatics, which the pilots turned on machines that were not suitable for maneuvering air combat, not far from the airfield - over the Staraya platform and the Amur River.
In August 2001, during the next reform of the armed forces, the 60th Fighter Aviation Regiment was merged with the 404th "Tallinn" Order of Kutuzov, 3rd Class Fighter Aviation Regiment. As a result of the merger, the 23rd "Tallinn" Fighter Aviation Order of Kutuzov, III degree regiment, based at the Dzemgi airfield, was formed. The 23rd IAP became the head for many new and modernized Su-brand machines.
The Su-27 aircraft became the base for a whole family of single and two-seat fighters, such as: Su-27SK, Su-27SKM, Su-33, Su-27SM, Su-30MK, Su-30MK2, Su-30M2, Su-35S. The aircraft, created on the basis of the Su-27, were widely exported and are currently the main fighter of the Russian Air Force. The specialists of the Komsomolsk Aviation Plant made a great contribution to the establishment of the production of the Su-27SK in the PRC, at the aircraft plant in the city of Shenyang.
In the 90s, at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yu. A. Gagarin, within the framework of the defense industry conversion program, work began on civil aviation topics. Prior to this, combat aircraft were considered the main products of the enterprise, and Amur boats, bicycles and washing machines were produced for the population.
In September 2001, the Su-80 made its maiden flight. At the design stage, it was assumed that in the passenger version it would replace the Yak-40 and An-24 on the local airlines, and the An-26 in the cargo one.
The advantages of the Su-80 turboprop are considered to be good takeoff and landing characteristics and the ability to fly from unequipped airfields. This made it possible to operate the Su-80 from unprepared airfields and short, including unpaved strips. If necessary, it was possible to quickly convert from a passenger version to a cargo one. The Su-80 was supposed to provide an acceptable level of comfort for passengers by modern standards and high transport efficiency of air transportation with minimal operating costs. If necessary, the aircraft could be used as a light military transport or patrol. The presence of a cargo ramp on the Su-80 makes it possible to transport vehicles and standard aviation containers.
The Su-80 aircraft passed factory acceptance tests at KnAAPO and was preparing to be transferred to the OKB for development tests, but the program was soon stopped. According to the official version, this is due to the use of imported components and assemblies - American-made engines and French generators. But it seems that the Su-80 became uninteresting to the plant and the developer in view of the preparation for production, promising great benefits, of the short-haul passenger aircraft Sukhoi Superjet 100.
The same fate befell the light amphibious aircraft Be-103. Its production lasted from 1997 to 2004. Several machines of this type were sold to the USA and Canada. At the moment, the production of the Be-103 has been discontinued, and all work on it has been curtailed. There are still 16 amphibians on the territory of the plant, which have not found a buyer.
On May 19, 2008, a short-haul passenger aircraft Sukhoi Superjet 100 took off for the first time from the runway of the Jomga airfield. It was developed by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCA) with the participation of foreign companies Thales, PowerJet and B / E Aerospace. The share of foreign components in this aircraft is very large.
The Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft at the exhibition site of the Jomgi airfield during the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the aircraft plant (photo by the author).
In 2011, deliveries of the airliner to Russian and foreign customers began. At present, more than 100 Superjet-100 units have been produced.
In January 2013, the aircraft plant as a branch became part of JSC Sukhoi Company and became known as a branch of JSC Sukhoi Company Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant named after Yu. A. Gagarin "(KnAAZ). Over the years the plant has built more than 12,000 aircraft for various purposes. Since the beginning of the 60s, the company has been the main manufacturer of Su-brand combat aircraft. Along with the production of new equipment at KnAAZ, the repair and modernization of previously produced vehicles, which were in service with the fighter aviation regiments of the Air Force and the Russian Navy, are underway.
Over the past ten years, several dozen overhauled and modernized Su-27SMs have been transferred to the troops. Su-27SM3 fighters were built on the basis of the export Su-27SK. Unlike the Su-27S and Su-27P fighters, which initially entered our Air Force, the modernized Su-27SM and Su-27SM3 fighters have a more advanced weapon control system and a new radar sighting system and an optical-electronic sighting system. These aircraft are equipped with multifunctional monitors, a windshield display system and a new helmet-mounted target designation system. The modernized fighters are capable of using guided air-to-surface weapons, including anti-ship missiles. The Su-27SM3 has a reinforced airframe and new AL-31F-M1 engines with a thrust of 13,500 kgf. Before the advent of the Su-35S, the Su-27SM and Su-27SM3 fighters were the most advanced single-seat combat vehicles in the Russian Air Force.
Fighter Su-27SM at the Dzemgi airfield (author's photo)
Since 2002, nineteen Su-33 carrier-based fighters, which are part of the air group (279th kiap) of the currently only Russian aircraft carrier "Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov", have been repaired and modernized at KnAAZ. In the future, it is planned to modernize several more Su-33s.
A two-seater Su-30 fighter was created by means of deep modernization on the basis of the Su-27UB combat trainer. This aircraft, in comparison with the Su-27, has a longer flight range and more advanced avionics. The following modifications were built at KnAAZ: Su-30MK, Su-30MK2, Su-30MKK, Su-30MKV, Su-30MK2-V, Su-30M2. All variants, except for the last one, are exportable. As of the end of 2014, 16 Su-30M2 fighters were delivered to the RF Air Force.
In October 2008, a Su-35S fighter, built at KnAAZ in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, took off from the Dzemgi airfield. In 2009, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation ordered 48 multipurpose Su-35S fighters.
In many ways, the story of thirty years ago was repeated with the commissioning and fine-tuning of the Su-27 fighter. The Fighter Aviation Regiment, based at the Jomgi airfield, again became the lead when the new fighter was put into operation. This is quite justified, given that the manufacturing plant is located within walking distance. If necessary, this makes it possible to repair and refine the still "raw" Su-35S in the factory, with the participation of representatives of the design bureau.
Su-35S fighters at the Dzemgi airfield (author's photo)
Su-35S fighters built in 2010-2013, which are in service with the 23rd IAP on Dzomgakh, have a two-tone paint scheme with a blue bottom and a dark gray top. The Su-35S is a further development of the Su-27 fighter. When creating it, many years of experience in operating the Su-27 were taken into account and combat capabilities were significantly increased. The glider of the Su-35S fighter, compared to the Su-27, has been strengthened and the volume of fuel tanks increased. The new fighter has an advanced information and command system, radar with passive HEADLIGHTS "N035 Irbis", as well as new AL-41F1 engines with a plasma ignition system and a controlled thrust vector.
At the end of January 2010, a prototype of the fifth-generation PAK FA T-50 fighter, built at KnAAZ, took off from Dzomog for the first time. Currently, nine flight prototypes and two samples for passing ground and strength tests have been built for testing.
Satellite image of Google earth: T-50 aircraft on the territory of KnAAZ
Thus, the runway and infrastructure of the Dzemgi airfield are actively used by both the aircraft building plant and the fighter regiment. The KnAAZ aircraft fleet includes the following aircraft: Tu-154, An-12, Su-80, Be-103. Until recently, the plant operated twin Su-17UM3 trains used for training purposes. A noteworthy fact is that the Su-17 fighter-bombers of all modifications were officially withdrawn from the Russian Air Force in the late 90s. The maintenance of the Su-17UM3 in flight condition, the production of which was completed at the Komsomolsk aircraft plant more than 25 years ago, was possible thanks to the availability of qualified technical personnel and a large stock of spare parts.
Satellite image of Google earth: aircraft parking on the territory of KnAAZ
The combat composition of the 23rd IAP includes fighters: Su-27SM, Su-30M2 and Su-35S. In November 2015, as part of the fulfillment of the state defense order, another batch of Su-35S was handed over to the military. According to the plans of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, by the beginning of 2016 in the 23rd IAP at the Dzemgi airfield there should be: 16 Su-27SM, 3 Su-30M2 and 24 Su-35S.
Satellite image of Google earth: aircraft of the 23rd IAP at the Dzemgi airfield
On the territory of the airfield, aviation holidays are regularly held, where various types of aviation equipment are demonstrated and demonstration flights are conducted.
Exhibition of aviation equipment during the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the aviation plant (photo by the author)
The last one is dedicated to the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant on August 16, 2014 (Aviation holiday dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant).
During the demonstration flights, an incident occurred that could well have ended in an accident or even a catastrophe. The Su-35S belonging to the 23rd IAP w / n 08 "red", during landing due to a pilot error, touched the wing tip of the concrete runway. Fortunately, everything went without serious consequences and many viewers did not even understand what happened.
Unfortunately, not all incidents with aviation equipment at the Jomgi airfield ended so well. On October 19, 1987, while trying to take off in difficult weather conditions, the transport An-12BK belonging to KnAAPO crashed. As it was established by the commission that conducted the investigation, the main causes of the disaster were poor-quality cleaning of the runway from snow and aircraft overload. During takeoff, a strong tailwind was blowing, visibility was limited due to the dark time of the day.
As a result, the plane, breaking away from the runway at its very end, touched the landing gear for the antennas of the radio technical equipment of the airfield and, having assembled the fence, crashed into the garage, in which there were fuel tankers, and then exploded. The crash killed 5 crew members and 4 passengers.
More recently, on April 27, 2009, during taxiing and high-speed jogging, a prototype Su-35 ran off the runway and collided with an obstacle. As a result of the accident, the plane was completely destroyed and burned down. The test pilot managed to eject and was not injured. Fortunately, this incident did not have a significant impact on the timing of the tests and the process of launching into mass production.
Jemgi airfield is classified as international according to the register of the Federal Air Transport Agency. It is equipped with two short-range navigation stations (RSBN), a course-glide path system of the 1st category, surveillance radars, and light-signaling systems. The dimensions of the runway are 2480 × 80 m. The airfield can accommodate almost all types of aircraft up to the An-124 Ruslan, inclusive.
The joint-based airfield Dzemgi has played and will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in ensuring the defense capability of our country. Its importance especially increased after, during the "reform" and "giving a new look" to the armed forces, a significant number of aviation units were "optimized" and about half of the military airfields in the Far East were liquidated.