Prepared by the Ministry of Supply in 1951, this poster provides images and data of the Soviet-made Ilyushin IL-12 twin-engine aircraft. The dominant rendering shows "Аэрофлот" or Aeroflot on the front fuselage and "СССР-Л1701," on the back fuselage, its registration number, matching an Il-12 seen at the Poznan fair in 1948. The Il-12 was widely exported and used as passenger aircraft and military transport. In its most common use as a mid- and short-haul passenger aircraft, it even served a few European destinations outside the Iron Curtain, such as Vienna, Stockholm, and Paris.
The Ministry of Supply, defunct since 1959 when the Ministry of Aviation took over its duties, was tasked with research and equipment supply for the British armed forces. John Cairncross, a Soviet double agent at Bletchley Park during the war, and alleged fifth member of the Cambridge Five, worked in 1951, in the section that dealt with armament questions.
Soviet Aviation Industry
Russia entered aviation in 1910 with Igor Sikorsky's S-1; the field proved a less capital-intensive endeavor than improving the rail network across the vast country. After Stalin's push for industrialization in his First Five-Year Plan, his Second Five-Year Plan (1932-1938), which gave heavy industry, particularly the steel industry, top priority, helped further the Soviet Union's aviation industry. In 1931, a cohort of 65 students was sent to top universities in the United States. The most notable among them was Stanislav Shumovsky, who attended MIT and remained in the country for over a decade, escorting prominent engineers such as Andrey Tupolev, Sergei Ilyushin, and Pavel Sukhoi around numerous universities, research labs, and aviation facilities. Stalin called for his engineers to "fly higher, farther, faster" and in 1933 had August 18th designated as the date of a yearly Aviation Day, the same year the United States officially recognized the Soviet Union. In 1936, the Soviet government was able to secure a license from Douglas to produce DC-3, under the designation Lisunov Li-2. By the end of World War II, Ilyushin's Il-2 became the most-produced combat aircraft, with 36,183 manufactured.
Higham, Robin., Kipp, Jacob W. Soviet Aviation And Air Power: A Historical View. N.p.: Taylor & Francis, 2019.
West, Nigel., Tsarev, Oleg. The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives. United Kingdom: Yale University Press, 1999.