Branded under the deceiving name of DB-LK (long-range bomber-flying wing in Russian), this fuselage-less bomber prototype was built in the USSR in 1939. Designed by Viktor N. Belyayev, this unusual aircraft was conceived with two main objetives: reduce drag and optimize structural loads. With no fuselage the engine nacelles became also the crew stations, defensive turrets included. Of light alloy stressed skin construction and powered by a pair of powerful 1000hp M-88 engines, the DB-LK started its test flights in 1940. After suffering a ground accident, the design showed serious potential, but also some tricky handling issues due to centre of gravity sensibility. The German invasion and the availability of the no-nonsense Il-4 sealed the future of this startling machine. It was a time for no experiments.
Another aesthetically pleasing feature of the DB-LK was its forward swept outer wing sections, barely seen in this descriptive photo composition.