Su-27 Intercepts US Spy Plane Heading Into Russian Airspace.
Sputnik MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 14:26 11.04.2015
The US RC-135U reconnaissance plane was flying towards the Russian border with its transponder switched off, a Defense Ministry spokesman said in Moscow Saturday.
Maj.-General Igor Konashenkov said that an unidentified airborne target was spotted over the Baltic Sea by Russian air defenders on April 7 flying directly towards the Russian border.
A Su-27 fighter jet was scrambled to inspect the target. Moving up to the unidentified aircraft the Russian pilot flew around it several times, made sure it was a US RC-135U reconnaissance plane and reported its tail number to ground control.
“I want to emphasize that the RC-135U was moving towards the Russian border with its transponder switched off… As to the professional qualities of our pilots, this is something for the Russian military command to assess. Moreover, US reconnaissance planes are supposed to fly along US borders only and nowhere else,” Konashenkov said, adding that no “emergency situations” were registered during Tuesday’s mid-air encounter.
A Pentagon spokesman said on Saturday that a Russian Su-27 jet fighter on Tuesday flew dangerously close to and nearly collided with a US reconnaissance plane over the Baltic Sea.
Post by TsarSamuil on Apr 29, 2015 16:05:25 GMT -5
‘Blackjack’ comeback: Russia to renew production of its most powerful strategic bomber.
RT.com April 29, 2015 17:52
Russia is to renew production of the Tu-160 “Blackjack” supersonic strategic bomber and missile carrier, according to defense minister, Sergey Shoigu.
“Today it is already necessary to solve the task of not only maintaining and modernizing long-range aviation, we must also produce the Tu-160 missile carrier,” Shoigu said during a visit to the Kazan Aviation Plant, as cited by Sputnik news agency.
According to Shoigu’s evaluation, Tu-160 is “a unique aircraft that was several decades ahead of its time and its constructive potential was still to be fully unlocked.”
“For now, this is the best existing supersonic bomber,” the minister emphasized.
The Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) was in the past nicknamed the ‘White Swan’ by Soviet and Russian pilots.
The aircraft is the world's largest supersonic bomber jet, as well as the heaviest combat aircraft in the world, according to its manufacturer, Tupolev JSC.
The Russian Air Force currently operates about 15 Tu-160 strategic bombers, according to TASS.
In 2013, the Russian Defense Ministry signed a $66 million contract with the Tupolev design bureau and Kazan Aircraft Plant to upgrade three of the Tu-160 bombers.
Russia to Produce Successor of Tu-160 Strategic Bomber After 2023.
MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 18:58 04.06.2015
The new plane, dubbed Tu-160M2, will have new technical specifications and new capabilities.
PARIS (Sputnik) — Russia is planning to resume production of Tu-160 supersonic strategic bombers after 2023, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on Thursday.
"According to the current schedule, this will happen sometime after 2023," Borisov, who is on a visit to France, said.
"In essence, it it will be a new plane, dubbed Tu-160M2. It will have new technical specifications, new capabilities."
Russian Air Force Commander, Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev, said in May that the Defense Ministry will purchase at least 50 Tu-160 bombers after the production is resumed. The Tu-160 is a supersonic strategic bomber with variable-sweep wings, designed to engage targets around the globe with nuclear and conventional weapons.
Last Edit: Jun 4, 2015 19:31:50 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Jun 30, 2015 16:45:54 GMT -5
Ad Astra: Russian Tu-160 and PAK DA Strategic Bombers to Use Star Power.
Sputnik MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 18:33 30.06.2015
Jamming Russian long-range bombers' navigation satellite systems will not throw them off course. They will navigate using stars.
Russian long-range aircraft such as Tu-160 strategic bombers will be equipped with a technologically new system that figures out a plane's coordinates based on the position of the stars.
The new ANS-2009 astronavigation system can determine an aircraft's position and speed with high precision.
Its main advantage over other systems is that this method "is supremely reliable in combat conditions when navigation satellite systems (NSS) can be brought out of operation by an enemy," the manufacturer's press service said.
The integration of ANS, NSS and platformless inertial navigation systems aboard would allow a plane's coordinates to be calculated with maximum precision.
The technical achievements realized in the ANS-2009 will be used in the next-generation strategic bomber PAK DA, the Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (KRET) added.
The Russian Tu-160 is a supersonic variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber/missile carrier. It can engage targets around the globe with nuclear and conventional weapons.
Moscow decided to renew the production of the world's largest supersonic bomber jets and modernize them.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jul 16, 2015 14:10:43 GMT -5
Russia's Next-Gen Strategic Bomber to Make Maiden Flight in 2023-2024.
Sputnik MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 16:03 14.07.2015
PAK DA, Russia's fifth generation long-range bomber powered by a new engine (both in development), is expected to make its maiden flight in less than a decade, United Engine Corporation's (UEC) CEO Vladislav Masalov said.
The aircraft is expected to be equipped with an operational engine by the time it takes off for the first time in 2023-2024, he added.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that Russia's United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC) was developing a one-of-a-kind communications system for the PAK DA. The system will be capable of analyzing its state, making adjustments based on these findings and switching its operation modes.
The stealthy PAK DA, developed by the Tupolev design bureau, will fly at subsonic speeds and is designed to carry out missions which are currently assigned to three aircraft, the Tupolev Tu-160, the Tu-95MS and the Tupolev Tu-22M3.
The design for the PAK DA is believed to have been finalized and the project is currently in the next stage, which entails building a prototype.
PAK DA bombers, allegedly based on the Tupolev Tu-160, are expected to enter into service in 2023. Some say that the aircraft could be equipped with hypersonic weapons. The plane is also expected to be fitted with some equipment from the fifth-generation PAK FA fighter.
Russia Developing Unique Communications Systems for Next-Generation Bomber.
MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 20:00 13.07.2015
Russian engineers are developing a one-of-a-kind communications system for Russia's next-generation PAK DA strategic bomber which will be able to conduct analysis, make changes and switch its operation modes, a representative of Russia's United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC) told RIA Novosti.
The communications system will be domestically-manufactured, according to the UIMC, which is part of Russian state-owned corporation Rostec.
"The new hardware is meant to provide robust communication with the strategic bomber regardless of range and in the most extreme circumstances, including when jammed," the UIMC source said, adding that the aircraft-based system boasts two new features – secure communication and a cognitive radio.
The system is capable of analyzing its state and making adjustments based on these findings. Moreover, the system is capable of transmitting the data without the information being noticed by enemy scanners.
"The aircraft's antenna system is developed on the basis of a "smart skin" concept," the source added, saying that it will help to improve the aerodynamics and increase the plane's stealth capabilities.
PAK DA bombers, based on the Tupolev Tu-160, are expected to enter into service in 2023. Some say that the aircraft could be equipped with hypersonic weapons. The plane is also expected to be fitted with some equipment from the fifth-generation PAK FA fighter.
Last Edit: Jul 16, 2015 14:12:10 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Tu-160M2 to Have New Avionics That Will Increase Its Effectiveness Twofold.
Sputnik MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 14:52 29.07.2015
In addition to a new engine, Russia’s elite Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bomber (“White Swan”) is capable of carrying cruise and nuclear missiles and will receive cutting-edge avionics, said Vladimir Mikheev, the adviser of the deputy head of Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Concern (RETC), according to Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
The new avionics and electronic warfare system of the Tu-160, codenamed Blackjack by NATO military experts, will begin this year. Construction of the design materials and documentation of battle performance characteristics and technical specifications are currently underway, Mikheev informed.
"There will be nothing left from the earlier version of Tu-160, only the platform. Much more advanced hardware will be installed on it," Mikheev said, as cited by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
The new avionics system is currently being tested on the Sukhoi PAK FA Tu-50, Russia's fifth-generation fighter. After that, military engineers will take best elements tested on the Tu-50 and use them to create an aircraft with fundamentally new capabilities, the official representative of RETC said.
The new strategic bomber will also be equipped with an advanced radio-electronic system, highly effective against anti-aircraft missiles.
The revival of the production of this bomber was announced by the Russian Defense Minister in April 2015.
The Tu-160M2's advanced equipment will make it possible to increase its effectiveness by more than two-fold as compared to the old version.
Post by TsarSamuil on Dec 21, 2015 13:43:42 GMT -5
Russia to Deliver Advanced Strategic Bomber to Air Force in 2024-2025.
MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 22:00 19.12.2015
Еhe Russian Long-Range Air Force deputy commander said that Russia’s prospective complex of distant aviation, a proposed next-generation strategic bomber design, will carry out its first flight in 2020-2021 and four years later will be delivered to the army.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s prospective complex of distant aviation (PAK DA), a proposed next-generation strategic bomber design, will carry out its first flight in 2020-2021 and four years later will be delivered to the army, the Russian Long-Range Air Force deputy commander said Saturday.
"As for rearmament, the aircraft fleet that we have at present will be changed for the PAK DA. According to the plan, the first flights will take place in 2020-2021, later the test flights are scheduled, and the deliveries to the army will begin in 2024-2025," Maj. Gen. Anatoly Konovalov told reporters.
The project is currently being developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau.
The work on creating the PAK DA was launched in 2009. The military intended to receive a single type of long-range bomber to replace the current Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 25, 2016 20:18:16 GMT -5
Russia’s Strategic Bomber PAK DA May Take off Earlier than Expected.
Sputnik MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 21:31 24.01.2016
Work on the PAK DA strategic bomber is coming along at a good pace, according to the Chief of the Russian Air and Space Forces, Viktor Bondarev.
The prototype PAK DA may hit the skies before 2021, the chief added.
“Work on the PAK DA is coming along and the pace is suiting us. The challenge remains to raise the prototype into air by 2021, but if all continues at the current pace, it will take off even earlier,” Bondarev said.
Russia’s prospective complex of distant aviation (PAK DA) is a proposed next-generation strategic bomber design. The project is currently being developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau.
The PAK DA project was launched in 2009. The military intended to receive a single type of long-range bomber to replace the current Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3.
The PAK DA will be a unique project in the history of Russian aviation since it will be a "flying wing" aircraft, a design never used before by Russian engineers. It will fly at subsonic speeds and the large wingspan and design features will provide the jet with reduced visibility to radar.
Earlier, the Long-Range Aviation Commander Lieutenant-General Anatoly Zhiharev talking about PAK DA said that, “This is a fundamentally new plane with a new sighting and navigation system. This plane will be equipped with the latest communication systems and electronic warfare, and will have little visibility to radar.”
Representative of the concern “Radio-electronic technology” Vladimir Mikheyev said that the new modification of the strategic missile is based on the principle of integrated modular avionics, allowing components to replace the on-board electronics and restore each other.
The bomber will be able to set a course without the help of satellite signals. This will be possible thanks to the inertial navigation system, which will determine the course and speed of the aircraft due to the high-precision data acquisition devices — laser gyroscopes and quartz accelerometers.
Post by TsarSamuil on Feb 12, 2016 22:41:11 GMT -5
Flying Monster: Russia to Build World’s Biggest and Fastest Air Freighter.
Sputnik RUSSIA 11:27 07.02.2016
Russia’s aircraft designers are setting their sights on a huge, supersonic cargo plane capable of transporting tanks to the field in a matter of hours. The general concept of this flying giant is expected to be ready before this year is out.
This heavy transport plane, dubbed the PAK TA (Perspective Airborne Complex of Transport Aviation), will be able to fly at supersonic speeds of up to 2,000 km/h, carry up to 200 tons and have a range of 7,000 km.
Eighty such planes are to be built by 2024, which will make it possible to ferry 400 heavy tanks or 900 lightly armored vehicles to the battlefield much faster than ever before.
The project is being handled by Ilyushin Aviation Complex, whose CEO Viktor Livanov said that “it may be implemented by 2030," and that the exact specifications were still subject to negotiations.
The PAK TA project, thought to have been underway for several years now, is to replace the current fleet of Russian heavy air freighters – Antonov An-22 Antei with a load carrying capacity of 60 tons, and Antonov An-124 Ruslan, which can lift 120 tons of cargo.
The only operating aircraft that can carry a comparable amount of weight is the Antonov An-225 Mriya, which was built for the Soviet Buran space shuttle program.
White Swan: When Will Modernized Russian Tu-160 Bomber Hit the Skies.
Sputnik MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 20:22 02.03.2016
Flights of the modernized strategic Tu-160 bomber are scheduled to begin in 2019, the Commander of Aerospace Forces of Russia, Colonel-General Viktor Bondarev, said Wednesday.
“The upgrade of the Tu-160 bomber is being carried out under the presidential decree. I think that by 2019, this modernized aircraft will start its flights,” Bondarev said following the meeting on the development of Russian combat aircraft.
Deputy Defense Minister, Yuri Borisov, in February 2016, said that the work on the restoration of this aircraft includes a great amount of teamwork and collaboration.
The Tu-160 is a supersonic strategic bomber designed by Tupolev in the 1970s — 1980s.
Although some civil and military transport aircraft are larger in overall dimensions, the Tu-160 is the world's largest combat aircraft to enter service.
It has been in service since 1987. It is the heaviest combat aircraft in the world; with the highest maximum take-off mass among the bombers.
The pilots have nicknamed the bomber Beliy Lebed (White Swan).
The first competition for a supersonic strategic heavy bomber was launched in the Soviet Union in 1967. In 1972, the Soviet Union started a new multi-mission bomber competition to create a new supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber with a maximum speed of Mach 2.3, in response to the US Air Force B-1 bomber project.
The Tupolev design, dubbed Aircraft 160M, with a lengthened blended wing layout and integrating some elements of the Tu-144, contested against the Myasishchev M-18 and the Sukhoi T-4 designs.
The modernized aircraft were accepted into Russian service after testing in late 2005. The improvement also combined the capacity to launch two new conventional versions of the long-range Kh-55 nuclear cruise missile—the Kh-101 and Kh-555.
The Revival of Russia's Aviation Industry - New Russian Transport Aircraft.
In this series Russia Insider will explore the revival of Russia's aviation industry. Today we concentrate on transport aircraft. In subsequent issues we shall deal with passenger aircraft, military aircraft and helicopters
RI Daniel Fielding Thu, Mar 10, 2016
The revival of Russia’s aircraft industry is a central plank of the Russian government’s policy of reindustrialisation and import substitution.
This is a massively ambitious programme and in a series of articles I shall discuss the various projects that are underway.
In this article I shall focus on cargo aircraft - a sector in which the USSR was once a world leader and to which the Russian government is giving high priority.
Within the Russian aviation industry this has been a particularly troubled sector because of one specific factor that distinguishes it from the others.
This is that during the Soviet period cargo aircraft development had become focused on one design bureau - the Antonov Bureau - which relocated from the Siberian city of Novosibirsk to Kiev in Ukraine in 1952.
The Antonov Bureau duly produced a series of outstanding aircraft such as the AN12 (the Soviet equivalent of the US C130 Hercules), the AN22 (the world’s first wide body) and the truly gigantic AN124 - still the world’s biggest transport aircraft - which taken together became the mainstay of the Soviet air transport fleet.
Since 1991, when the USSR broke up and the Antonov Bureau found itself in now independent Ukraine, the Antonov Bureau has however become increasingly separated from the rest of the industry.
This has created a complex and difficult situation, with Russian purchases of Antonov aircraft - or agreements for their licenced production in Russia - continuously held hostage to the state of Russian-Ukrainian political relations.
The result is that Antonov projects - such as the AN140 medium transport, the AN70 medium transport, and plans for a restart of production of the AN124 - have over the years been subject to a bewildering succession of stop-go orders, with seemingly firm production or purchase agreements made with some Ukrainian governments promptly set aside when those governments are replaced by other Ukrainian governments.
In this one respect, by once and for all showing that industrial cooperation with Ukraine on aircraft projects is impossible, the Maidan coup has been beneficial to the Russian aircraft industry, by finally bringing clarity.
The unfortunate consequence is the recently announced closure of the Antonov Bureau after 70 years of design work.
The end of the connection with the Antonov Bureau means that all current Russian cargo aircraft design work has been assigned to the Moscow based Ilyushin Bureau, which gained experienced in cargo aircraft design during the Soviet period with its successful IL76 aircraft.
The main buyer and user of cargo aircraft will be the Russian air force, which requires large numbers of such aircraft to move troops and supplies around the vast expanse of Russian territory and to project Russia’s military power overseas.
A particularly heavy user of these types of aircraft are Russia’s Airborne Forces - ie. its paratroop units.
These elite infantry number around 40,000 men and are the spearhead of the Russian army - as well as being Russia’s rapid reaction force.
Unlike paratroop units in the West, they are equipped with heavy mechanised equipment including specially designed BMD infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and light tanks.
Russia needs aircraft that are not only able to transport these paratroopers and their equipment across Russia and around the world, but from which they can air drop or parachute as well.
In a country as vast as Russia cargo aircraft also serve a critical economic function, enabling goods and supplies to be moved quickly around a vast country even in remote regions that might otherwise be inaccessible.
Russian cargo aircraft have also proved a success in export markets.
Their exceptional ruggedness has made them the preferred aircraft for transporting air freight especially in less developed countries and in war zones. They have for example become the preferred aircraft used by humanitarian agencies in relief operations.
This is a medium freight aircraft designed to transport 6,000 kgs (6 tonnes) of cargo up to a distance of 1,000 km (it can transport a smaller cargo of 2,000 kgs (2 tonnes) up to a distance of 5,000 km).
A twin turboprop aircraft using two St. Petersburg built Klimov TV7-117S engines, it is intended to replace the ubiquitous Soviet era Antonov AN26.
The IL112 has had a complex history. Originally proposed in the 1980s, the project was abandoned in the 1990s, only to be revived in the late 2000s, with a maiden flight scheduled for 2011.
It was then abandoned again when the military decided to buy the supposedly cheaper Antonov AN140, which is currently being produced under licence in Russia.
In 2013, at a time when economic relations with Ukraine were again becoming strained because of Ukraine’s intention to conclude an association agreement with the EU causing the co-production agreement for the AN140 to be placed in doubt, the decision was taken to revive the IL112 project.
The first flight is expected in 2017, with production following shortly after.
Obviously this will be a heavily modernised aircraft by comparison with the 1980s concept.
Whereas in the West it is the bigger C130 Hercules with its 20,000 kg load that is the workhorse of the US air force’s air transport fleet, the Russian air force uses smaller aircraft with a 6,000 kg load like the AN26 and the IL112 to a much greater degree.
This probably reflects Russia’s less developed road network, which often makes it necessary to transport by air supplies which in the West would be transported by road. Smaller aircraft like the AN26 and the IL112 are obviously more cost effective for delivering smaller quantities of supplies to remote places than bigger aircraft.
One of the factors that has undoubtedly held up development of aircraft like the IL112 is the hereto low reliability of the Klimov engines, which despite having comparable power ratings and fuel efficiency to Western engines of the same class, have until recently required unacceptably frequent repairs.
This was almost certainly a consequence of the general fall in production standards that took place across the whole of Russian industry in the 1990s, and which particularly effected the gas turbine sector.
It seems this problem has now been solved, allowing the IL112 to enter production in quantity.
This is the intended replacement for the AN12 and will therefore be an aircraft in the same class as the US C130 Hercules.
Unlike the AN12 and the C130 Hercules, the IL214 is a twin jet (turbofan) aircraft. Its planned performance reflects this.
Thus the IL214 will be able to transport a 20,000 kg (20 tonne) cargo up to 3,250 km and has a cruising speed of 810 km/hour.
By comparison an AN12 can transport a 20,000 kg (20 tonne) cargo up to 3,600 km and has a cruising speed of 670 km/hour.
The service ceiling (ie. the maximum altitude the aircraft is intended to fly) of the IL214 will be 13,100 metres. The service ceiling of the AN12 is 10,200 metres.
The figures for the C130H version of the Hercules are a 3,800 km range, a cruising speed of 540 km/hour, and a service ceiling of 10,060 metres.
In other words, by comparison with the AN12 and the C130 Hercules, the IL214 will be able to carry the same payload over a shorter distance (because of the greater fuel burn of the turbofan engines) but significantly faster and higher.
The advantage gained by using the IL214 is that the response time is significantly cut, whilst the greater speed, manoeuvrability, service ceiling and climb rate provided by the turbofan engines makes the IL214 less vulnerable to surface to air missiles.
The disadvantage is that because of the higher fuel burn the cost of operating the IL214 is greater, a fact reflected by its shorter range.
The Russians are unlikely to see this as a significant problem because of the way they tend to use both smaller (AN26 and IL112) and bigger (IL76) aircraft more than the US does.
The US relies on the C130 Hercules as its workhorse and tends to use it in circumstances where the Russians would use either a smaller or a bigger aircraft. If the fuel burn over the whole range of aircraft the Russians use is taken into account, then the costs probably roughly balance out.
Though a thoroughly modern design the IL214 takes many of its design cues from the bigger IL76 (about which see below). Its cargo hold is dimensionally identical to that of the IL76, though halved in length.
The engines will be the new 12,500 - 15,600 kgf PD14 engine, which is now entering series production, and which I previously discussed here.
The IL214 began as a joint Indian-Russian project. Latest reports however suggest the Russians have frozen the Indians out of the project and are proceeding with the project by themselves.
Apparently the reason is arguments over the choice of engines, with the Indians wanting an entirely new clean sheet engine with full authority digital engine control (FADEC).
Developing an entirely new engine would delay the project by at least ten years and add immeasurably to the cost of the whole project. It is anyway doubtful whether the extra complication of FADEC is justified for a freight transport aircraft.
Given the project’s urgency and the fact the design is apparently almost ready for production, it is understandable the Russians have rejected the Indian objections and have chosen to press ahead with the project by themselves.
In passing, Indian insistence on introducing the most advanced possible technology to any given project - as opposed to technology that is perfectly sufficient and which is already available - is a besetting vice of Indian military projects, and is one reason for their very high cost overruns and the inordinate amount of time they take to come to fruition.
First flight of the IL214 is expected in 2017. Series production and service is expected shortly after.
Including the IL76 amongst a list of current Russian aircraft projects is open to challenge since this is not a new aircraft.
The IL76 was first conceived as long ago as 1967. It entered series production in 1974.
It is a large four turbofan aircraft aircraft which in its original form was powered by four Soloviev D30KP low bypass turbofan engines (a civilianised version of an engine originally designed for the MiG31 Mach 3 supersonic fighter).
Whereas in the US it is the C130 Hercules that is the workhorse of the US air transport fleet, in Russia that role is fulfilled by the much bigger IL76.
By general agreement the IL76 is an outstanding aircraft.
It was originally designed to carry a 40,000 kg (40 tonne) payload over a range of 5,000 km in less than six hours.
An exceptionally rugged aircraft, it can operate from short and unprepared airstrips coping with the worst climatic conditions, including those found in Russia’s Polar regions and in Siberia.
It is in all respects a far superior aircraft to the now withdrawn but in other respects comparable US C141 Starlifter, which not only lacked its ruggedness but which had a poorly designed hold, causing it to run out of space for cargo before its similar 40,000 kg (40 tonne) payload had been achieved.
It is the IL76’s combination of a large payload, exceptional ruggedness and ability to operate in the most difficult conditions, which explains its success first in the USSR and now in Russia.
In a country with a heavily overloaded railway system and with a road network that is far less dense than those of the US and Western Europe - especially so in Soviet times - the IL76 is perfectly adapted for the needs of both military and civilian users who wish to move large cargoes quickly around a vast country.
Not surprisingly, the Russians have therefore built hundreds of them.
Amongst its many roles, the IL76 has become the primary air transport of Russia’s Airborne Forces. Unusually for an aircraft of this size, it is designed for dropping men and equipment by parachute, and it is actually used in that way.
In 1967, shortly after the Arab-Israeli Six Days War, The Economist published a once famous editorial “Bears Can’t Fly”, in which it claimed the USSR’s inability to intervene effectively in the war was because of its lack of an airlift capability.
That supposedly constrained the USSR’s ability to project its power beyond its own borders, and meant that unlike the US it was not really a superpower.
When that editorial was written what it said was basically true. It was the arrival in the 1970s of the IL76 - and of the AN22 (see below) - which drastically altered the picture.
The IL76’s range of capabilities means that it has basically swept the board for this type of aircraft in export markets.
It now operates in 38 countries including the US and is the favoured air transport of the Canadian air force for ferrying equipment and supplies to the Canadian forces in Afghanistan.
Another heavy user of the IL76 is the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service, which uses the IL76 for humanitarian and relief operations especially in disaster zones.
The IL76 has also been used as the basis of more specialised aircraft.
The USSR’s - and now Russia’s - airborne warning and control (AWACS) aircraft, the Beriev A50, is a derivative of the IL76.
So is the Russian air force’s principal air refuelling tanker, the IL78, and the Russian military’s primary Airborne Command Post, the IL82.
The Russian air force has shown no interest in replacing this outstanding aircraft.
Despite political pressure, it resisted calls from the Russian government to buy the Ukrainian AN70 - an aircraft that began as an intended replacement for the AN12, but which evolved into an aircraft dimensionally smaller but with a similar range and payload to the IL76.
The Russian government wanted the Russian air force to buy the AN70 as a means of strengthening Russian-Ukrainian industrial and political relations. The Russian air force never hid its lack of enthusiasm for the Ukrainian aircraft. Following the Maidan coup, all talk of buying the AN70 has been dropped.
The major problem Russia has faced with the IL76 since the USSR broke up is that the USSR assigned production of the IL76 to a factory in Taskhent in Uzbekistan, which is now an independent country.
Relations between Russia and Uzbekistan have never sunk to the poisonous level of Russia’s relations with Ukraine. However they have not always been good, and the Tashkent factory has anyway by most accounts become run down because of lack of investment.
The Russians have from time to time been able to place further orders for more IL76s with the Tashkent factory, but understandably enough given the strategic importance of the IL76 to Russia, they were anxious to relocate at least part of its production to Russia.
This was not a straightforward process. The Tashkent factory owns the intellectual rights to the aircraft, and has possession of the original drawings, which anyway have had to be digitalised to make them suitable for modern manufacturing processes.
Following protracted negotiations, a co-production has been concluded with the Tashkent factory, and a new production line for the aircraft has been opened in Russia at the Aviastar factory in Ulyanovsk. The first Ulyanovsk built IL76 rolled out in 2014, with first deliveries to the Russian airforce in April 2015.
IL76s being produced today in Ulyanovsk are heavily modernised by comparison with the original aircraft of the 1970s.
Their electronics and control systems have been comprehensively updated, the hold has been enlarged, and the original D30KP low bypass turbofans have been replaced by much more modern and more fuel efficient PS90A-76 high bypass turbofans.
The result is that maximum payload has been increased to 60,000 kgs (60 tonnes) - a 50% increase - though the range with full load continues to be 5,000 km.
This new version of the IL76 is sometimes called the IL476, though the correct designation appears to be IL76MD-90A.
PAK-TA and Heavy Lifters
Information about the IL112, IL214 and IL(4)76 programmes is in the public domain, so it is possible to write about these programmes with confidence. That is not the case however with the programmes for newer and bigger cargo aircraft which are known to exist but about which little is known.
At the time the USSR broke up the Soviet air force was in the process of taking delivery of the giant AN124 transport, an aircraft which remains the biggest cargo carrying aircraft ever placed in series production.
The AN124 is capable of carrying an extraordinary 150,000 kg (150 tonnes) of cargo up to a range of 3,200 km, or a smaller load of cargo of 40,000 kg (40 tonnes) up to an extraordinary of 12,000 km. In 1987 a specially lightened version of the AN124 achieved a world record distance of 20,151 km without refuelling.
Like the IL76 the AN124 is designed to be capable of operating from rough or unprepared airstrips and in a wide range of climatic conditions.
The Antonov Bureau further enlarged the AN124 into the truly gigantic six engined AN225, which can carry a payload of 250 kg (250 tonnes), and which was apparently intended to support the Soviet space programme. Only one was ever built. It was mothballed for eight years after the USSR collapsed, but is now once more in service, used to carry super heavy cargoes to commercial order.
Production of the AN124 was assigned by the USSR to two factories, one in Ulyanovsk in Russia, the other in Kiev in Ukraine. At the time the USSR broke production was in full swing, with around 50 aircraft produced.
Production of the AN124 essentially ended following the USSR’s collapse. Repeated negotiations between the Russians and the Ukrainians to restart production - principally at the factory in Ulyanovsk - have got nowhere because of the political differences between the two countries.
The major bottleneck is the D18T engine, the USSR’s big high bypass turbofan engine, which powers the AN124, and whose production was assigned by the USSR to the Motor Sich factory in Zaporozhye in Ukraine.
It seems no D18Ts have been produced by Motor Sich since the 1990s, and all attempts to get production restarted have ended in failure.
In what for the Russians must be a particularly bitter blow, some Ukrainian AN124s are now actually leased by NATO for its strategic lift capability.
As with other joint programmes with Ukraine such as the AN140 and the AN70, the Maidan coup has finally provided clarification, and the project of co-producing AN124s with Ukrainian consent at the factory in Ulyanovsk has now been finally and conclusively dropped.
The decision however leaves Russia without a current super heavy air lift aircraft save for the 20 or so AN124s still in service in Russia.
Whilst these do provide Russia with a heavy lift capability (on display when AN124s were used to transport heavy equipment - including S400 missile batteries - to Russia’s Khmeimim air base in Syria) the Russians need more aircraft of this type than the limited number they have.
Besides without Ukrainian support the AN124s cannot be kept in service indefinitely anyway.
At the time it broke up the USSR also had one other ongoing heavy lift aircraft project.
This was the IL106, a project for a heavy lift aircraft that would have been capable of ferrying 80,000 kgs (80 tonnes) of cargo over a range of 5,000 km.
That would have positioned the IL106 between the IL76 and the AN124, just as the analogous US C117 Globemaster was positioned between the C141 Starlifter and the US’s super heavy air lifter, the C5 Galaxy.
The IL106 appears to have been intended as replacement for the AN22, a giant four turboprop air lifter, which was also capable of carrying payloads of up to 80,000 kg over distances of up to 5,000 km, and which when it was introduced into service in the 1960s was the world’s first wide-bodied aircraft.
The AN22 is one of the iconic aircraft of the Cold War.
The Soviets used the AN22 to send relief supplies to disaster zones, starting with the Peruvian earthquake in 1970.
More importantly, the Soviets also used the AN22 to air lift urgently needed military supplies to Egypt and Syria during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, to Angola and Ethiopia in 1975 and 1978 during the wars there, and to Afghanistan in 1979 during the initial stages of the Soviet intervention in that country.
These activities around the world gave the AN22 wide publicity, and it became a symbol of Soviet power.
The AN22 is however now an old aircraft. It first entered service in 1966. It is apparently now restricted in the number of landings it is allowed between overhauls. It is gradually being taken out of service and apparently there are now only five left and these fly very rarely.
The chaos that followed the USSR’s collapse brought the IL106 programme - the AN22’s intended replacement - to an end. In fact it never got beyond the concept change though the Ilyushin Bureau continued to pretend throughout the 1990s that it was still an active programme.
The Ilyushin Bureau did however produce a scale model which gives an idea of what it would have looked like if it had ever entered service.
The abandonment of the IL106 programme and the dropping of plans to resume production of the AN124, threaten to leave the Russians without a heavy lift capability.
The Russians have a very strong air lift capability for loads of up to 60,000 kg (60 tonnes) provided by the IL(4)76, but they now have only a small number of AN124s and AN22s capable of lifting loads beyond this, and their service life is limited.
The intervention in Syria has however shown the necessity for such a capability.
Not surprisingly the Russians therefore now have a programme to develop heavy lift aircraft in the class of the IL106 and the AN124. The military’s name for this programme is “Prospective Airborne Complex of Transport Aviation” or PAK-TA.
It seems it was authorised in 2014, with confirmation of its existence being provided to the Russian media in April 2015.
Very little known about this programme. However it is possible based on information provided by Russian officials to the media to make some educated guesses about it.
It seems that at least one part of this programme involves - unsurprisingly - reviving the IL106 project.
This was recently confirmed by Sergey Velmozhkin, the deputy head of the Ilyushin Bureau, in an interview with Rossiya 24, who apparently not only referred to the aircraft by this name but who is also reported to have said that the IL106 “….is going to be very big, weighing 80 to 100 tons…”,
These reported weights almost certainly refer to the planned payload of the aircraft rather than to its overall weight. They may suggest the revived IL106 will be able to carry heavier payloads than the 80,000 kg (80 tonne) payloads of the original 1980s concept, with a payload carrying ability of up to 100,000 kg (100 tonnes).
The revived IL106 will therefore be a different aircraft from the original 1980s design concept, as of course given the time which has lapsed is to be expected.
One particular point of difference is that the IL106 will almost certainly use a different engine from the engine which was originally planned as part of the 1980s concept.
The 1980s concept was planned around the Kuznetsov NK92 engine, a very advanced engine of unusual design which was planned to have around 20,000 kg of thrust.
The NK92 has never materialised despite protracted development so the IL106 will have to use a different engine.
Assuming that the IL106 will be a four engine aircraft - as is almost certainly the case for an aircraft of this type - the engine will almost certainly be the geared turbofan PD18R, an engine also in the 20,000 kg thrust range.
The PD18R is an expanded version of the existing PD14 engine which is now in series production. Using this engine would be conservative and risk free, reflecting the overall Russian approach.
Ilyushin officials say the preliminary plans of this aircraft will be finalised in 2017, and that the aircraft will be ready for series production around 2022-2023.
This is a very tight timescale of just 5 to 6 years from design to production. It suggests the project is being given high priority.
However it also suggests a conservative approach, drawing on research from the original IL106 programme of the 1980s, and using existing technology and engines, a fact which also strongly points to the PD18R as the likely engine.
Alongside the undoubted plan to bring the IL106 to production, there has also been a huge amount of internet chatter about a Russian plan for a supersonic aircraft supposedly capable of carrying up to 200,000 kg (200 tonnes) of cargo over a range of 7,000 km.
Allegedly the Russian military is demanding as many as 80 of these aircraft.
A technical manager of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group has produced concept drawings of what this supposed aircraft might look like, and there is a widely circulated film based on those drawings which has attracted a huge amount of attention, and which can be easily found on YouTube.
These pictures show a futuristic looking aircraft that would not look out of place in a science fiction film.
They have attracted much ridicule from critics who seem unaware that they are the product of a single individual’s imagination rather than pictures of a genuine state spoaircraft concept.
Is there any truth to these stories?
The source who supposedly leaked the information about this programme claims to have been “shocked by the demands of the military”, which strongly suggests someone out to make mischief. That is a good reason for doubting the stories are true, especially as they have received no corroboration from any other official Russian source.
Though the ability to carry a 200,000 kg (200 tonne) payload over 7,000 km would indeed add a formidable capability, the tactical advantage to be gained from supersonic flight - which could only save some hours in what would already be a very rapid aerial deployment even if made using conventional subsonic aircraft - is not at all obvious.
On the face of it a supersonic capability would add little of value, whilst adding astronomically to the cost and complexity of the project, making it practically inconceivable that the Russians are considering it.
What is far more likely is that the Russians are planning a heavy lift transport aircraft in the class of the AN124 - for which they have a real need. It is a virtual certainty however that it does not have a supersonic capability.
If the source who leaked the story about the supersonic transport has pro-Ukrainian sympathies - and there are known to be such people on the liberal side of the Russian elite - then that might explain it.
He might have been deliberately spreading disinformation about an AN124 replacement project, hoping to stir up an outcry during a time of budget cuts against supposed reckless over-spending by the military in order to stop development of what would be a formidable competitor to the Ukrainian AN124.
Do we however actually have any information of a project for an AN124 replacement?
No Russian official has confirmed this publicly. However hints to that effect have been provided anonymously, as for example in this report, which says
“A whole family of military transport aircraft, ranging from medium to heavy, is to be designed as part of the Prospective Airborne Complex of Transport Aviation (PAK TA) project, a military source has told the Russian online publication lenta.ru”
This confirms that more than one aircraft is being developed, and though the rest of the report is confused it seems the Ilyushin Bureau calls the project “Project Yermak”.
One of these aircraft is the IL106 discussed above, almost certainly using PD18R engines. The fact the military source is supposed to have said the various new aircraft would be a “family”, also suggests they are all closely related to each other.
That suggests the AN124 replacement will be an enlarged version of the IL106, almost certainly using the new Russian big engine, which is now confirmed to be the PD30, which I discussed previously here.
Since the PD30 is believed to be rather more powerful than the Ukrainian D18T which powers the AN124, its suitability for an AN124 replacement based on the IL106 is obvious.
An enlarged IL106 derivative with four PD30 engines in the class of the AN124 would probably have roughly the same range (5,000 km) and payload (150,000 kg (150 tonnes)) as the AN124.
Talk of an aircraft capable of carrying loads of up to 200,000 kg (200 tonnes) over 7,000 km distances suggests that there may however also be plans for an even bigger aircraft, possibly using six PD30 engines instead of four or - more probably - four new engines expanded from and with higher ratings than the basic PD30.
There would then be three closely related aircraft of different sizes extending from the basic 80-100,000 kg (100 tonne) payload carrying IL106 all the way up the super heavy lifter capable of carrying 200,000 kg (200 tonnes).
That would correspond exactly to the “whole family of military transport aircraft ranging from medium to heavy” whose existence the ‘military source” is supposed to have confirmed to lenta.ru (see above).
Using the same basic aircraft concept to develop a family of different aircraft in different size and weight categories is hardly new. It was done for example by the Antonov Bureau when they expanded the AN124 to create the outsized AN225.
If this is the course the Russians are following - and all the indications suggest it is - then they will however have to do it in a far more sophisticated way. An aircraft capable of carrying a payload of 100,000 kg (100 tonnes) cannot be simply stretched to make an aircraft able to carry twice the payload, even if it is given more powerful engines.
What is probably happening is that the various aircraft are being developed in parallel with each other, drawing on shared concepts and components, along the lines of the “modular” approach Rogozin discussed with Putin during their meeting to discuss aircraft engine development, which I discussed here.
The plan seems to be to have all of these aircraft in production by the mid 2020s, which given the conservative approach taken and the shared characteristics of the aircraft, may be possible.
The figure of 80 of supersonic aircraft supposedly wanted by the military, probably quotes correctly the total number of all of these types of aircraft that have been ordered for the first batch.
After a long dark period Russia’s air transport fleet is on the brink of a dramatic revival.
The plan can be summarised as follows:
Aircraft Payload Aircraft Replaced
IL112 6,000 kg AN26
IL214 20,000 kg AN12
IL(4)76 60,000 kg IL76
IL106 80-100,000 kg AN22
(large aircraft) 150,000 kg AN124
(very large aircraft) 200.000 kg AN225
Many of these aircraft are closely related to each other or to other aircraft that are also in the process of being produced.
The IL112 is closely related and uses the same Klimov engines as the IL114 turboprop airliner, which is due to re-enter production in 2019.
The IL214 borrows design cues from the IL76 - the aircraft on which the IL(4)76 is based - and has a hold that is dimensionally identical to that of the IL(4)76 though of only half the length.
The IL214, IL(4)76 and IL106 use the same or similar engines.
Not only is the PS90A engine used by the IL(4)76 closely related to the PD14 engine used by the IL214, but the IL(4)76 will itself probably convert to the PD14 before long. The PD18R - which will almost certainly be the engine that will power the IL106 - is derived from the PD14.
Lastly, the various aircraft that will form the family being developed under “Project Yermak” - including the IL106 - will be based on the same concept and will share engines, components and systems with each other
By taking this conservative approach, reviving old projects with new technology, drawing on what has been already achieved, seeking commonality between aircraft wherever possible, the Russians are moving methodically towards achieving a strategic lift capability by the mid 2020s of a sort possessed by no other power except the US, and covering the whole range of cargo aircraft from the light to the super heavy.
Moreover not only are the new planned aircraft efficient and modern in ways that not all their Soviet predecessors were, but by sharing common design elements and components they should achieve substantial economies of scale, reducing their cost, simplifying their production and making their maintenance easier.
These aircraft will not just have a military application. Many of them will have important economic uses within Russia’s economy, and they should also be very competitive in export markets.
Taken together, the whole development programme for these aircraft should be a force multiplier, both for Russia’s military and for its civilian economy.
Post by TsarSamuil on Apr 24, 2016 12:15:13 GMT -5
Russian Space-Age Stealth Bomber to Hit the Skies With Hypersonic Weapons.
Sputnik RUSSIA 12:49 20.04.2016
Russia is pressing ahead with plans to develop its new PAK-DA stealth bomber, which is on par with its US analogues and will carry an array of modern weapons, including hypersonic missiles.
The PAK-DA, which is being developed by Tupolev, is expected to be a subsonic flying-wing aircraft that is roughly analogous to the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit and the US Air Force’s forthcoming Long Range Strike-Bomber, National Interest wrote.
The PAK-DA is likely to feature many of the technologies that are expected to be incorporated into the new Tu-160M2 version.
In a break from previous Russian and Soviet bombers, which focused on using a combination of speed and long-range cruise missiles to deliver their payloads, the PAK-DA is the first Russian bomber optimized for stealth.
That said, the PAK-DA will probably not be a small aircraft, close in size to a Boeing 757.
It is expected to have a range of 6,740 nautical miles. It will also be able to carry 30 tons of weapons.
PAK-DA will serve as a launch platform for long-range nuclear and conventional cruise missiles and a host of precision-guided munitions. It might also eventually be armed with hypersonic missiles, National Interest wrote.
The new bomber is expected to make its first flight sometime before 2021, with the first deliveries starting in 2023.
The PAK-DA will be a unique project in the history of Russian aviation since it will be a "flying wing" aircraft, a design never used before by Russian engineers. It will fly at subsonic speeds and the large wingspan and design features will provide the jet with reduced visibility to radar.
“This is a fundamentally new plane with a new sighting and navigation system. This plane will be equipped with the latest communication systems and electronic warfare, and will have little visibility to radar,” Long-Range Aviation Commander Lt.-Gen. Anatoly Zhuravlev said.
The PAK-DA project was launched in 2009. The military intended to receive a single type of long-range bomber to replace the current Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3.
Last Edit: Apr 24, 2016 12:15:26 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
New Russian Bomber to Be Able to Launch Nuclear Attacks From Outer Space.
Sputnik MILITARY & INTELLIGENCE 17:07 13.07.2016
The Russian Strategic Missile Forces Academy is developing a hypersonic strategic bomber capable of striking with nuclear warheads from outer space, Lt. Col. Aleksei Solodovnikov told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
A trial model of Russia's nuclear-capable outer space strategic bomber will be developed by 2020, according to its developer.
Russian commander of the Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), Colonel General Sergei Karakayev, had earlier reported that the Russian Strategic Missile Forces Academy has already developed and tested an engine for the experimental aircraft.
The engine is expected to be showcased at the Army-2016 International Military Technology Forum, which is set to take place on September 6-11 in the Moscow Region.
“The idea is that the bomber will take off from a normal home airfield to patrol Russian airspace. Upon command it will ascend into outer space, strike a target with nuclear warheads and then return to its home base,” Solodovnikov told RIA Novosti.
He added that the jet will be very capable and will need only one-two hours to reach any place on Earth through outer space.
“We are cooperating with Russia’s Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute on the design of an airframe and the aircraft's characteristics. I think that its lift-off mass must be 20-25 metric tons for it to be a strike aircraft. It will [be able to accelerate to] hypersonic speed in rocket mode," he added.
Last Edit: Jul 16, 2016 6:41:52 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 23, 2016 13:48:06 GMT -5
Radar for Russia’s next-gen A-100 AWACS to be flight-tested next March – report.
RT.com 22 Aug, 2016 11:32
Russia’s brand new ‘flying radar’, reportedly capable of detecting enemy targets at ranges of more than 600km, will be flight-tested next March. The A-100 Premier will make her maiden flight by 2018, a defense source told Russian media.
The Beriev A-100 is an airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft currently being developed by Russia, an upgrade of the A-50. The long-awaited addition to the Russian Air Force has already been verified on the ground and are ready for in-flight equipment trials, the source told Izvestia newspaper.
“At the moment, all deadlines have been set up and agreed with the military industry,” the source said.
An older Il-76 version, the MD-90A aircraft – codenamed A-100LL during the flight tests – would be first used as a “flying laboratory” to stress-test all systems in the air. The trial is scheduled for March 2017, the source said.
Once the flight tests are complete, the newest variant of the aircraft called Il-476, which was designated for the new ‘flying radar’, will accommodate the avionics and radar systems, including its distinctive rotating radar dome above the fuselage.
“If everything goes as planned, the ‘original’ A-100 will make the maiden flight in 2018,” the source said.
Most specifications of the A-100 are classified. The AWACS aircraft is expected to feature a new Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) designed by ‘Vega’ corporation. It is said to be capable of detecting enemy aircraft at ranges of up to 600km (373 miles) and warships at ranges of around 400km (249 miles).
The aircraft is also said to have advanced signal intelligence for greater independence and electronic warfare capabilities for protection. An A-100 reportedly may be used as a fully-fledged flying HQ for the military.
Aircraft of this type are critical to ensure air superiority and improve situation awareness for military commanders in a dynamic combat environment. Long-range AWACS aircraft are operated by only a few countries, including Russia, the US, China and the UK.
The older A-50 ‘Mainstay’ AWACS planes have been in use in the Russian Air Force since mid-1980s. As part of an ongoing re-armament and modernization effort, the Russian Air Force has received several A-50U, an upgraded version of the ‘Mainstay,’ throughout recent years.
Along with extended airspace monitoring capabilities, the A-50U aircraft are said to have sophisticated digital avionics which save more space for crews and improve their in-flight performance.
White Cossack: I wouldn't be surprised. Democrats stand die interracial cuckoldry and LGBTetc rights, so Russia ist their main enemy.
Dec 28, 2020 17:31:32 GMT -5
White Cossack: stand FOR
Dec 28, 2020 17:32:30 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: Mega Threads
Dec 29, 2020 16:48:41 GMT -5
White Cossack: What d' yer mean?
Jan 1, 2021 9:46:52 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: oh, i'm merging threads together, was 316 pages, impossible to navigate..
Jan 2, 2021 21:20:59 GMT -5
Slavislav: Well,seems this place is on it's last legs.
Feb 25, 2021 3:15:05 GMT -5
White Cossack: Slavija will live forever.
Feb 27, 2021 17:18:22 GMT -5
ZlatkoLukic: Putin reminds me of Tito. A great leader, nur he should not forget that there will also bei a time after him.
Mar 14, 2021 16:35:38 GMT -5
ZlatkoLukic: Who will rule Russia then?
Mar 14, 2021 16:36:47 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: sergei lavrov i would guess
Mar 14, 2021 18:48:43 GMT -5
ZlatkoLukic: Lavrov is older than RasPutin.
Mar 15, 2021 15:36:02 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: not a fan of Lavrov, but do you trust anyone young? I like Viktor Orban, but he was educated in Soros college, he is one that turned against his teachings...who knows what nonsense since fall of USSR young Russians have taken in? Look at Serbia
Mar 18, 2021 14:59:57 GMT -5
TsarSamuil: again n again Serbia elected 'nationalists' that turned out to be Washington puppets..look at Serbia's president n prime minister...we need men with history of serving the motherland, lets not gamble.
Mar 18, 2021 15:01:20 GMT -5
White Cossack: It seems the USA push for war in U-Krajina.
Apr 2, 2021 9:22:55 GMT -5