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Catapults for ATAKR "Ulyanovsk"

The first catapults for the launch of naval aircraft appeared on Soviet ships even before the war. The experience of using them turned out to be short-lived and unclaimed. When in the 70s people started talking about the construction of aircraft carriers, the fear syndrome before the catapult, as something unexplored and inaccessible, remained. And yet, the catapult (officially it was called an accelerating device) was made for testing the aerofiners, having installed it by 1986 at the ground test site "Nitka" (the free name of 23 NIUTK, and which then took root). This landfill with a steel airfield in the form of a ship deck was built in the Crimea, at the Novo-Fedorovka airfield, which the Germans made during the war for the bombing of Sevastopol. In the summer of 1982, "Nitke" conducted flight tests of Su-27 and MiG-29 on the T1 trampoline (angle 8.5 ).

In 1985, the aircraft of the usual scheme began to take off from the steeper T2 (angle of 14 ), adopted for the TAKR project to land already with braking on the air finishers. The accelerating device (as well as the aerofinisher) designed and manufactured the Proletarsky Plant, having worked out the main questions of principle on the mock-up at a scale of 1:10. In the middle of 1983, the production of a full-scale sample was started for installation on the landfill. It was a slit cylinder with a length of 90 m, with a slot sealing system and external heating.

Working steam to the cylinder came from the power unit located in the boiler room. Cooling water for condensers was fed through a pipe with a diameter of 1.5 m. The initial tests were carried out by loaders weighing 14-27 tons, which were accelerated to a speed of 180-250 km / h. The force of the push was significant at the same time - once the loader carriage did not grab the cable of the aerofinisher and rushed for 2.5 kilometers (!) Across the field. There were several characteristic accidents - the catapult shuttle cut off the hitch with the truck and went unloaded at a speed of about 400 km / h, destroying the nasal brake sections of the catapult cylinders. Then there was no water on the brake section and a dry blow led to the destruction of the shuttle pistons and brake sections.

On August 7, 1986, the first idle catapult launches were carried out, on August 29 - with a trolley. During the tests, all the systems were tested, weight and speed were calibrated, all the required characteristics meeting the technical specification were achieved. Aerofinery and emergency barrier were put on interdepartmental tests, which were completed in 1988, then they were sent to TAKR "Tbilisi". On the "Tbilisi" from the installation refused, and the catapult went to ATAKR "Ulyanovsk."

The basis of the aerofinisher [arrester in American parlance] is a braking machine weighing about 100 tons and dimensions of 18 x 2 x 1.5 m. The machine operates on the principle of volumetric displacement of hydraulic fluid from the brake cylinder (diameter of 495 mm and a length of about 6 m), through the control valve into the accumulator. Before landing, the cables (there are only 4 of them and they are located 13 meters one after another) are pushed by the lifting system above the deck by 300 mm. During landing, the aircraft grasps the tension cable stretched across the receiving cable (it is desirable to take the second cable from the stern) and, following the inertia of 80-90 m, pulls out the branches of the brake cables, which drive the piston rod through the chain. Thus, by maintaining, through the control valve, the required oil pressure in the hydraulic cylinder, the braking machine provides for about 2 seconds a stop of the aircraft with an overload of 4.5 g.

Each receiving cable has its own car, the last of them, if necessary, is joined by an emergency barrier, the principle and task of which are the same - to stop the aircraft. After stopping the aircraft, the working fluid is cooled and pumped back. In the domestic shipbuilding industry, the parameters of the take-off and landing system mechanisms had no analogues in terms of the speed of the process and the developed pressure in the hydraulic cylinders. In the case of overflow during the braking of the aircraft, oil is heated to 110 degrees in two seconds!

Project 1143. 7 originally proposed three catapults. During the consideration and approval of the drawings, the debate continued: aircraft designers argued that the catapults would worsen the performance of the aircraft, would increase the accident rate, explode themselves, and freeze in the North. Gradually, the engineering staff of the ChSZ began to lean towards this - only the sailors and designers did not agree, knowing full well that a horizontal forced start would increase the combat load of aircraft, expand the range of use of naval aviation by wind characteristics, make it possible to start even with a keel and quite strong rolling, Will ease the state of health of pilots during take-off without a sharp jump.

Unfortunately, the catapult on the "Nitka" has never been used to take off the real aircraft, although they have been repeatedly accelerated to develop the hook. It was planned to test the catapult and the airplane on project 1143.6 ("Varyag"), but these plans were not implemented. The perestroika was in full swing and the catapult went down in history without showing its advantages and disadvantages. Probably right was the USSR Commander-in-Chief S.G. Gorshkov, when he said: "If we do not put a catapult on the Seven, history will not forgive us for this."





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