Izdeliye-117 / AL-41F1 engine
The epic of the creation of the engine for the fifth generation aircraft is very similar to the history of the PAK FA itself. As early as 1982, the development of the promising engine for the heavy fighter of the 1990s (I-90 theme) was started in the USSR. Development began in 1986, and first examples of the engine were flown on testbed aircraft in the late 1980s.
Then, as part of the multifunctional front-line fighter program, the OKB Mikoyan launched work on the topic 1.42, under which the demonstrator aircraft 1.44 appeared. The engine itself, known as the AL-41F, was created and tested. A total of 28 motors were manufactured. Flight tests resumed in February 2000 on the RSK MiG 1.44 technology demonstrator. After the termination of the MFI program, under which the demonstrator 1.44 even performed two flights on regular engines, work on the AL-41F was also stopped.
NPO Saturn unveiled its AL-41F1 engine for fifth generation fighters at the MAKS 2001 Moscow air show in mid-August 2001. The F1 is the smallest AL-41 family member and has mounting points similar to those of the company's AL-31F, which would allow the new powerplant to be retrofitted to Sukhoi's Su-27 family. The program to create a Russian fighter of the fifth generation was re-launched with a different technical task. The AL-41 engine for the newly designed PAK FA turned out to be too big, so NPO Saturn and UMPO invested about 3 billion rubles of their own funds in the development of the new engine, which received the designation "product 117". The basis was taken well-proven AL-31F, which received some of the elements and technology, worked on the AL-41F. Representatives of "Saturn" said that for the product 117 a new fan was designed for increased air flow, a combustion chamber, a low-pressure turbine with respect to the AL-31F, and a digital engine control system was used. The distribution of work on the engine is as follows: NPO Saturn took for itself an external circuit: a low-pressure compressor, a low-pressure turbine, and an assembly; and the UMPO worked on a high-pressure compressor, a combustion chamber, a high-pressure turbine, an afterburner, and a nozzle. Other organizations participated in the project. As a result of the modernization of the engine in the afterburner reached 15 tons.
It was decided by the customer of the fighter (Russian Air Force) that the so-called “prototype” of the PAK FA will fly on the “product 117”, and for the “full version” it is necessary to design a completely new engine. NPO Saturn and FSUE Salyut began to fight for the right to be its lead developer. The summing up of the tender for the choice of the general designer of the engine for the PAK FA was repeatedly postponed,
Mikhail Pogosyan, the head of the Sukhoi chemical plant, said that "the engines of the first stage are not intermediate engines, these are the engines with which the aircraft will begin operation in the armed forces of our country and our potential customers." "The plane took off with a fundamentally new engine, which was designed specifically for this aircraft," he explained, stressing that "this modern development allows the aircraft to operate for a long time." As for the next engine, M. Pogosyan noted, "the timeline for its implementation requires clarification, it is necessary to clarify the scope of work and sources of funding."
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