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Beriev P-42 AEW

In the middle of the 1970s the Soviet Union had a number of OKBs develop designs for carrier-based aircraft under the general program name Typhoon. The Soviet Naval fleet had undertaen a new task of developing an oceanic Soviet fleet. This began with building atomic rocket cruisers and aircraft-carrying ships. Because Soviet military doctrine bore a "defensive" nature, aircraft carriers in the USSR modestly named "heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser" [Tyazholyi Avianesushyi Kreyser - TAKR]. Nevertheless, TAKR of the "Tbilisi" class (now an only ship of this type in the Russian fleet - Admiral N.G.Kuznetsov) was already a valuable aircraft carrier, in contrast to the ships of the type "Moskva" or "Kiev" classes. For the accomplishment of the missions confronting ships of this class, helicopters and aircraft of the type Yak-38 were already clearly insufficient.

The study of combat experience and technical and operational indices of American impact carrier-based aircraft and support aircraft, their combat employment, including of aircraft of antisubmarine defense (PLO), radar surveillance ([RLD]) and electroninc warfare (REB), showed that subsonic aircraft with a long range, intended for actions against ground-based and waterborne targets, composed the basis of the impact forces of the fleet of the US. It was obvious that the presence on board the TAKR of several original types of combat aircraft substantially complicated and raised the price of the combat employment of aviation impact means, their operation and logistic support.

Two projects were developed in response: the aircraft "Typhoon" of chief designer V.A.Korchagin, more well-known as chief designer of Yamal amphibian aircraft, and the P-42 of OKB G.M.Beriev. The later aircraft should not be confused with the better known Sukhoi aircraft P-42, a record setting sample Su-27, which in 1986-1988 is set 27 world records for climb and the altitude of horizontal flight.

In 1968 the Neva Planning and Design bureau [NPKB] began the studies of the appearance of promising aircraft carrier (project 1160 Orel) with catapult takeoff of aircraft. First in the composition of the air armament of this aircraft carrier were included multipurpose fighters with the variable sweepback of wing MiG-23A ("sea made" version of MiG-23ML), subsonic aircraft of antisubmarine defense (PLO) P-42, ship supersonic impact aircraft with the variable sweepback of wing Su-24K and carrier-based helicopter KA-252.

However, in 1972. in the preliminary design of aircraft carrier appeared several ship versions of new tactical fighter Su-27. Now the aviation group of the aircraft carrier would consist of 12 fighters [one of the ship versions Su-27 - Su-27K or Su-29K], 12 attack aircraft Su-28K, four intelligence target indicators Su-28KRT, six P-42 ASW aircraft, four aircraft P-42 of the RLDN version and eight KA-252 ASW helicopters.

The subsonic antisubmarine aircraft P-42 project of OKB im. G.M. Beriev was developed according to the resolution of the Commissionfor Military Industrial Questions [VPK] of the Council of Ministers of USSR of 1971. According to the overall design, the P-42 was very similar to the American carrier-based antisubmarine aircraft S-3 Viking: high wing monoplane with the wing of the moderate sweepback, the trapeziform classical tail assembly with the elevators and direction even two D-36 TRDD (turbofan engine) in the nacelles under the wing. The aircraft had to take off from the ship with a catapult and land with the use of an arresting gear. Places were added to the outer plane of the wing and tail [termed keel in Russian] of the P-42 for the savings space during the storage on the deck and in the hangar of the aircraft carrier. On the base of the basic version was planned also the development of several modifications: tanker aircraft, carrier-based RLDN aircraft, search and rescue, and transport. They finished the preliminary design of aircraft P-42 in 1972 ; and the flight tests by the first experiment aircraft waad to begin in 1976.

The first priority was the antisubmarine aircraft, and the creation of the RLDN version was put aside. But without the control of military operations the fighters of the air group of the Project 1160 ship could not effectively ensure the PVO (Air Defense) of the ship in connection with the other basic tasks of the Soviet aircraft carrier.

In the spring of 1976, on the basis of the studies executed by NPKB, the government adopted the decision about the design in 1976-1977 and the building by 1985 of two atomic aircraft-carrying ships of Project 1153. In concept and in practice this new design did not differ from the Project 1160, but the air group was reduced from 60-70 to 50 flight vehicles.

The Typhoon complex of carrier-based aviation included 6 modifications of aircraft, built on two basic configurations of airframe and power plant. The following aircraft are built on the basis of the first configuration: tactical attack aircraft; the aircraft of electroninc warfare (REB); tanker aircraft. On the basis of the second configuration: the aircraft of antisubmarine defense (PLO); the radar picket aircraft and control ([URLD]); light transport aircraft. The second airframe modification was characterized by a larger wing of smaller sweepback and increased middle and aft fuselage sections due to an increase in their upper sections.

The aircraft of complex Typhoon was a midwing monoplane with the sweptback wing and the cross-shaped tail assembly. In the first configuration the wing had a span of 16 meters and a sweepback on the leading edge 27 degrees, in the second version - a span of 19 meters and a sweepback of 20 degrees. The tail assembly wa arrow-shaped of cross-shaped form, analogous for all modifications of aircraft. The forward fuselage with the flight deck, landing gear and tail assembly were standardized for both modifications. Expediency and possibility of this approach was based on the results of the analysis of close prototypes, which showed that all versions can be executed on the aircraft with a takeoff weight of 22-24 T.

The power plant consists of two TRDD of modular construction with a rated thrust of 4500 kG. Engines are located in two external nacelles on the pylons above the aft fuselage section after the wing. In the first configuration the engines with the smaller bypass ratio are used. Engines with a larger bypass ratio, which ensure long range and time of patrolling were used on the aircraft of the second modification.

The carrier-based ground attack aircraft is intended for inflicting of an impact on the accumulations of personnel and technology, the separate strong points, the tanks and other moving targets, RLS, bridges and other units on dry land, and also along the surface ships and the vessels in the open sea. The combat load can be placed in the weapon bay and on 6 underwing pylons. The dimensions of the bomb bay are selected from the condition of positioning the aerial torpedos. Internal and end pylons are calculated for the combat load 1500-1600 kgf and are intended for type X-15 missiles. The average pylons, located in front of the nacelles of chassis, for positioning the armament with weight to 700 kg. For the defense from the fighters of enemy and for dealing with the low altitude and low-speed aerial targets aircraft can be equipped with air-to-air missiles. In the forward fuselage, to the left under the pilot's cab, is established the gun of the caliber of 37 mm.

The aircraft of electroninc warfare (REB) is intended for creating the active jamming with the operation of radars and means of the connection of enemy in the zone of the military operations of the aircraft of aircraft carrier for the purpose of the guarantee of fulfillment by them of combat mission. The equipment of aircraft does not provide for the retention of the possibility of the attack of ground targets, but it makes it possible to establish air-to-air missiles for the independent defense from the fighters of enemy. Onboard complex REB makes it possible to simultaneously completely choke work not less than 5 RLS of different designation. Crew consists of pilot and three operators of the systems of electronic opposition.

Tanker aircraft is intended for in-flight refueling of any aircraft, which are been based on aircraft carrier or participating in the joint combat operations. Aircraft is built during the first modification of glider, power plant and main onboard systems. Crew - two people: aircraft commander and the second pilot- navigator, who fulfills the functions of the operator of the systems of servicing.

Designation of carrier-based antisubmarine aircraft: search and the destruction of submarines from the position of a constant combat patrolling of the escort of the ships of aircraft carrier upon transfers also in the combat operations. Into the composition of search equipment enters the sono system, capable of determining drift and coordinates of buoys without the flight above them. As the duplicating systems is used by RLS of forward half sphere, magnetometric station, IR- system and systems of passive electronic reconnaissance.

Designation of the aircraft of operational control and of radar surveillance ([URLD]): long-range detection and the classification of the aerial targets above the sea and dry land; the guarantee of radio relay communication between the combat aircraft, with the aircraft carrier and ground-based KP; operational control and the guidance of impact aircraft and fighter-interceptors; the guidance of combat aircraft to the aircraft to dispensers; the identification of warships; the coordination of relief operations. The total weight of URLD equipment composes about 2500-3000 kg. The aircraft it is built during the second modification of airframe and power plant. Originally for the URLD aircraft the radar antenna were in the nose fairing and the extremity of the aft fuselage section. Analogous Cassegrain antennas were used in the English Nimrod aircraft. In contrast to the application of one revolving antenna of large diameter in the disk above the fuselage, this decreased to the minimum influence on the stability parameters and aircraft handling and makes it possible not to develop third modification of the airframe. The layout of aircraft in principle did not differ from the layout of antisubmarine aircraft.

Carrier-based light transport aircraft ([PLTS]) is intended for the urgent delivery of personnel and loads to the aircraft carrier from the coastal bases and vice versa, the urgent evacuation of patients and injured from the ship, and also for the parachute landing of small reconnaissance- diversionary groups with the light weapon. Aircraft is built during the second modification of glider and power plant. In the cargo hold there is cargo floor with the devices for fastening of loads, hinged seats of passengers and rails of attached telpher by the load capacity of 1000[kg]. Entrance into the cargo hold - through the cargo hatch in the left side of the fuselage before the wing. In the tail end of cargo hold is a detectable hatchway for the parachute landing.

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