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Tu-104 Camel - Background

In the end of 1953, the Design Bureaus leaders, headed by A.N. Tupolev, basing on the positive experience of developing, testing and beginning of serial production of Tu-16, proposed the idea of creating jet passenger aircraft on its basis to the leadership of the country. Soon, Tupolev made a report to the Central Committee of the Communist Party on the proposal. The report focused the attention of the country's leadership on the benefits of the modification approach to the design of the first domestic passenger plane.

The following features concerning aircraft operation were noted: a high cruising speed (three times more than that of Li-2 and IL-12 Aeroflots main passenger airplanes of the period); the capability of flying at high altitudes without turbulence; high carrying capacity and passenger capacity, while providing high comfort. For the first time in the USSR, the issue was a creation of a large-production civil aircraft of "liner" class for the CAF that could make high-speed air transport a mass means of transportation.

Andrey N. Tupolev and his colleagues managed to prove to the leadership of the country, industry and the CAF, the capability of providing affordable economic performance of jet liners, even taking into account the sharp increase of fuel costs after implementation of these airplanes. According to the assessments performed in the Bureau, in conditions of the USSR, in case of the introduction of jet airliners, for improving the efficiency of the transport system it was necessary to extend the life time of these airplanes up to 25,000-30,000 flight hours, instead of 10,000 hours for piston-engined aircraft; increase payload, by building airplanes for 50-100 or more passengers; increase cruise speed up to 750-800 km/h.

According to the opinion of the Bureaus leadership, creation of passenger jet by modifying Tu-16 long-range jet bomber, mastered in production and operation, would give significant economic benefits. In this case, the experience of building, finishing and maintenance of military prototype was used completely, that provided high reliability and operational safety, so important for passenger aircraft. The cost of implementation of the aircraft into batch production was significantly reduced too, thereby reducing the cost of the aircraft and increasing its economic characteristics.

The problem of training pilots and ground crews for the new passenger aircraft was facilitated through the use of specialists trained in the Air Force on the airplanes with design, flight and operational characteristics close to those of the passenger jets. This concept, in relation to passenger jet, was a continuation and development of the ideas accepted by the Bureau during the 20s-40s, that had been formed during the design and construction of a series of piston-engined passenger and cargo aircraft. The most remarkable was wide structural unification of ANT-9 (PS-9) and ANT-14 "Pravda" passenger airplanes with ANT-4 (TB-1), ANT-6 (TB-3) bombers and ANT-7 (R-6) multi-purpose aircraft, as well as designing ANT-20 "Maxim Gorkiy" and ANT-28 passenger "giants" on the basis of the layout and design solutions of a series of super heavy bombers ANT-16 (TB-4) and ANT-26 (TB-6).

In the second half of the 1940s, during the successful implementation of Tu-4 into batch production, the Bureau of A.N. Tupolev has prepared a deep modification of this long-range bomber - Tu-70 passenger liner and Tu-75 cargo airplane, which successfully passed the cycle of tests and developments, but were not accepted for mass production and operation due to lack of necessary facilities for their production, and what was more important, due to the fact that the USSRs market of aviation services and operators were not ready for switching to the modern airplanes.




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