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Tupolev TU-156

The Tu-126, with the complex "liana", could satisfy the requirements of the fight with aerial targets in the second-half of the 1960's, with the the aircraft of the NATO alliance countries strike aviation to operations at the small and supersmall heights. One of the essential deficiencies in the complex "liana" was its incapacity to isolate the low altitude targets against the background of the earth. The special trainings of the crews of the Tu-126 made it possible to reduce the flight altitudes of the aircraft, from which the complex could "illuminate" by its radar from below. However, this was only a partial solution. No training of crews could raise Tu-126 to the level of the requirements on the fight with the aerial targets, advanced in the 1970's.

The Soviet air defense system required a new complex, capable of tracking low altitude targets against the background of the earth. Thus, already up to the moment of developing the Tu-126 complex, in light of the new requirements, it began gradually to grow antiquated. Taking into account the situation in the second-half of the 1960's, the USSR began scientific design work on the creation of a new aviation complex of the long-range radio-location [radilokatsionnogo] patrol, capable of effectively working on low altitude purposes.

The design was started on a new "bumblebee" radio-location complex with a radar of distant observation, with the antenna system "mushroom", analogous to that adapted on the Tu-126. The complex had to ensure detection and data processing about the high-speed unobtrusive purposes, which fly at a distance to 200 km in the lower hemisphere and to 500-600 km in the upper. In 1969 work started on the government solution beginning of the development of a new carrier aircraft under the "bumblebee" complex. The demand of servicemen on the use of one of the series-production heavy machines as base aircraft became one of the conditions, which determined the direction of the forthcoming work. [MMZ] "experience", as from the middle of the 60's began to be called the experimental plant of #156, and OKB A.N. Tupolev on the basis the government solution was connected to the works on the creation of a promising new DRLO aircraft.

In 1970 is prepared preliminary design on this theme, which received the OKB designation aircraft "156". In the preliminary design for the DRLO aircraft examined the use of several machines under development at OKB-156. Designers studied the possibility of using as the base machines for the complex "bumblebee" of series Tu-142[M], Tu-154 and Tu-126. The first they rejected because of the complexity of the normal arrangement of equipment of the "bumblebee" complex on the aircraft because of the small diameter and the volume of fuselage. But the VVS insisted precisely on Tu-142[M], which repeated the history with the initial selection Tu-95 for Tu-126. The Tu-154 required essential alterations, furthermore, it had comparatively small duration of flight. Aanalysis showed, that of Tupolev's machines for this purpose, in spite of a number of negative special features, the Tu-126 was most appropriate. However, in 1968 the production of the aircraft was ended, and entire production line was dismantled. Therefore all reasonings around it bore purely "academic" nature.

The analysis of carrier aircraft of complex "bumblebee" in this case gave source material for designing the new aircraft. In the consequence under the complex "bumblebee", Tupolev prepared the preliminary design of the new carrier "156" with four D-30[Kp] engines , close in overall design to American E-3A. As the base in this project adapted entirely the Tu-126. Differences on the fuselage and the equipment were reduced to the following. Because of the need of guaranteeing the normal aperture in the lower hemisphere the fairing about "mushroom" was established doubly on the higher pylon. An increase in the volume of the installed equipment required an increase in altitude of forward fuselage section in the region of the first section - on one of the alternative designs came out specific hump according to the type of the Boeing 747. For the survey of forward half sphere in the nose section of the aircraft the "barrier" RLS was placed with the phased antenna array, and in the system of defensive armament were included the controlled air-to-air missiles, developed for the interceptor E-155[Mp] (MiG-31).

Under the effect of "Vietnam syndrome" it was decided to return to the stern remote gun turret (30-millimeter gun [TKB]-635 and fire-control radar of the type "helium". Navigation and pilotage equipment renewed, the new, more effective communication system with the control centers, the fighters PVO (Air Defense) and the ships was established, were introduced the new systems of passive [RTR], new systems RAP and so forth.

However, so radical a proposal was not accepted - the customer insisted on the use of a production aircraft, in particular, Il-76. In this situation maximum, what fell to the lot Tu-126, to become a testbed for finalizing of the elements of complex "bumblebee". One of the machines was transmitted in OKB G.M. Berieva in Taganrog, where under the management A.K. Konstantinov on the base of Il'yushin machine occurred the creation of the aircraft [DRLO] of the new generation - A-50.




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