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Tu-2000 Air-Cosmic Plane (VKS)

The history of the Tu-2000 began in the 1970s. Unlike the "Mikoyan" design, the Tupolev ASTC progressed much further in the case of a favorable combination of circumstances in the world's first Air-Cosmic Plane (VKS - Vozdushno-Kosmicheskom Samolyete) could appear by 2000. When the OKB-156, partly on its own initiative, has started to develop Air-Cosmic Plane for the needs of the army with a launch weight of 300 tons. Several projects have been suggested, including a rather original. Thus, the possibility of using rocket engine on the fuel elements, nuclear power plant, and the installation of plasma or ion thrusters. Projects considered interesting, but to implement them not in a hurry - in those years, the military gave preference to missile systems.

The catalyst for the process of development of the Soviet Air-Cosmic Plane was the emergence of "Space Shuttle". After 1981 the work in this direction sharply intensified, and after three years of OKB-156 launched a number of specific technical proposals for the creation of aerospace systems based on single-stage orbital plane. As the power plant proposed to use engines based on LRE. Start could made ??both from the ground and from aircraft carriers.

In a short time to the received projects with a combined power plant (THD + + ramjet rocket engine), one of which became the prototype Air-Cosmic Plane under the symbol "2000" or TU-2000. This option was the most feasible, provided the solution of two problems -. Increase in efficiency and an increase in fuel load at the start of

Plane "2000" was a scheme "tailless" with the location of the engines under the fuselage and delta wing of low aspect ratio. All Air-Cosmic Plane elements structurally integrated around the power plant, consisting of the following components:

  • 4 turbojet engine in the rear fuselage;
  • the main booster SHPVRD (located at the rear of the fuselage);
  • 2 rocket engine for maneuvering in a vacuum (established between TRD).

Such a large the number of engines needed to maximize efficiency in different flight modes.

The fuselage of the Tu-2000 large, mostly occupied by fuel tanks with liquid hydrogen. In the bow of the "fuselage is the cabin crew on the two crew members. Automatic crew rescue system provides salvation from the ground up to maximum height. The bow of the cabin, together with detachable and were worked in two versions: with a peel-off and escape to the cabin crew and parachute ejection seat aircraft type. In an experimental Air-Cosmic Plane will be used ejection seats with a preliminary separation of the bow and cockpit.

Behind the cockpit is the technical compartment of electronic equipment, in the same compartment is removed the front landing gear. Middle and rear fuselage fuel tank occupied by liquid hydrogen. To supply LRE oxidant in the rear fuselage mounted oxygen tank. All the engines as fuel use liquid hydrogen from a single fuel system.

VKS Chassis normal three-point circuit with nose wheel: front desk with dual wheels Small Dimetra with high tire pressure of the wheels, the main stand - one-wheeled, retracted into the fuselage in a compartment in the wing area. to single-stage VKS was competitive in comparison with other transport rocket and space systems, when the design is necessary to ensure the implementation of a number of requirements to the flight characteristics. VCS should be able to take off and land from the standard runway length to 3000 m, to fly with a turn at subsonic speeds after taking off to return to the specified start point of acceleration and before planting to approach a given airport, to carry out flights to change the home airfield quickly perform acceleration to the set speed and altitude, including access to the circular orbit, perform repeated orbital maneuvers to perform autonomous orbital flight lasting up to a day, perform cruising flight in the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds, to perform braking with reduced when returning from orbit during acceleration to orbital parameters, and in the process reduce to perform maneuvers to pass the specified route and enter the target orbit, and given the airport, the plane change of orbital flight.

An additional "kick" to the promotion of the project was information about Air-Cosmic Plane X-30, generated by Rockwell in the framework of NASP (National Aero-Space Plane) . Given this situation the USSR government decree was issued on 27 January and 19 July 1986 on the establishment of a similar system of air and space. Next 1 September, the Ministry of Defence issued a technical specification for odnostupenchesky reusable aerospace plane (IMCC), which was supposed to solve military tasks both in the atmosphere and in near space, and provide high-speed transatmosfernuyu intercontinental transport.

The competition was attended by LMC Tupolev, Yakovlev Design Bureau and NPO "Energia", but absolute favorite was certainly the Tu-2000, which has been developed more than 10 years. "Tupolev" proved to be more consistent and planned development of the IMCC in two stages. Stage 1 - Creation of a pilot of the aircraft Tu-2000A . Flight weight of this machine is estimated at 70-90 tons, speed - about M-6 at an altitude of 30 km. Geometrical dimensions: length - 60 meters, wingspan - 14 meters, sweep on the leading edge of the wing - 70 degrees. Step 2 - there were options: space bomber Tu-2000b , the IMCC or passenger supersonic airliner. Tu-2000b designed as a double bomber a range of 10,000 km and a takeoff weight of 350 tons. Six engines powered by liquid hydrogen were to ensure speed of Mach 6 at an altitude of 30 km. Tu-2000 in the version of the IMCC was to launch weight of 260 tons, the flight altitude of more than 60 km and speed of M = 15 and M = 25 (orbital speed). 8-10 tons payload can put into orbit 200 km high. The project is not liner was then a priority and its detailed study was made.

So, in the end of the Soviet Union and its military-industrial complex work on the Tu-2000A was conducted in full. Of course, the "restructuring" badly undermined the financing of military projects, but even then a lot had been done. By December 1991, there was manufactured wing box of the nickel alloy, fuselage elements, cryogenic fuel tanks and fuel lines composite. Note that the Americans were stuck with the X-30's only attempt of construction of a fuselage section of a titanium alloy. If it were not for the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Tu-2000 project it could have been implemented by the year 2000, but the story was judged differently.

So what happened? The political events in the USSR completely "buried" this promising project. In the summer of 1992, it was decided to put the declassified Tu-2000 project on a commercial basis (for "Tupolev" there was simply no choice). So the layout of the IMCC was shown at the exhibition "Mosaeroshow-92" on the stand of the Yakovlev Design Bureau. As usual, the top management of Russia made promises of "defense picked up the prestige", etc., but in reality nothing was done. Soon all funding ceased and the TU-2000 was considered to be a "frozen" project. There was a small hope for the continuation of the work in the mid-1990s. They even performed financial calculations - in 1995 prices, the cost of construction of the Tu-2000 amounted to 450 million dollars at a total cost of development activities of about 5.29 billion. The cost of each flight was estimated at $ 13.6 million at the rate of 20 launches per year. It was also assumed that since the beginning of the necessary funding for research and development can be done in 13-15 years. All these numbers seem wildly optimistic.

The project was not cheap, and beyond the capacity of the Russian defense industry. Even in 2010, the question of the resumption of work on the Tu-2000 did not arise. In fairness, the NASP X-30 project, as advertised in the mid-1980s, "stalled", and in 1992 its financing was also stopped. The final decision to close the X-30 was adopted a year later.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2018 13:25:06 ZULU