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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Keldysh Sub-Orbital Bomber

The Keldysh Bomber was a Soviet version of the Saenger antipodal bomber intensely studied on Stalin's direct orders in 1946-1947. This idea, then not realized, materialized after ten years in the scientific research conducted by M.V. Keldysh brilliant development (chief designer SA Lavochkin) intercontinental cruise missile "Storm", whose dignity and high performance characteristics to this day cause admiration of specialists.

The Soviet design for a rocket-powered sub-orbital bomber spacecraft drew heavily upon work carried out by Eugen Sänger and Irene Bredt in the late 1930s for the Third Reich. In 1946 Mstislav Vsevolodovich Keldysh was elected a full member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR - he became one of the youngest academicians. And in 15 years he was elected president of the USSR Academy of Sciences.

Winged rockets entered the realm of hardware late in the war, as an offshoot of the V-2 program. The standard V-2 had a range of 270 kilometers. Following the Normandy invasion in 1944, as the Allies surged into France and the Nazi position collapsed, a group of rocket engineers led by Ludwig Roth sought to stretch this range to 500 kilometer by adding swept wings to allow the missile to execute a supersonic glide. The venture was ill-starred from the outset. When winds blew on the wings during liftoff, the marginal guidance system could not prevent the vehicle from rolling and going out of control. In this fashion, the first winged V-2 crashed within seconds of its December 1944 launch. A month later, a second attempt was launched successfully and had transitioned to gliding flight at Mach 4 when a wing broke off causing the missile to break up high in the air.

During World War II, the Germans had regarded the A-9 missile as the next step beyond the standard V-2, hoping that its wings would offer a simple way to increase its range. The V-2's overriding priority had prevented serious work on its winged version. The A-3, a test missile that preceded the V-2, had proven to be too stable; it tended merely to rise vertically, and its guidance system lacked the authority to make it tilt. Its fins had been studied in the Aachen supersonic tunnel, but this problem showed up only in flight test, and for a time it was unclear how to go further.

A second test missile, the A-5, also contributed to work on fin design. It supported development of the guidance system, but it too needed fins, and it served as a testbed for further flight studies. Additional flight tests used models with length of five feet that were powered with rocket engines that flew with hydrogen peroxide as the propellant. These tests showed that an initial fin design given by Kurzweg had the best subsonic stability characteristics. Subsequently, extensive wind-tunnel work both at Peenemunde and at a Zeppelin facility in Stuttgart covered the V-2’s complete Mach range and refined the design. In this fashion, the V-2’s fins were designed with only minimal support from Peenemunde’s big supersonic wind tunnels.

As is well known, the "inheritance" of the German rocket scientists were "fraternally" divided among the victorious powers. Most of the documents, equipment, and has already made missiles went to the Americans and the British. From Germany they moved overseas and many experts headed by Wernher von Braun. But some equipment, and documents and people remained for the Soviet Union. In the late 1930s Mikhail Klavdievich Tikhonravov had not only theorized about the flight into space, but also trying to design a missile that can do it. But work in this direction were stopped by the Great Patriotic War. Of course, it is difficult to assume that such a project could take place: Soviet engine building could hardly then be equipped with a rocket engine with sufficient thrust. But when the Soviet Union learned about German ideas, the way forward with the work was quite clearly defined.

One of the dominant topics of this period were the studies caused by the accidental discovery in June 1945 in Germany of a researcher at the NII-1 G.V. Miklashevsky a copy of the super-secret, intended for the supreme leadership of the Reich of the scientific report of Senger-Bredt "Long-range bomber with a rocket engine." This unique specimen was brought to the Institute, translated into Russian and reported to the country's leadership. The result was an instruction to thoroughly study the problem and prepare proposals.

Stalin subsequently decided in 1947 that Sänger and Bredt were to be kidnapped and brought to Moscow. At that time they were in Paris, working as consultants for the French air force. Stalin sent two agents after them, accompanied by his own son. They nevertheless remained safe; the Soviets never found them. French intelligence agents learned about the plot and protected them, and in any case, the Soviets may not have been looking very hard. One of them, Grigory Tokaty-Tokayev, was the chief rocket scientist in the Soviet air force. He defected to England, where he wrote his memoirs for the Daily Express and then added a book, Stalin Means War.

On May 13, 1946, Stalin signed decree #1017-419ss, which defined the main directions of work in the USSR on the development of missile technology. Mikhail Khrunichev, the then Minister of Aviation Industry of the USSR, was experienced in the upper echelons of power and knew the nature of the "leader." Therefore, on 20 July 1946 a memorandum was addressed to Stalin "On consideration of the proposal Tikhonravov Chernysheva and the establishment of a rocket for manned flight to an altitude of 100-150 kilometers," and he approved the proposal.

On November 29, 1946 the head of the NNI-1 appointed the eminent scientist Academician Mstislav Keldysh with the task to deal with the Sanger and Bredt aircraft project, and the original problem NII-1 was given the task of implementing the ramjet rocket engine in aviation.

On February 22, 1947 Keldysh sent a letter with a request to discuss the thematic and organizational issues of NII-1. On April 1, 1947 a meeting of the Scientific Council, where Keldysh gave a presentation on the prospects of a jet engine and the direction of development of NII-1. The report was particularly affected by Sanger aircraft project and given a preliminary analysis of LRE and SRM at that time. On April 3, 1947, Keldysh sent a memorandum on the need for research on aircraft with expander, which refers to the analysis of the aircraft with expander circuits of conventional circuits. An independent aircraft rocket engine was inefficient, as a consequence of the extremely low efficiency of these engines, as well as the possibility of a rocket engine with an extremely large exhaust. In connection with this project, mention was made of Sanger and information about the work on this topic by the Americans.

Under the leadership of M.V. Keldysh in NII-1 was in 1947 prepared on this topic a detailed report, in which Mstislav Vsevolodovich wrote a chapter "On the power plant stratospheric super-high-speed aircraft." As an alternative to the German aircraft, the report offered an original project of a long-range bomber with a calculated range of 12,000 km equipped with a combined propulsion system (SPVRD + LPRE).

At the end of the memorandum, it was concluded that it is impossible to build at the moment a long-range rocket plane, as the research on this problem was not resolved. On July 8, 1947 Keldysh sent a memorandum on the development of the Research Institute of Experimental base. From the note it is clear how much importance MV Keldysh attached to the development of the experimental base, taking into account the prospects of success. The memoranda showed how MV Keldysh determined how to establish missile aircraft projects such as the Sanger aircraft, as well as looking into the prospect of application and ramjet rocket engine in aviation.

In 1947, NII-1 performed scientific and technical report under the supervision of Keldysh. The author of the chapter "On the high-speed power unit stratospheric aircraft" was Keldysh himself. In his chapter MV Keldysh examined the Sanger aircraft design and offeeds a long-range aircraft project with a combined propulsion system (SPVRD and LRE), based on the existing at that time views. The study concluded that the parameters of the LRE taken by Sanger led to interesting options, that were unlikely to be achieved in the near future under the existing fuels (using gas and oxygen, it is possible to achieve a lower specific thrust with only high-altitude conditions, achievement the specific impulse of 400 seconds, adopted in the main versions Sanger calculations, was impossible in the near future). The little LRE of Sanger was economical, extremely small, and so obtained final weight of the structure and the weight of fuel of up to 90% by weight of the aircraft. The use of a ramjet with a diffuser with oblique shock waves made it possible to achieve high thrust with low weight. After separation from the launch pad at the beginning of acceleration, followed by the inclusion LRE achieves the desired results. At the end of the flight the aircraft weight was 22% to reach speeds of about 5 km/s and a distance of 12,000 km. The Keldysh Rocket plane was to have the wing and fuselage shape for supersonic aircraft: the wing - reportedly a triangular profile.

At the conclusion of this study, on the basis of the calculations it was concluded the possibility of the creation of ramjet that would provide a range rocket plane about 12,000 km of flight. According to the thinking of Keldysh, the author proposed to use a combination of engines for the long-range rocket plane in our country. He proved the possibility of creating such an aircraft in the near future, when all the problems will be solved. Since 1946, the initial objective of NII-1 was the introduction of the ramjet and rocket engine in aviation, but by 1948 it became clear that these types of jet engines, as applied to aircraft, can not compete with gas turbine jet engines (TRD).

Keldysh had done much to strengthen business ties NII-1 with raketostroitelyami, he was fascinated by the boundless prospects offered rocketry. In 1948 Keldysh invited for consultations, and then begin collaborations with NII-88. There he met with Sergei Korolev, with his plans for the future.

In 1958, an article which appeared in a Soviet aviation journal referred to a Russian glide-bombing system, capable of attaining an altitude of 295,000 feet and striking a target at a distance of 3,500 nautical miles. Later, an American aviation periodical reported that Russian scientists were developing an antipodal glide-missile, designated the T-4A. By March 1960, the Assistant Chiefof Staff for Intelligence, USAF headquarters estimated that the Soviets were at least conducting research directed towards the development of a boost-glide vehicle.

Keldysh aircraft
fuselage length, m28
fuselage, m3.6 * 1.8
Wingspan, m15
bearing surface of the wing, m 245
bearing surface of the fuselage, m 281
total bearing surface, m 2126
Aircraft weight, t100
Fuel weight, t70.5
Weight SPVRD (2 pcs.), T7.5
Airframe weight, t9
LRE Weight, t2.5
Weight tanks t2.5
Payload weight, t8
speed of the aircraft on the home track, m / s500
length of the starting tracks, km3
total mass (5-6 LRE), t600
Acceleration time at a starting track11 seconds
range12,000 km
landing weight of the aircraft, 15 - 20
Landing speed, km / h200
surface temperature of the aircraft560 ° C
Keldysh Sub-Orbital Bomber Keldysh Sub-Orbital Bomber Keldysh Sub-Orbital Bomber

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Page last modified: 28-05-2018 19:42:41 ZULU