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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tu-119 / Tu-95LAL

The Tu-119 was an experimental aircraft with nuclear powerplant. The project of the middle to late 50s was based on Tu-95 a/c. Within the project a flying atomic laboratory Tu-95LAL was built whereon the first native nuclear reactor was tested at the beginning of the 1960s.

It took some time for the Soviet leadership to realize that, firstly, an intercontinental aircraft with "conventional" fuel might not work, and, secondly, nuclear energy could solve this problem. The delay in the realization of the latter was promoted by the incredible secrecy, even by our standards, which enveloped the mid-1950s. domestic atomic engineering. However, on August 12, 1955, the Central Committee of the CPSU and the USSR Council of Ministers adopted Decree No1561-868 on the creation of a PAS, a promising nuclear aircraft. The designing of the aircraft proper was entrusted to the design bureau A.N. Tupolev and V.M. Myasishchev, and "special" engines for them - collectives headed by N.D. Kuznetsov and A.M. Cradle.

On the design talents and personal qualities of Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev there are different opinions, but one is indisputable - it was an outstanding organizer of aircraft construction. As no one knew the "undercurrents" of the very muddy "ocean" of Minaviaprom, he managed to provide his design bureau with a stable position, despite all the shocks persisting even in conditions that he could not have dreamed of in a nightmare. Tupolev perfectly understood that nuclear planes will not fly tomorrow, but moods "at the top" can change much faster, and for today's priority program tomorrow will have to fight to save it until the day after tomorrow, when it again urgently needed ... Therefore, the main focus of Andrew Nikolayevich focused on the scientific and technical basis, believing that, having learned how to work with nuclear technology, the plane can always be made.

As a result, on March 28, 1956, a government decree was issued on the establishment of a flying laboratory based on the Tu-95 strategic bomber for "studies of the effect of radiation from an aviation nuclear reactor on aircraft equipment, as well as on issues related to the radiation protection of the crew and the operation of an aircraft with a nuclear reactor on board. " Two years later, a ground stand and an installation for an airplane were built, transported to a test site in Semipalatinsk, and in the first half of 1959 the units started working.

. Constructors OKB-156 and nuclear scientists often held workshops during which the latter were in charge of all aspects of the first nuclear power plants to protect them and the features of the construction. So makarom engineers, aircraft manufacturers have received all the necessary information, without which it would be able to do atomolet. According to the memoirs of the participants in those events, one of the most memorable moments was the discussion of the protection of reactors. As the nuclear industry, ready with all the reactor protection systems is the size of a small house. Division of the assembly design office became interested in this problem of the newest and soon developed a scheme of the reactor in which all units have dimensions and immediately applicable to this level of protection ensured tribute. With the annotation-style "home on planes do not carry" This scheme has been demonstrated to scientists-physicists. The new version of the assembly of the reactor has been painstakingly checked, approved and adopted by the nuclear scientists as a base for power plants to the latest flying laboratory. The main objective of the project Tu-95LAL (flying nuclear laboratory) was to test the level of protection of on-board reactor and development of all aspects of the design associated with it. Already at the stage of designing a fascinating approach was used. In contrast to the collective Myasishcheva, Tupolev decided to protect the crew with just over unsafe areas. The main elements of radiation protection positioned behind the cab, and the other areas were covered by less severe packet of materials. In addition, the future development of the idea got a small-sized reactor protection, which came with some changes to the draft Tu-95LAL. At first it was planned to test the flying laboratory applied the idea of defending units and crews, and use the acquired data for future development of the project and, if useful, configuration design. By 1958, built the first test reactor designed to test. It was positioned in the overall simulator fuselage of the Tu-95. Soon test shield together with the reactor was sent to the landfill near Semipalatinsk, where in 1959 the work came to the trial run of the reactor. Until the end, he was taken to the design capacity also improved the protection and control system. Immediately with the trials of the first assembly of the second reactor was set up for a flying laboratory, modifications, serial bomber used in this experiment. Tu-95M Serial number 7800408 when retrofitting a flying laboratory was deprived of all weapons, including the associated equipment. Immediately behind the cockpit installed pyatisantimetrovym lead plate and a package of polymeric materials with a width of 15 cm in the nose, tail and middle part of the fuselage and the wings were installed sensors that monitor radiation levels. In the back gruzootseke positioned experimental reactor. His defense in some measure resembles using the cab, but the reactor core was placed inside a circular guard. Since only the reactor was used as a light source, it was necessary to equip it with a cooling system. Distilled water is circulated in a particular vicinity of nuclear fuel and cools it. On warm water passed the second circuit, which received energy dissipated by the radiator. Last blew over the running stream. The outer shell of the reactor as a whole fit into the fuselage of the former bomber, but the top and along the edges of cladding had to cut a hole and cover up their fairings. In addition, the lower surface of the fuselage brought the radiator intake device. In the experimental use protective shell of the reactor was equipped multiple windows placed in different parts of it. The opening and closing of windows or other happening on the pitch from the control panel in the cockpit. Through these windows could increment the radiation in a certain direction and measure the level of reflection from the medium. All assembly work completed by early 1961. In May 1961, the Tu-95LAL for the first time rose into the air. Over the next three months was made 34 flights with a "cold" and the working reactor. All experiments and measurements have proved fundamentally the possibility of placing a nuclear reactor on board. At the same time, we found some problems of constructive character, which was planned in the upcoming fix. And yet the tragedy of this atomoleta, despite all defenses threatened severe environmental consequences. Fortunately, all test flights of Tu-95LAL passed cleanly and without problems. From May to August 1961, the Tu-95LA plane carried out 34 flights. According to rumors circulating in the defense industry, one of the main problems was the overexposure of the airmen through the surrounding air, which unambiguously confirmed: the shadow shield in the atmosphere is not acceptable in space, which immediately makes it six times heavier.

The next stage was to be the Tu-119 - the same Tu-95, but two medium turboprop NK-12s were replaced by nuclear NK-14A, in which instead of combustion chambers, heat exchangers were heated heated by an atomic reactor in the cargo hold. According to the test results of the Tu-95LAL nuclear scientists modified the reactor for the aircraft, and the Tupolev Design Bureau started work on a new atomoleta. In contrast to previous experimental aircraft, the new proposed to do on the basis of passenger Tu-114 fuselage with a little more width. The Tu-119 was intended to equip with 2 kerosene turboprop engines NK-12M and 2 NK-14A made on their basis. "Fourteenth" engines except the standard combustion chamber equipped with a heat exchanger to operate in heating mode, the air from the reactor in a closed circuit. Assembling the Tu-119, to some extent reminiscent of accommodation units in the Tu-95LAL, but now the lines envisaged by plane to the coolant, the reactor and connected the two motors.

Creating turboprop engines with heat exchangers to transfer heat from the reactor is not easily passed from constant delays and problems. As a result, the Tu-119 had not received new engines NK-14A. Plans for the creation of 2-flying laboratories with 2 nuclear engines for each were not implemented. The trouble with the first experimental aircraft "119" has led to the disruption of subsequent plans, includes the construction of the aircraft immediately with 4 SC-14A.

However, soon after the completion of the LAL flights the program was canceled.


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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 12:14:00 ZULU