Category Soviet x-plenes

Sukhoi Su-24

In the mid-1960s the tactical arm of the Soviet Air Force (FA) needed a replacement for the elderly Yakovlev Yak-28 Brewer tactical bombers. The Yak-28 proved disappointing due to short range and severe restric­tions in the use of its weapons. By the mid-1960s, two important factors became evident. The first was the superiority of equivalent US designs, such as the General Dynamics F-111, due to higher performance, wider weapons range and outstandingly superior avionics. The second factor was the rapid development in surface-to-air missile technology; this required new tactical bomber to have supersonic low-level attack capa­bility, which placed high demands on airframe strength and required automatic terrain following capability.

Thus the Sukhoi design bureau (OKB) started work on a tactical bomber which would be the Soviet counterpart of the F-111. Initially the designers settled for mid-set wings with 40° leading-edge sweep. Receiving the in-house designation S-6, it was to have a top speed of 2,500 km/h (1,550 mph) and an all up weight of 20,000 kg (44,090 lb). The two crew members sat in tandem, and the two 7,200-kgp (15,870- lb st) Tumanskiy R-21F-300 afterburning turbojets were placed side-by – side in the rear fuselage, breathing through lateral air intakes.

It soon became evident that a conventional layout was inadequate for the project, and attention was turned to variable-geometry wings and lift-jets, the work proceeding in parallel on these two lines. A com­pletely new project designated T-6 was started. The first prototype, known as the T6-1, entered flight test on 2nd July 1967 with test pilot Vladimir S. Il’yushin at the controls. It had double-delta wings with 60° leading-edge sweep on the inner wings. The crew of two was seated side-by-side. Behind the cockpit were four Kolesov RD36-35 lift engines intended to improve field performance. Initially, two Tumanskiy R-27F2-300 cruise engines rated at 10,200 kgp (22,400 lb st) in full after­burner (again fed by variable lateral air intakes) were fitted; the air for the main engines was used to cool the lift-jets. The intended 11,200-kgp (24,750-lb st) Lyul’ka AL-21 F afterburning turbojets were fitted later.

The T6-1 was intended to carry air-to-surface missiles, unguided rockets, air-to-air missiles, bombs and other stores on four wing and two fuselage hardpoints. The wing span was 10.41m (34.14 ft), overall length 23.72 m (77.8 ft), height 6.373 m (20.9 ft) and wing area 45.33 sq. m (487.9 sq. ft). Maximum TOW was 26,100 kg (57,540 lb).

In the course of trials the Soviet Air Force changed its requirements; the ordnance load was increased to such an extent that lift engines were no longer viable. Also, the contradictory requirements of attack at transonic speeds at ground level and short-field capability were still there. Studies by the Central Aero- and Hydrodynamics Institute (TsAGI) showed that variable-geometry wings compared so favourably with every other possible layout that the Sukhoi OKB radically redesigned the T-6 less than six months after the first flight.

The second prototype, designated T6-2I (the T denoting izmenyayemaya [gheometriya], variable geometry) was completed in late 1969 and took to the air on 17th January 1970, again with Vladimir S. Il’yushin at the controls. The most important change was the new VG wings; they had four sweep settings: 16° for take-off and landing, 35° for loitering and cruise, 45° for manoeuvring and 69° for transonic/super – sonic flight. The fuselage was redesigned to increase fuel capacity and the air intakes were modified. The undercarriage was strengthened to let the aircraft carry an increased warload.

Tests of the T6-2I continued until 1976. The aircraft was soon joined by two more prototypes, the T6-3I and T6-4I. The results were encour­aging and in December 1971 the bomber entered series production at the Novosibirsk aircraft factory No. 153, receiving the service designa­tion Su-24; the in-house designation at the plant was “izdeliye (product) 41”. Initial operational capability was achieved in 1973 but it was not until 1975 that the Su-24 was formally included into the inventory. This version was known to the West by the NATO reporting name Fencer-A.

Modifications to the design were continually implemented as pro­duction progressed. E. g., wing span and wing area were increased soon after the beginning of production. Problems with the variable air intakes caused the intakes to be widened from the 4th production batch onwards (1972) when the to give an increased frontal area. Pressure from the WS to increase range led the OKB to increase the capacity of the number 1 fuel tank by 1,000 litres (220 Imp. gal.) starting with Batch 8, with a concurrent saving in weight which could be used for extra fuel. Operational experience showed the airframe was strong enough to carry more weapons, so two more hardpoints were added on the cen­treline, increasing the total to eight and the weapons load to 8,000 kg (17,680 lb). Weapons delivery was controlled by a PNS-24 Tigr naviga – tion/attack system enabling automatic flight along a pre-programmed route, weapons delivery and return to base.

Important changes were introduced in Batch 15 when the shape of the rear fuselage was redesigned to reduce drag. The box-like structure around the engine nozzles was replaced by a more rounded one with a deeply dished bottom between the nozzles and the brake parachute container was moved up. Extensions were added to the fin at the top and along the leading edge; the upper extension supported the A-711 navigation antenna and the leading edge now accommodated the RSDN-10 long-range radio navigation (LORAN) antenna and a cooling air intake for the generators. SPO-15 Beryoza (Birch) passive radar warning antennae in triangular fairings were placed on either side of the fin near the top. Other changes made at this time included the addition of leading-edge flaps to the outer wings and a reduction in the number of flap sections from three to two each side. This version was known to the West as the Fencer-B. An updated version with Beryoza (Birch) radar homing and warning system (RHAWS) antennae on the air intakes and near the top of the fin was code-named Fencer-C.

By 1975 the ongoing problems with the variable air intakes were finally solved by introducing fixed-area intakes from Batch 21 onwards, which also gave a weight saving of 200 kg (440 lb). Aircraft previously built with variable intakes had that control disconnected. As a result, top speed was effectively limited to 1,400 km/h (870 mph) or Mach 1.4 at sea level, except for very short emergency bursts of Mach 2. This was considered an acceptable trade-off against the elimination of previous problems, as 1,400 km/h at S/L had become the standard attack mode. Concurrently the wings were redesigned and given a different airfoil.

Although improvements were constantly incorporated, this did not affect the designation. It was not until 1975 that enough design changes took place to justify a new designation, T6-M or Su-24M (modifi tseerovannyy – modified). The eighth prototype of the Su-24 sans suf – fixe (T6-8) was converted into the Su-24M prototype and redesignated T6-8M, making its first flight on 24th June 1977. Production began in 1978; the aircraft was known at plant No. 153 as izdeliye 44; the NATO reporting name was Fencer-D.

Major changes were made to the avionics; the most fundamental one was the fitment of a new weapons control system – the PNS-24M Tigr NS. To accommodate the new equipment the forward fuselage was extended by 76 cm and lowered by 15 cm. Apart from the reshaped nose, the Su-24M could be identified by the straight air data boom at the tip of the radome replacing the F-shaped antenna assembly of ear­lier versions, nicknamed “goose” because of its shape. A Kai’ra-24M

(Grebe) day/night low light level TV system/laser designator was fitted, enabling the aircraft to carry laser – and TV-guided missiles and "smart bombs”. Also, the number of weapons carried was increased by the addition of a ninth hardpoint.

Combat capability was greatly improved by the addition of an in­flight refuelling system. An L-shaped FPSh-5M retractable IFR probe was installed just ahead of the cockpit to allow refuelling from another Su-24M fitted with a UPAZ-1A Sakhalin "buddy” refuelling pack or an ll’yushin IL-78/IL-78M Midas tanker. A new Karpaty (Carpathian moun­tains) defence system was introduced. Rounded boundary layer fences were initially fitted on the edge of the wing glove in line with the inner wing pylons; on some aircraft they housed chaff/flare dispensers. Later, when it was discovered that the wing fences improved longitudinal sta­bility but impaired directional stability, they were removed and the dis­pensers relocated to the upper rear fuselage.

In the mid-1980s permission was granted to export the Su-24M. In the late 1980s the OKB brought out an export version designated Su-24MK (kommehrcheskiy – “commercial”, i. e., export version) or izdeliye 44M. The first flight took place in 1987 and small-scale produc­tion commenced in 1988. The Su-24MK differed little from the standard Fencer-D – mainly in the avionics (particularly the IFF system) and weapons options; for example, the Su-24MK could carry more bombs – 38 FAB-100s compared with 34 on the Su-24M and four air-to-air mis­siles instead of two. All export Su-24MKs had angular wing fences, even though they were being removed at the time from Soviet Air Force Fencers. Sales reported so far are: to Iraq (24), Libya (15), Syria (12) and Iran (9).

In 1978 the OKB started full-scale development of the T-6MR recon­naissance version of the Su-24M. Intended as a successor to the out­dated and “short-legged" Yak-27R, Yak-28R and MiG-21 R, it was to operate at a depth of up to 400 km (250 miles) from the front line, day or night in any weather. The first flight took place in September 1980; two prototypes (the T6MR-26 and T6MR-34) were tested and the aircraft entered production and service as the Su-24MR ([samolyot-] razved – chik, reconnaissance aircraft) or izdeliye 48. The NATO code name was Fencer-E.

The comprehensive BKR-1 Shtyk (Bayonet) reconnaissance suite included a Shtyk MR-1 synthetic aperture side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) in the nose covering an area of 4 to 28 km (2.5-17.3 miles) from the centreline; a Zima (Winter) thermal imager; an Aist-M (Stork-M) TV camera; a Kadr (Photo exposure) PHOTINT system comprising an AP-102 panoramic camera and an AFA-A-100 oblique camera; an Efir-1 M (Ether-1 M; pronounced efeer) radiation monitor in a pod under the starboard outer wing; and a Tangahzh (Pitch, in the aeronautical sense) radio monitoring pod or a Shpil’-2M (Spire-2M) laser line-scan pod providing an image of almost photographic quality on the fuselage centreline. Data was recorded on tape but could be instantly transmit­ted to ground stations if required. Three underfuselage hardpoints and the built-in cannon were removed; two R-60 or R-60M air-to-air missiles could be carried under the port wing for self-defence.

Design work on the Su-24MP Fencer-F (izdeliye 46) electronic countermeasures (ECM) aircraft began in 1976; its mission was elec­tronic reconnaissance and neutralisation of the enemy’s air defence radars while escorting attack aircraft to their targets. The two prototypes were converted from Su-24M airframes (the T6M-25 and T6M-35) which were then redesignated T6MP-25 and T6MP-35; the P stands for postanovschchik pomekh – ECM platform. (Strictly speaking, the des­ignation ought to have been Su-24PR) The first flight took place in December 1979. Very little technical information relating to this variant has been released, but it is known to have a sophisticated suite for detecting, locating, analysing, identifying and jamming all known elec­tromagnetic emissions. The bulk of this work is handled by the Landysh (Lily of the valley) system and the aircraft can carry active jamming pods, such as the Los’ (Moose), Fasol’ (String bean) or Mimoza (Mimosette), under the fuselage with no apparent loss of performance. Only about twenty Su-24MPs were reportedly built.

Believe it or not, the Su-24 found peaceful uses as well. In the late 1990s the Flight Research Institute in Zhukovskiy operated two Su-24s – Fencer-A “15 White” (c/n 1515301) and Su-24M “11 White” (c/n 1141613) equipped with an air sampling pod for environmental moni­toring purposes.

The Su-24 achieved initial operational capability with the Soviet Air Force (WS) in 1973, even though official acceptance of the type was not given until 1975 – a move not uncommon in the USSR. After being issued to training units, Su-24s were delegated to regiments operating in the Western areas of the USSR and in the Far East. By assigning them to the Ukraine or the Baltic Republics the WS ensured they could be quickly deployed in times of trouble to Eastern Europe. Later, Su-24 units were stationed in East Germany, Poland and Hungary, but the main Fencer force remained in the USSR.

Among those types displaced from bomber divisions of the Tactical Aviation’s Air Armies were the obsolete ll’yushin IL-28 Beagle and Yak-28. A division usually included three bomber regiments, each hav­ing three squadrons with 10 aircraft per squadron. As production rate grew it was decided to equip some of the fighter-bomber divisions in the 4th, 24th and 30th Air Armies with the Su-24 capable of a more strate­gic role. These armies had been created in the early 1970s, reporting to the High Command of the Armed Forces to act as a strategic reserve (rather than to Army Fronts or Defence Districts where there was a risk of their aptitude for attacking behind the battle line being wasted in local situations). It was also easier to maintain a tighter control on the use of the nuclear bombs which these aircraft could carry.

On entering service with FA regiments that had previously operated such types as the Yak-28 and MiG-27, the Su-24 proved to be much more demanding in maintenance and service. Considering the com­plexity of its systems, this was hardly surprising and extra headaches were caused by the fact that this was the Soviet Air Force’s first experi­ence with computerised systems.

The Su-24 required appreciably more time and effort to prepare it for a sortie; on average, it needed 45 minutes work by 15 technicians. This effectively doubled ground crew workload per flight – an insup­portable situation which was tackled with alacrity. The demands of time could not be reduced because 45 minutes was the minimum time taken to spin up the gyroscopes in the navigation/attack system; some mis­sions requiring a greater degree of accuracy needed as much as 1 hour 20 minutes. Nonetheless, improvements could be made to ease the ground crews’ workload.

The biggest headaches to ground and air crews alike came from the avionics. Such was the need for this type of bomber that, as noted ear­lier, it was rushed into service before the State acceptance trials were completed. The complexity of the many systems and the use of an on­board computer stretched the knowledge and patience of the crews. Malfunctions were frequent and there were cases in the early stages of the Fencer’s career when whole squadrons were grounded for several days until remedies were found.

In-flight malfunction of the navigation and targeting system could all too easily put the crew at risk, especially on supersonic nap-of-the-earth (NOE) missions. At best the aircraft was saved but the target missed. It has been known for farms to lose valuable crops, buildings and even livestock when crews failed to realise there was a problem with the equipment and continued the attack in automatic mode, dropping their deadly load on whatever was unlucky enough to be there. There was a case of a crew getting lost, running out of fuel and having to eject because the airmen did not realise in time there was a fault.

The Sukhoi OKB went to great lengths to reduce pre-flight check time by providing easier access to engines, all systems, filters, gover­nors etc. Wheel changing was simplified by eliminating the need for lift­ing equipment. Special attention was given to the reduction of refuelling time by providing single-point pressure refuelling.

Once the teething troubles had been recognised and acknowl­edged, they were relatively easy to resolve. One particular cause for sat­isfaction was the aircraft’s ability to withstand bird strikes; a collision with a large eagle and another with seventeen sparrows resulted in no serious damage – at least not to the aircraft.

In spite of these difficulties, he pilots liked the Su-24, affectionately dubbing it “Chemodahn” (Suitcase) – an allusion to the slab-sided shape of its fuselage. They appreciated the good field of view, the well – planned flight deck and the automatic flight systems, especially on low – level operations. Flight handling was reasonably easy, even though the Su-24 could be less forgiving in certain circumstances. Slowly but sure­ly the restrictions imposed during the service introduction period were lifted until the Su-24 emerged as a first-rate tactical bomber.

The Su-24 has seen action in several armed conflicts, drawing first blood during the Afghan War where the type made its debut in the spring of 1984. With its weapons load of 7 tons (15,430 lb) – more than double that of other Soviet tactical strike aircraft, its impressive range and sophisticated mission avionics, the Fencer would make a valuable addition to the arsenal of the Soviet contingent helping the pro-Soviet Kabul government fight the Mujahideen rebels. Until then the Su-24 had been unavailable for the war, but the need for such an aircraft was now evident. It was decided to use the type from Soviet bases in Uzbekistan and Turkmenia. Thus, two regiments were seconded to the 40th Army, as the group of Soviet forces in Afghanistan was known. In early April 1984 the 143rd BAP (Bomber Regiment) with 26 Su-24Ms, then based in Georgia at Kopitnari (Kutaisi-1) airbase, was detached to Khanabad – the one in south-eastern Uzbekistan (near Karshi), not the one in Afghanistan. At the same time the 149th GvBAP (Guards Bomber Regiment) with Su-24 Fencer-Bs based at Nikolayevka AB in Kazakhstan was relocated to the fighter base at Koka’fdy near Termez, right beside the border.

The primary motive for the presence of Fencers on the Afghan the­atre of operations was the need to subdue Ahmad Shah Massoud, the most capable Mujahideen leader. As a rule, the Su-24s were used against area targets such as Mujahideen fortifications. Prior to the sor­tie, reconnaissance aircraft would photograph the target. Its coordinates would be fed into the bomber’s computer, and everything else was largely automatic; the PNS-24 nav/attack system would take the bomber there and drop the bombs. In the 149th GvBAR Sqn 1 aircraft usually carried four 500-kg bombs each and Sqn 2 and 3 aircraft were armed with twelve 250-kg bombs each; additionally, two drop tanks were always carried.

Su-24 operations in Afghanistan were not very intensive, since the ground forces were more in need of close air support than of carpet bombing. Nor were they particularly successful; the Su-24 had been designed with the relatively flat terrain of Western Europe in mind, and the radar (which could pinpoint small targets such as tanks) had trouble picking out the targets among the jumbled rocks. NOE flying was out of the question because of the many canyons and mountain ridges. Weapons efficiency was low, as guided bombs and missiles showed poor controllability in the rarefied air of the mountains. Bomb-aiming accuracy in level flight was poor; dropping bombs in a 20 to 30-degree dive produced better results but took the bombers within range of the enemy air defences. During the following months, attacks were carried out from altitudes in excess of 5,000 m (16,400 ft) – safely out of range of the Stinger man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) supplied by the Western Alliance to the rebels.

The next time the Fencer appeared in Afghan skies was in 1988. At this stage, when the Soviet Union was already pulling out of the point­less conflict, Su-24 operations were mostly of a psy-war type, intended to exert a constant pressure on the Mujahideen and keep them busy. Sorties were flown not lower than at 7,000 m (22,965 ft) because of the omnipresent Stingers.

Generally the Su-24 had a good reliability record in Afghanistan. The few failures that did take place were mostly associated with hydraulics, flap and engine controls. Initially there were problems with the main nav/attack computer but these were quickly fixed as Afghan experience built up. Sometimes the drop tanks would refuse to give off fuel and had to be jettisoned – which the crews were reluctant to do, knowing that the tanks were in short supply. Because missions were prepared hastily, programming errors occurred and sometimes the navigation data mod­ules would even be installed on the wrong aircraft.

No Fencers were lost to enemy fire in the Afghan War. However, there were a few accidents and incidents. On the night of 13th December 1988 a 149th GvBAP forgot to set the wings and flaps for takeoff (they were always rotated to full sweep on the ground to save ramp space) and took off with the wings at maximum sweep. The fully fuelled and bombed-up aircraft managed to get unstuck at the last moment, crashing through the fence around the inner marker beacon and destroying the antenna in so doing; then it climbed away with a shocking 27-degree angle of attack and proceeded to the target. The rest of the sortie went normally, except for the flapless landing on return (the flap control unit had been annihilated when the aircraft hit a fence post). The crew was saved by the bomber’s rugged design and the fiat terrain around the base (eyewitnesses said the aircraft “could have run all the way to Afghanistan”!).

In December 1988 a 735th BAP Su-24 went off the side of the run­way when landing at Khanabad in a stiff crosswind. One of the main gear units hit a pothole and collapsed, rupturing a fuel line and causing a massive fire. The crew escaped but the WSO later died from burns.

Despite the Soviet withdrawal, the Su-24s stayed around for anoth­er month, ready to support Najibuilah’s government if the Mujahideen made an attack on Kabul. In the event, however, this was not needed and the aircraft returned to their home bases in March 1989, ending the Fencer’s Afghan involvement.

The type remained in active service in post-Soviet days. Apart from Russia, in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) the Su-24 was operated by the air forces of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The Russian Su-24s were also actively used in the First Chechen War (1994-96) and the Second Chechen War (1999-2001) against Chechen separatists. These missions did not always go without losses; three Fencers were shot down by MANPADS.

It is nearly 35 years since the first flight of the Su-24 prototype and 30 years since it first entered service with the WS. Despite many improvements to the airframe, avionics and systems, it does not incor­porate the latest state-of-the-art and no attempt has been made to ren­der it stealthy. Therefore, plans were in hand to replace it with a modern strike aircraft from the Sukhoi stable – the Su-34 (Su-32FN), a two-seat side-by-side derivative of the Su-27 Flanker interceptor. Yet budgetary constraints have caused these plans to be delayed, compelling the Russian Air Force to change its approach. Several Russian companies, such as Gefest&T, are offering mid-life updates for the Su-24M. Designated Su-24M2, the first upgraded aircraft having enhanced all- weather/night capability (38 White, c/n 1041643) was unveiled at the MAKS-2001 airshow. No doubt the introduction of the Su-34 will be a high-priority task, but shortage of funds (together with upgrade possi­bilities) will ensure that the Su-24M and MR will still be in Russian tacti­cal bomber and reconnaissance regiments for a few more years.

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24Seen here at OKB-51 ‘s flight test facility in Zhukovskiy, the T6-1 (the first prototype of the Sukhoi T-6 tactical bomber) differed a lot from subsequent aircraft in the series. This view shows clearly the cranked delta wings similar to those of the Su – 15TM interceptor, the separately opening port and staboard canopy halves, the V-shaped window of the laser rangefinder ahead of the windscreen, the engine cooling air intakes on the rear fuselage and the land – ing/taxi lights on the sides of the nose. The closed dorsal intakes of the buried Kolesov RD36-35 lift jets in the fuselage are not vis­ible here.

Sukhoi Su-24

The T6-1 lacked a dielectric radome, fea­turing an all-metal nose ahead of the cock­pit windshield.

Подпись: • A “toad’s eye view” of the T6-1 seen head – on. Note the shape of the two-dimensional air intakes, the six weapons hardpoints, the straight pitot at the tip of the nose, the back-up pitot near the port wingtip and the nozzles of the lift jets between the under­fuselage pylons. The relatively narrow land­ing gear track is also noteworthy.

A three-quarters rear view of the T6-1, showing the rectangular section of the fuselage forming a box around the engine nozzles, the lack of ventral fins, the brake parachute container at the base of the fin and the radar warning receiver (RWR) antenna near the fin tip. Note the unusual variant of the Soviet Air Force insignia on this aircraft with a pentagon incorporated into the middle of the star.

Sukhoi Su-24

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After giving up on the use of lift jets which imposed an unacceptable weight penalty the OKB redesigned the T-6 radically, Incorporating variable-sweep wings to reconcile speed and field performance requirements. This is one of the prototypes of the Su-24 “sans suffixe”in the assembly shop of 0KB-51’s experimental plant in Moscow. This view shows clearly the wings at minimum sweep and the double-slotted flaps. Note that the rear fuselage, which was detachable for engine maintenance/ change, is still unpainted, indicating that the aircraft is undergoing conversion to a new variant (probably the Fencer-B proto­type). The aircraft in the background is the T10-1, the first prototype of the Su-27 fighter (NATO code name Flanker-A).

The T6-2I (coded 62 Yellow) at the flight test facility during manufacturer’s tests. Note the warning markings near the radome (“Danger, HF radiation”) and the air intake bodies (“Danger, jet intake”). Note also the Sukhoi OKB’s “winged archer” logo beneath the cockpit and the red band near the top of the fin. The land­ing lights are still built into the forward fuselage sides. The all-movable stabilizers “bled” down to maximum nose-down posi­tion when hydraulic pressure fell off after engine shutdown.

The T6-2I at the Flight Research Institute (Lll) airfield in Zhukovskiy. All six hard – points are equipped with MBD3-U6-68 multiple ejector racks carrying 250-kg (551-lb) FAB-250 bombs. Due to take-off weight limitations the two MERs under the fuselage carry five bombs each instead of six; the total number of bombs is 34, equalling a warload of 8.5 tons (18,740 lb). Note the colour of the radome, the differ­ent Sukhoi OKB badge, three test mission markers and cruciform photo calibration markings beneath the cockpit and the blue fin stripe replacing the earlier red one. An ILS aerial is mounted above the air data boom carrying pitch and yaw sensor vanes.

One more view of the fully loaded T6-2I at Zhukovskiy with wings at maximum sweep. As is the case with some Western strike air­craft, the pylons under the Su-24’s outer wings rotate as wing sweep chages, remaining parallel to the fuselage centre­line. This view shows well the intakes’ boundary layer splitter plates.

One of the Su-24 prototypes with the wings at minimum sweep. The aircraft carries 24 FAB-250s on MERs on the wing pylons and a pair of 500-kg (1,102-lb) FAB-500s on the fuselage stations, which equals an ord­nance load of 7 tons (15,430 lb).

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Sukhoi Su-24Подпись: 24 Blue, a Su-24 “sans suffixe” representing the second production version known in the West as the Fencer-B. This view illustrates some of its features - the kinked forward segment of the nose gear doors consisting of two hinged parts, the faired heat exchanger on top of the centre fuselage and the antenna faired into the fin leading edge with a cooling air intake below it. Production Su-24s featured a so-called “goose" - an L-shaped strut at the tip of the radome mounting an antenna array; the radome itself was white. Note also the faired electronic countermeasures (ECM) antennas on the air intakes and the sides of the fin near the top and the boundary layer fences forming extensions of the inner wing pylons. T

The sixth prototype Su-24 (T6-6) was coded 66 Yellow. Here the aircraft is armed with SPPU-6 gun pods with depressabie six-barrel 23-mm Gatling machine guns (here with the barrels at the maximum deflection of 45°) on the inner wing pylons, OFAB-250ShN low-drag bombs for low – level strike on the fuselage stations and Kh-23 rockets on the outer wing pylons. The T6-6I still had a straight air data boom with an ILS aerial above it and nose- mounted landing lights (they were moved to the wing roots on production aircraft); the fin top band was white.

Two views of the T6-27 (coded 27 White), another Fencer-B development aircraft, carrying three Kh-29 rockets on the inner wing and centreline pylons plus two Kh-23 rockets on the outer wing pylons. The red colour of the rockets identifies them as inert rounds for initial weapons trials; note the photo calibration markings on the rear fuselage. The wing fences were a recent addition at the time the pictures were taken – they have not been painted yet!

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24The T6-8M, the prototype of the Su-24M (NATO code name Fencer-D), at the Lll air­field in Zhukovskiy in original guise. Note the extended nose, the extended wing leading edge root ECM fairings, the non­standard twin nose gear doors which remain open when the gear is down, the patch of bare metal and the absence of sensors on the underside of the nose where modifications have been made, the modified fin leading edge and the photo calibration markings on the fuselage. Despite the redesigned nose, the aircraft retains the "goose" typical of the initial – production Su-24 (compare this to the pro­duction aircraft on the opposite page).

Sukhoi Su-24The T6-8M at a later stage of the trials wearing an unusual three-tone camouflage and the Sukhoi OKB “winged archer” badge beneath the cockpit. The sensor array under the nose has been reinstated. The aircraft carried no tactical code.

Another view of the camouflaged T6-8M, showing the shape of the rear fuselage around the engine nozzles and the ventral fuel jettison pipes under the nozzles. These features are identical to the final production version of the Su-24 «sans suf- fixe» (Fencer-C).

Sukhoi Su-24
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An early-production Su-24M coded «07 White». Note the long straight air data probe at the tip of the radome and the wing fences (making the NATO reporting name Fencer oddly appropriate). The port canopy half is secured by a retaining rod to keep it from slamming down on some­body’s head or hands when there is no pressure in the hydraulic system.

Another view of Su-24M “07 White’’, show­ing the characteristic profile of the nose radome. Production Su-24s and Su-24Ms were normally painted light grey overall with white undersurfaces.

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Two views of Su-24s parked on a rain – lashed hardstand at Ostrov airbase near Pskov, north-western Russia. The base, whose name means “island” in Russian, hosts the Russian Navy’s Combat and Conversion Training Centre (i. e., opera­tional conversion unit).

The examples in these photos are repre­sentative of the very first production ver­sion known as the Fencer-A, as indicated by the boxy structure around the engine nozzles and the placement of the brake parachute container very close to the noz­zles. Oddly, the starboard airbrake-cum – mainwheel-well-door is open on all aircraft in the lineup while the port one is closed, as it should be on the ground. Note the fuel jettison pipe between the engine nozzles.

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Su-24 “29 White” seen at OstrovAB in 1998 is an example of the penultimate version of the Su-24 “sans suffixe” called Fencer-В in NATO parlance. Note the 3,000-litre (660 Imp. gal.) PTB-3000 drop tank suspended on the centreline pylon.

Sukhoi Su-24A trio of Fencer-As at Ostrov AB; note the different location and smaller size of the yellow radiation and air intake warning tri­angles. While the aircraft are in flyable stor­age, the resident Fencer-As were awaiting retirement and disposal on site.

Sukhoi Su-24Su-24 “05 White” is an example of the final variant of the Su-24 “sans suffixe ” known as the Fencer-C. Theis version can be identi­fied by the ECM antenna fairings on the air intake bodies and the fin sides.

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Подпись: PTB-3000 drop tanks lying in a neat row on the edge of the hardstand. These huge tanks were used for both ferry flights and long-range operations. ► Sukhoi Su-24A

Another view of Su-24s with PTB-3000 drop tanks under the wings in storage at OstrovABin 1998. The incredible fact that two neighbouring Fencer-As in the line-up carry the same tactical code, 29 White (quite apart from the Fencer-B shown on the preceding page!), is explained by the fact that the Su-24s were ferried to Ostrov for storage from various units and all three bombers obviously belonged to different regiments.

Close-up of the PTB-3000 on the centre­line hardpoint of Fencer-B “29 White”. The fins were set at more than 90° in order to provide adequate clearance between tank and wing/fuselage. Typically of the Soviet/Russian Air Force, drop tanks and such were marked with the aircraft’s tacti­cal code to stop them from being stolen and used on another aircraft – but clearly that did not always help; this drop tank comes from a sister ship coded 23! The yellow rectangles on the fuselage carry maintenance stencils.

Front view of Su-24 Fencer-B “29 White”. The canopy is closed by a heavy canvas cover which protects the Perspex from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, delaying the appearence of micro-cracks which gener­ate annoying reflections (this phenomenon is known as “silvering”).

The tails of these Fencer-As show how the Su-24 ’s rudder is cut away from below, with a radar warning receiver aerial at the base. On later versions the space between it and the fuselage was occupied by the brake parachute container which was moved up considerably.

Sukhoi Su-24Подпись: Another view of the Fencer-A lineup at Ostrov AB. Left to right: 26 White, 29 White No. 1, 29 White No. 2 (ex 43 White), 24 White and 74 Red. T Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24

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The Su-24’s wings were moved aft into fully swept position after landing to save space on the hardstand. This view shows the Su – 24’s large spoilers used for roll control.

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This Fencer-A (52 White) at Ostrov AB has had the entire forward fuselage wrapped in tarpaulins. The wraps bear the aircraft’s tactical code on a black circle. The aircraft is a late-production example, as indicated by the dorsal heat exchanger fairing usually found on later variants.

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Sukhoi Su-24As the wings are moved back into maximum sweep position the centre of gravity shifts aft, causing the Su-24 to assume a nose-up position. Fortunately, unlike some variable – geometry aircraft, even an unladen Fencer does not exhibit a tendency to tip over on its tail in this situation.

Sukhoi Su-24This Fencer-C undergoing maintenance has had a support placed under the tail – just in case. All wheel well doors are fully open. Note that skin panels mounting the centre portions of the ventral fins have been removed for access to some of the equip­ment in the rear fuselage.

Fencer-A “26 White” at Ostrov AB. The slope behind it faced with concrete slabs functions both as a revetment wall and as a jet blast deflector, allowing the engines to be run after the aircraft has been aligned with the taxiway.

This late-production Fencer-A (note heat exchanger) operated by the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet is rather more fortu­nate. When this picture was taken in 1998 it was fully operational and based at Gvardeyskoye AB in the Crimea which the Ukraine has leased to the Russian Naval Air Arm. Note the generally better surface fin­ish on this aircraft and the different design of the nosewheel mudguard. It is hard to say why a car tire has been place on top of the aircraft. The vehicle in the background is an APA-5 ground power unit on a Ural – 375D truck chassis.

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Sukhoi Su-24Подпись: ◄ Front view of a Fencer-C at Gvardeyskoye. The pilot’s PPV head-up display (HUD) is visible through the windshield. Sukhoi Su-24

Su-24 Fencer-C “23 White” on the hard – stand at Gvardeyskoye AB in the summer of 1998. This view illustrates the large, high – set brake parachute container and the fin leading edge air intake which are charac­teristic of the Fencer-B/C.

Preparations are in hand for another day’s flying training over the Black Sea as a gag­gle of Su-24s basks in the sun at Gvardeyskoye AB. The nearest aircraft is provided not with the usual tarpaulin but with a modern cockpit cover made of reflective metallised fabric which also keeps the cockpit from turning into a steam bath in the summer season.

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Подпись: Fencer-Cs “23 White", “01 White” and “21 White” await the next sortie. Note the drop tank resting on a wooden cradle next to the latter aircraft. ▼ Подпись:Sukhoi Su-24
Gvardeyskoye AB is a large and well – equipped base with a large flight line boasting an excellent surface and a con­crete-lined jet blast deflector, in post – Soviet days, however, it was not much used, and the arrival of the Russian Fencers (the Ukraine operates the type, too) was a welcome spell of activity. Note the bicycle leaned against the aircraft; ser­vicemen cycling around CIS airbases are a pretty common sight. Small wonder, as legging it around the place can get quite tiresome.

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Подпись: ◄ Three-quarters front view of Fencer-C «27 White» (c/n 2315337). Note the “clip-on” ladders. Built-in boarding steps were gen-erally rare on Soviet combat aircraft.. Подпись:Sukhoi Su-24A

Su-24s «01 White», «21 White» and «07 White» in the maintenance area at Gvardeyskoye AB. The second aircraft is unserviceable, being minus the port engine.

Another angle on the maintenance ramp, with a fourth aircraft («27 White») on the left. Note the trestle under the tail of Fencer-B «21 White». Fencer-Cs «01 White» and «27 White» are obviously recod­ed, the tactical code being applied over a blotch of darker paint.

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Fencer-C “28 White” (c/n 1715324) differs slightly in the design of the «goose» and undernose aerial from «27 White» on page 26. Interestingly, the port air intake cover comes from another example coded «26 White» (c/n 2215334).

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A trailer-mounted ground power unit stands beside Fencer-C «01 White» to pro­vide electric power during maintenance.

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Many operational Su-24s show consider­able signs of wear and tear, as exemplified by Fencer-C «27 White» at Gvardeyskoye. Note the unit badge beneath the wind­screen. Again, the aircraft is obviously recoded, the part of the intake body with the tactical code making a marked contrast with the rest of the weather-stained air­frame.

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A pair of Su-24Ms coded «53 Red» and «57 Red» makes a banked turn over the Volga River near Akhtoobinsk, seat of the Air Force Research Institute. The camera ship is a slow transport, so the bombers fly with the wings at 16° to keep formation.

This view of a Su-24M shows that the wing and stabilator leading edges are parallel when the wings are at 69° maximum sweep. The radome on this particular example is unspeakably dirty, and more dirt emanates from the wing glove fairings near the wing pivots. The retractable FPSh-5M refuelling probe is positioned on the centreline ahead of the windscreen. Note the white colour­ing of the wing/stabilator leading edges and the offset position of the dorsal heat exchanger.

Sukhoi Su-24Su-24M «67 White» parked at the Russian Navy Combat and Conversion Training Centre, OstrovAB. Note the red covers on the dipole aerial aft of the cockpit and the hemispherical sensor of the Mak-UFM missile warning sensor further aft.

Sukhoi Su-24Two more Su-24Ms, «64 White» and «68 White», under wraps at the Russian Navy Combat and Conversion Training Centre. Unlike the Fencer-As depicted earlier, these aircraft are not in storage but are actually based at Ostrov and belong to the 240th GvOSAP (Guards Independent Composite Air Regiment).

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Sukhoi Su-24Su-24M «66 White» is one of the Fencer-Ds belonging to the Russian Navy Combat and Conversion Training Centre. This example carries an L-080 Fantasmagoriya-A (Phantasm-A) electronic reconnaissance (ELI NT) pod on the centreline pylon.

Sukhoi Su-24Three more views of Su-24Ms «64 White» and «68 White». The main gear doors are fully open. Note the kinked nose gear door consisting of two parts, a characteristic feature of the Su-24M, and the curvature of the colour division line across the wing fences. Note that the tactical code is repeated on the «pig snout» plate at the tip of the nose pitot cover.

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In accordance with the 240th GvOSAP’s status Su-24M «66 White», seen here soak­ing under a horrendous downpour at Ostrov AB, wears a Guards badge (the old Soviet – style version) on the starboard side.

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Подпись: A Head-on view of a very late-production Fencer-D coded «94 Blue» (c/n 1241613), another 239th TsPAT machine.

This late Fencer-D, a Batch 10 aircraft (c/n 1041611?) belonging to the 239th TsPAT (Aviation Hardware Demonstration Centre) at Kubinka AB, represents the export ver­sion designated Su-24MK. The blue tactical code is noteworthy, but the dark green/ dark earth tactical camouflage with pale blue undersurfaces similar to the one worn by Iraqi Air Force examples is even more unusual for a Russian Air Force Su-24. Note the lack of wing fences on this aircraft.

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«94 Blue» is prepared for a mission amid a jumble of ground support equipment that

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brake parachutes on the left. 239th TsPAT Su-24MKs await the next sor-

tie. The Su-24 hardstand at Kubinka is well equipped, with an energy supply system obviating the need for mobile ground power units.

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Two more views of Su-24MK «94 Blue» (c/n 1241613) as is taxies out for a training sor­tie at Kubinka AB, the canopy still open. Unlike the other Fencers operated by the 239th TsPAT, this aircraft wears the stan­dard grey/white colour scheme. Also, this aircraft lacks the wing fences; these were removed from many Su-24s in service.

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«93 Blue», another camouflaged 239th TsPAT Su-24MK (c/n 1041623), taxies out for a training sortie. The aircraft is armed with S-25-OF heavy unguided rockets on the wing glove pylons and R-73 air-to-air missiles on the outer wing pylons. The «wet» centreline pylon mounts an UPAZ – 1A Sakhalin «buddy» refuelling pod allowing the Su-24 to refuel other tactical aircraft. The angular wing fences of «93 Blue» house APP-50 chaff/flare dispensers.

«94 Blue» is prepared for engine starting, using an APA-5D GPU in this instance; the brake parachute pack lies beside, ready for loading. The APA-5’s lateral cable booms swing out to the sides, allowing the vehicle to power up two aircraft at a time

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«92 Blue», the second of three camou­flaged Su-24MKs operated by the 239th TsPAT, fires up its Lyui’ka AL-21Fafterburn­ing turbofans at Kubinka on a bleak winter’s day. The aircraft shows signs of operational wear and tear, with weathered areas on the forward fuselage side touched up in fresher blue paint.

«92 Blue» taxies out, showing the steel plates protecting the inboard portions of the wing flaps from damage when they slide inside the wing gloves as wing sweep is changed.

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Due to the unit’s «showcase» nature the Su-24MKs at Kubinka AB were frequently displayed to various visiting military dele­gations and at open doors days. In the upper photo «91 Blue» is seen together with a Su-25 of the Nebesnyye Goosary (Celestial Hussars) display team which was disbanded soon afterwards.

Sukhoi Su-24Two more views of Su-24MK «91 Blue» during displays at Kubinka. The aircraft is fitted with six MBD3-U6-68 MERs (two of them in tandem on the

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Su-24M «11 White» (c/n 1141613) belong­ing to the Sukhoi OKB performs a simulat­ed refuelling of Su-30 «597 White» (c/n 79371010101) belonging to the Ispytateli (Celestial Hussars) display team of the Flight Research Institute during the MAKS-97 airshow.

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SU-24MK «93 Blue» (c/n 1041623) refuels a sister aircraft coded «91 Blue» during an open doors day at Kubinka AB.

Two Su-24Ms can take on fuel simultane­ously from an IL-78 tanker, as demonstrat­ed by Fencer-Ds «17 White» and «19 White» formating with IL-78M «30 Blue» over Kubinka AB.

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Su-24M «45 Red» is one of several operat­ed by the 968th IISAP (Instructional & Test Composite Air Regiment) which is part of the Russian Air Force’s 4th TsBP і PLS (Combat and Conversion Training Centre) in Lipetsk. Note the unit badge and the five mission markers on the nose applied to mark successful live weapons training sor­ties.

Su-24M «42 Red» is prepared for the day’s flying at Lipetsk AB. Like the other resident Fencers, the aircraft has been recoded. The GPU in this case is an APA-5DM based on a diesel-powered Ural-4320.

Sukhoi Su-24«41 Red», another 968th IISAP Su-24M (seen here sharing the ramp at Lipetsk with a Mikoyan MiG-29), wears 14 mission markers. It is equipped with a UPAZ-1A refuelling pod.

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Su-24M «41 Red» features APP-50 chaff/flare dispensers on the upper side of the rear fuselage to enhance the aircraft’s protection against heat-seeking missiles (see also page 44).

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Another view of the flight line at Lipetsk.

Подпись: Su-24Ms lined up under threatening skies at Lipetsk. Note the open brake parachute container clamshell doors on «47 Red».
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Interestingly, none of the 4th Combat and Conversion Training Centre’s Su-24Ms has the tactical code repeated on the fin, as is customary in the Russian Air Force. On the other hand, the tactical code is repeated on the nose gear door, which is certainly unusual.

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The flight line in Lipetsk is equipped with removable jet blast deflectors made of steel. This type of structure is more com­mon at Soviet/CIS airbases than the «built – in» version of the kind seen at OstrovAB.

Although the Su-24M’s entire nose ahead of the windshield is painted white, not all of it is dielectric. Here the extent of the actual radome is clearly visible, as the special radio-transparent white paint used on dielectric fairings has become so weath­ered as to turn a dirty grey colour.

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This view of a Su-24M shows the wings at minimum sweep, the high-lift devices (slot­ted flaps and leading-edge slats) and the four underfuselage hardpoints (two in tan­dem and two side by side). The foremost pylon and the two side-by-side pylons are fitted in this case. The airbrakes/main gear doors are just about to close as the aircraft «cleans up» after take-off.

 

Su-24M «44 Red» «burns rubber» at the moment of touchdown in Lipetsk. This is one of several Fencer-Ds upgraded by the Russian avionics/weapons integrator Gefest & T. The mid-life update can be identified by the faired chaff-flare dis­pensers on top of the aft fuselage; the fair­ings have small air intakes at the front. The aircraft carries RBK-500 cluster bombs on the centreline pylons.

 

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Sukhoi Su-24Close-up of the Gefest & T logo on the air intake ofSu-24M «40 Red», another exam­ple upgraded by the company. Note the «cross-hairs» in the middle of the Cyrillic letter F.

The Su-24Ms of the 4th TsBP і PLS are by far the most actively flying Fencers in Russia, surpassing even those the naval examples based at OstrovAB.

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The Su-24Ms of the 968th IISAP wear a badge depicting a rampant bull with the word «Vsegda» («always» in Russian). The badge signifies readiness to take on any adversary, anytime, anywhere (equvalent to the «Semper paratus» motto of some Western squadrons). A more unofficial interpretation is «we’ll have everybody, everywhere, every time and in every possi­ble way».

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Sukhoi Su-24Su-24Ms «45 Red», «46 Red» and «40 Red» make a smoky flypast in echelon starboard formation. All three aircraft carry small bombs on the centreline; a minimum ord­nance load is enough for weapons training.

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The Su-24M served as a basis for the Su-24MR Fencer-E reconnaissance air­craft. This head-on view shows the recon­naissance version’s characteristic asym­metric external stores arrangement with a Efir – 1M electronic intelligence (ELINT) pod on the starboard wing pylon and a dual missile rack with two R-60 AAMs for self – defence under the port wing.

The Su-24MR has a much smaller nose radome, as revealed by the discolouration of the dielectric parts on the T6MR-1 pro­totype («26 White») converted from a Fencer-A (c/n 0115305). The space aft of it is occupied by a Shtyk MR-1 side-looking aircraft radar (SLAR) with elongated flush dielectric panels. The prototype lacked the IFR probe of production examples.

Sukhoi Su-24The nose of the Su-24MR is painted white right up to the windshield, just as on the regular Fencer-D, in order to conceal its special nature from the adversary’s aerial reconnaissance and space surveillance assets. This example coded «15 White» carries an Shpil’-2M laser line-scan pod on the centreline pylon. The white «hump» on the dorsal heat exchanger fairing is not a cap of snow but a dielectric panel. Note that the drop tanks apparently come from another aircraft; even writing the tactical code in really huge digits does not help!

Su-24MR «12 White», seen here at the moment of rotation, carries a large photo reconnaissance/ELINT pod on the centre­line pylon.

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This Su-24MR coded «40 Yellow» (c/n 0941648) is used as a demonstrator by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and based in Zhukovskiy, hence the flashy colour scheme in the Russian flag colours of fhite, blue and red. Here the aircraft is fitted with a PHOTINT/ELINT pod; the open camera port is visible here.

Su-24MR c/n 0941648 in the static park of MosAeroShow-92. In this instance it car­ries an Shpil’-2M pod; this near head-on persoective illustrates the pod’s elliptical cross-section. Note that the AAM adapter under the starboard wing is the wrong one, i. e., it is intended for the starboard side (the upper missile should be on the outer side!).

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This view of the Su-24MR demonstrator at MosAeroShow-92 shows to advantage the special colour scheme.

 

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Su-24MR «40 Yellow» (c/n 0941648) – this time with no external stores – takes off from Zhukovskiy’s runway 12 fora demon­stration flight during one of the MAKS air – shows.

«40 Yellow» completes its landing roll on runway 30 at Zhukovskiy. The aircraft is a regular participant of the flying programme during Moscow airshows.

Su-24MR «40 Yellow» passes in front of the crowd. Note the Vee shape of the colour division lines on the underside and the dirty marks sloping downwards from the stabila – tor pivots (a result of the stabilators’ habit of«bleeding» down to maximum deflection when the engines are inoperative).

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The other special mission derivative of the Su-24M was the Su-24MP Fencer-F elec­tronic countermeasures aircraft. This view shows the square-shaped dielectric panels on the sides of the nose (hiding jammer antennas), the characteristic ECM aerials under the nose and on the air intakes, and the centreline Fasol’ jammer pod.

Sukhoi Su-24The few Su-24MPs were stationed in the Far East and the Ukraine (the latter aircraft were retained by the newly-independent Ukraine after the break-up of the Soviet Union). Here, a Russian Air Force Su-24MP in wraps sits on a snowbound ramp at Lipetsk. Note that the outer wings are wrapped up, too.

Sukhoi Su-24This 4th TsBP і PLS Su-24MP coded «15 White» is apparently due to awaken from winter sleep and make a training flight; mechanics are about to remove the canvas covers from the airframe.

«15 White», a Ukrainian Air Force Su-24MP, sits in front of a hardened aircraft shelter (HAS) at Chortkov AB. The immaculate fin­ish on this aircraft is noteworthy.

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Подпись: As is the case with the Su-24MR, the nose of the Su-24MP is painted entirely white to disguise its role and hopefully prevent its from being specially chosen as a target. ◄
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Another view of Ukrainian AF Su-24MP «15 White». The nose gear doors are open for maintenance. The 118th OAPREB (Independent ECM Regiment) at Chortkov operating the type transitioned to the Su-24MP from the Yakovlev Yak-28PP.

Sukhoi Su-24This Ukrainian Air Force Su-24M coded «19 White» carries UAF roundels on the forward fuselage (which makes an interesting com­parison with the aircraft on the opposite page) and dragon artwork. Note the L-080 Fanmtasmagoriya-A ELINTpod on the cen­treline station.

Ukrainian Air Force Su-24 Fencer-B «49 White» (c/n 1615324) undergoing mainte­nance at its home base, Chortkov AB. The radome swings open to port, revealing the two antenna dishes; the larger one is for the Puma fire control radar while the small one underneath is for the terrain following radar.

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Two more views of Ukrainian Air Force Su – 24 «49 White» (c/n 1615324) unbuttoned for maintenance, showing the positioning of the UAF roundels on the wings and the removable panels on the upper fuselage for access to the control runs and other systems.

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The nighbouring aircraft coded «50 White» is also being worked upon. The drop tank is inscribed «50 starboard» but the «5» has almost vanished – though it is hard to say why.

The Ukrainian Air Force also managed to keep some Fencer-As flying, as illustrated by «65 White» here. Note the variance in the shield-and-trident tail insignia on individual aircraft; the crudely overpainted red star is showing from under the UAF insignia on this one. The panels carrying the middle por­tions of the ventral fins are removed, show­ing that «65 White» is a bit unairworthy for the time being.

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Soviet/CIS Air Force tactical bomber units sometimes operated a mix of different Su-24 versions, as illustrated by Fencer-A «65 White» sharing the flight line with a Fencer-C. The removed access panels with the middle portions of the ventral fins are lying behind the aircraft.

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The Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) was one of the few export cus­tomers for the Su-24. Apart from the Su – 24MKs delivered directly from Russia, the IRIAF retained several ex-Iraqi examples which sought shelter in neutral Iran at the closing stage of the 1991 Gulf War. Here, IRIAF Su-24MKs serialled 3-6853 (above) and 3-3810 (right) are seen at military hard­ware exhibitions at Teheran International airport.

Two IRIAF SU-24MK (3-6807 and 3-6811) cruise over the snow-covered mountains of northern Iran. These photos illustrate the two-tone camouflage worn by export Fencers.

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The rear fuselage and tail unit of the Fencer-A, the first production version of the Su-24, showing the low-set brake para­chute container. This particular aircraft serving as a ground instructional airframe at the Ukrainian Air Force Technical School near Kiev is the T6-19 development aircraft («619 White»; c/n 0215307?). Note the photo calibration marking on the tail.

This view clearly illustrates the difference in rear end treatment between the Fencer-A (background) and the Fencer-C. Note the antenna and cooling air intake built into the latter aircraft’s fin leading edge.

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The rear fuselage and tail unit of the Su-24M (illustrated here by 239th TsPAT «92 Blue»), except for the shorter, upward – curved fuel jettison pipes.

 

Close-up of the Su-24M’s brake parachute container, with the radar homing and warn­ing system (RHAWS) antenna array above

 

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Подпись: ◄ The Su-24 has four underwing hardpoints. This particular example features non-stan-dard wing glove pylons allowing two stores to be carried on each inboard station. Sukhoi Su-24Подпись: I
The outer wing pylons rotate as wing sweep changes, remaining parallel to the fuselage axis. This aircraft carries 32-round UB-32 rocket pods for firing 57-mm S-5 folding – fin aircraft rockets (FFARs).

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MBD3-U6-68 multiple ejector racks can be carried on any of the Su-24’s hard points. Up to six of these MERs can be fitted at a time for carrying FAB-250 HE bombs. The starboard one of the two elongated ventral fairings visible in the left photo houses a 30- mm Gryazev/Shipoonov GSh-6-30 six-bar­rel Gatling cannon; the muzzle opening is closed by «eyelid» shutters.

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Double launcher adapters for R-73 air-to – air missiles can be carried on the outer wing pylons. These are usually fitted to the Su-24MR (here, «40 Yellow», c/n 0941648) and Su-24MP.

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The Su-24’s hefty wing pivot box is manu­factured as a singe whole with the fuse­lage. This is the port wing pivot and the riv­eted structure around it. Note the shallos strake which organses the airflow around the wing/fuselage joint.

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Up to three 3,000-litre (660 Imp. gal.) PTB-3000 drop tanks can be carried on the fuselage and inner wing hardpoints. Small canards with negative incidence are fitted at the front to facilitate separation when the tank is jettisoned.

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Подпись: ◄ The «goose» of the Fencer-A/B/C - the characteristic L-shaped strut carrying the pitot, ILS aerial and ESM antennas. Sukhoi Su-24

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Sukhoi Su-24Close-up of the antenna dishes of the Orion-A fire control radar and the Rei’yef terrain following radar below it forming the PNS-24 Tigr navigation/attack avionics suite. The antenns are mounted on a solid frame which swings out to starboard for access to the radar sets. The stencils on the antenna dishes read «Attention! Tuned, do not touch». Note also the V-shaped win­dow of the TP-23E infra-red seeker.

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The Su-24 features a sharply swept two – piece windshield made of strong polycar­bonate. It is designed to minimise drag at high speed and withstand birdstrikes which are quite likely during low-level dashes. Note the PVD-7 pitot head in line with the windshield.

The two halves on the canopy can be opened individually, leaving a splitter run­ning down the middle. The construction number is normally stencilled on this (though not on this particular aircraft).

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Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Подпись: ► The Su-24 has a levered-suspension twin- wheel nose gear unit equipped with a mud/snow/slush guard to prevent engine damage on semi-prepared runways. Подпись:Sukhoi Su-24Close-up of the faired centreline pylons carrying MBD3-U6-68 MERs.

Close-up of the Chaika (Seagull) under­nose forward-looking infra-red seeker (FLIR)/laser ranger window and Filin (Horned owl) ESM antennas.

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

The instrument panel of the Su-24 featured illuminated push-button switches; some of the engine instruments are of the vertical strip type. The diagram in the centre with the aircraft silhouette and radial beams is the RHAWS indicator.

Overall view of the cockpit. The naviga – tor/weapons systems officer (WSO) sits on the right, detecting targets on the orange – coloured radar screen and the display above it. This aircraft is c/n 1215301 (note «12-01» stencilled in the WSO’s footwell).

Sukhoi Su-24
Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24
A

Another view of the cockpit with its conven­tional electromechanical flight instruments. The throttles are on the captain’s side con­sole.

As the Su-24 can only land safely with the wings at minimum sweep, a read emer­gency wing actuating handle is located on the l/l/SO’s instrument panel to the left of the airspeed indicator.

Подпись: ■fN i I A.I m ^ ■ і Pi 1, V7

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Aptly coded «62 Yellow», the T6-2I was the first variable-geometry prototype.

 

The T6-27 during weapons trials. The aircraft is a Fencer-B.

 

«40 White», a 149th Guards Fighter Regiment Su-24 Fencer-B which saw action in Afghanistan, operating out of Kokaidy, Uzbekistan. Note the 13 mission markers.

 

Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Sukhoi Su-24

Another Su-24M in a highly unusual colour scheme applied in the early 1990s. Note the «eyes» painted on the forward fuselage for bird-scaring. The Russian flag addition to the red star was short-lived.

 

A Ukrainian Air Force Su-24MR. Note the old-style round tail

insignia and the Guards badge.

 

An Iraqi Air Force (a! Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-lraqiya) Su-24MK serialled 24246.

 

Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24Sukhoi Su-24

A production Su-24M with the wings at 69" sweep.

Type 150

Type 150

Purpose: Experimental jet bomber.

Design Bureau: OKB-1, Podberez’ye and later at Kimry, General Director from October 1948 S M Alekseyev.

The first official history of OKB-1 to be pub­lished (in Kryl’ya Rodiny for December 1987, written by I Sultanov) stated that it was led by Alekseyev, whose own OKB had been closed, and that this aircraft was ‘designed in close collaboration with CAHI (TsAGI), the leading experts on aerodynamics and struc­tures being V N Belyayev, AI Makarevskii, G P Svishchev and S A Khristianovich’. At the end it briefly noted that ‘a group from Ger­many, led by B Baade, participated…’ It would have been more accurate to explain that OKB-1 was specifically formed on 22nd October 1946 in order to put to use several hundred German design engineers, led by Prof Brunolf Baade and Hans Wocke, who had been forcibly taken with their families to a location 120km east of Moscow where they were put to work in a single large office block. For the first three years they were fully occu­pied on the Types 131 and 140 described pre­viously. However, mainly because of doubts that the forward-swept wing would ever be
made to work, even before they left Germany they had completed preliminary drawings for a bomber of similar size but with a conven­tional backswept wing. By 1948 this had be­come an official OKB-1 project, called 150. The original Chief Designer was P N Obrubov, but Alekseyev took his place when he arrived. Workers were increasingly transferred to the 150, which grew in size and weight from the original 25 tonnes to produce a bomber inter­mediate between the IL-28 and Tu-16. The brief specification issued by the WS called for a take-off weight between 38 and 47 tonnes, a maximum speed rising from 790 km/h at sea level to 970km/h at 5km, a service ceiling of 12.5km and a range varying with bomb load from 1,500 to 4,500km (932 to 2,796 miles). Only a single flight article was funded, and this had to wait a year for its en­gines. At last it was flown by Ya I Vernikov on 14th May 1951. On Flight 16 on 9th May 1952 the aircraft stalled on the landing approach, and though the aircraft was marginally re­pairable nobody bothered, because of the clearly greater potential of the Tu-88 (proto­type Tu-16). The dice were in any case loaded against a German-designed aircraft. In late 1953 Baade and most of the Germans re­
turned to their own country, where in Dres­den they formed a company called VEB which used the Type 150 as the [highly unsuitable] basis for the BB-152 passenger airliner.

A modern all-metal aircraft, the 150 had a shoulder-high wing with a fixed leading edge swept at 35°. As this wing had hardly any taper the tips were extraordinarily broad, leaving plenty of room for slim fairings housing the re­tracted tip landing gears. The concept of tan­dem centreline landing gears with small wheels at the wingtips had been evaluated with Alekseyev’s own I-215D. At rest the wing had anhedral of-4°, reduced to about -1° 20′ in flight. Each wing had two shallow fences from the leading edge to the slotted flap. Out­board were three-part ailerons. The fuselage was of circular section, tapering slightly aft of the wing to oval. Fixed seats were provided in the pressurized forward section for two pilots, a navigator/bombardier and a radio operator who also had periscopic control of a dorsal turret with two NR-23 cannon. Underthe floor was the RPB-4 navigation/bombing radar, with twin landing lamps recessed in the front. Behind this was the steerable twin-wheel nose gear. Next came the large bomb bay, 2.65m (8ft Sin) wide and high and 7m (23ft)

long, with a load limit of 6 tonnes (13,228 Ib). Next came the rear twin-wheel truck, which on take-off could be suddenly shortened to tilt the aircraft 3° 30′ nose-up for a clean liftoff. The large fin was swept at 45°, with a two-part rudder and carrying on top the 45°-swept tailplane and three-part elevators with dihe­dral of 8°. In the tail was a rear gunner with a turret mounting two NR-23 cannon. Under each wing was a forward-swept pylon carry­ing a Lyul’ka AL-5 turbojet rated at 4,600kg (lO. HOlb). A total of 35,875 litres (7,892 Im­perial gallons) of fuel was housed in eight cells along the upper part of the fuselage, and additional tanks could be carried in the bomb bay. On each side of the rear fuselage was a door-type airbrake. Like almost everything else these surfaces were operated electrical­ly, the high-power duplicated DC system in­cluding an emergency drop-out windmill generator. Each flight-control surface was op­erated by a high-speed rotary screwjack.

Подпись: Three views of 150. Type 150Though flight testing revealed some buffet­ing and vibration, especially at full power at high altitude, the numerous innovations in­troduced on this aircraft worked well. Never­theless, it would have been politically undesirable for what was essentially a Ger­man aircraft to be accepted for production. Thus, hitting the ground short of the runway was convenient.

Dimensions

Span

24.1m

79 ft 1 in

Length (excluding guns)

26. 74 m

87 ft 8% in

Wing area

125m2

1,346ft2

Weights

Empty

23,064kg

50,84715

Loaded

54 tonnes

119,00015

Performance

Maximum speed

at sea level,

850 km/h

528 mph

at 10 km (32,808 ft)

930 km/h

578 mph

Service ceiling about

13km

42,650ft

No other data, except that design range (see a5ove) was exceeded.

 

Type 150

 

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colourSoviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Top: Mikoyan Ye-4 with RD-9I engine Centre: Mikoyan Ye-2A Bottom: Mikoyan Ye-5

 

Photographs on the opposite page: Top: Mikoyan I-3U in late 1956. Bottom: Mikoyan I-7U.

 

Soviet X-Planes. in colourSoviet X-Planes. in colour

♦Ир fifty іНМІ -*

 

;ч2йСЬЄЄі

 

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Top: Mikoyan Ye-152/Awith K-9 missiles.

Right and bottom: Two views of the Mikoyan Ye-152P.

Photographs on the opposite page:

Top and centre: Two views of the Mikoyan Ye-8/2.

Soviet X-Planes. in colourBottom: Mikoyan Ye-50/3.

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Подпись:Soviet X-Planes. in colourPhotographs on the opposite page:

Top: Mikoyan Ye-152M (Ye-166) record version at Monino.

Centre. MiG-211/1 ‘Analog’.

Bottom: MiG-21PD (’23-31′).

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Top: One ofthe Myasischev M-17 prototypes at Monino

Подпись: Opposite page: Three views of the Mikoyan 'I-44'.

Soviet X-Planes. in colourAbove, right and below: Three views of the Myasischev M-55.

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

 

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Подпись:Soviet X-Planes. in colourPhotographs on the opposite page:

Top and centre left: Two views of the Myasischev VM-T.

Centre left and bottom: Two views of the Sukhoi T-4 (‘101’).

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colourSoviet X-Planes. in colour

Подпись: Top: Sukhoi S-22I test-bed. Centre left: Sukhoi T10-3. Centre right: Sukhoi T10-24. Bottom: Sukhoi T10-20 record version at Khodynka. Photographs on the opposite page:

Top and centre: Two views of the Sukhoi P-42 record aircraft.

Bottom left and right: Two views of the Sukhoi Su-27UB-PS test-bed.

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

 

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

 

 

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Three views of the Sukhoi S-37, the lower two taken at the MAKS-99 air show. ,

Soviet X-Planes. in colourPhotographs on the opposite page: Top: Sukhoi Su-37 (T10M-11). Bottom: Sukhoi Su-37 ‘Berkut’.

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Soviet X-Planes. in colour

Top: Tupolev Tu-155 test-bed at Zhukovskii.

 

Cen/re: YakovlevYak-141 at Khodynka.

Bottom: YakovlevYak-141 second prototype.

 

Soviet X-Planes. in colourSoviet X-Planes. in colour

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BOK-2, RK

Purpose: To test designer’s experimental wing.

Design Bureau: Aircraft constructed by BOK to design of S S Krichevskii.

Sawa Syemenovich Krichevskii, called ‘a tal­ented designer’ by historian Shavrov, spent the early 1930s trying to create the most effi­cient aeroplane wing. He made many tunnel models, eventually settling on a wing of high aspect ratio constructed in front and rear sec­tions. The rear part was hinged to the front
with a small intervening gap acting as a slot. In flight, the intention was that the pilot would select the optimum angle for the rear portion, Shavrov commenting that ‘this wing could al­ways be flown in a drag-polar envelope’.

Krichevskii secured funding to build a re­search aircraft, called RK (Razreznoye Krylo, slotted wing) and designated BOK-2 by the construction bureau. The BOK-2 was complet­ed in 1935 and flew successfully, but Krichevskii died shortly afterwards. Documen­tation on this aircraft has never been found.

The BOK-2 was an extremely neat can­tilever monoplane, with a single M-l 1 engine rated at 11 Ohp. Shavrov comments that ‘The wing skin was polished to mirror brilliance [suggesting all-metal construction]…it is hard to say if its excellent performance was due to its drag-polar envelope or to its perfect aerodynamic shape’.

Despite its apparently excellent perfor­mance the RK appears to have had no impact on the Soviet aviation ministry.

No data available.

MiG I-250, MiG-13

Purpose: To boost the speed of a piston – engined fighter.

Design Bureau: The OKB-155 ofAI Mikoyan.

In 1942 the Central Institute for Aviation Mo­tors (often abbreviated as TsIAM) began to develop an unusual method of boosting the propulsive power of fighter aircraft. Called VRDK (from Russian for ‘air reaction auxiliary compressor’) it involved adding a drive from the main engine to an auxiliary compressor for a flow of air rammed in at a forward-fac­ing inlet. The compressed air was then ex­pelled through a combustion chamber and propulsive nozzle. This scheme was worked on by a team led by V Kh Kholshchevnikov. In January 1944 the governments of the UK and USA announced their possession of jet air­craft. In a near-panic response, the GKO (State Committee for Defence) ordered all the main Soviet fighter OKBs to build jet air­craft. Stalin criticised designers for not al­ready having such aircraft. As the only Soviet turbojet (the Lyul’ka VRD-2) was nowhere near ready for use, MiG and Sukhoi were as­signed the urgent task of creating prototype fighters to use the VRDK booster system. Both quickly came to the conclusion that the VRDK method could not readily be applied to any of their existing fighters, and both designed spe­cial (quite small) fighters to investigate it. The MiG aircraft was called N by the OKB, and given the official designation I-250. The pro­ject was assigned to G Ye Lozino-Lozinskii. A mock-up was approved on 26th October

1944, and after frantic effort the ‘N’ Nol was rolled out painted white on 26th February

1945. OKB pilot A P Dyeyev began the flight – test programme on 3rd March. Soon the magic 800km/h mark was exceeded, and Mikoyan presented Dyeyev with a car. VRDK operation was generally satisfactory but deaf­eningly noisy. On 19th May a tailplane failed at low level and the ‘N’ Nol crashed. By this time ‘N’ No2 was almost ready to fly. Painted dark blue, with a yellow nose and horizontal streak, it was restricted to 800km/h to avoid a repetition ofthe failure. Stalin had meanwhile ordered that a ‘regiment’ of ten of these air­craft should fly over Red Square on 7th No­vember, October Revolution Day. ‘N’ No 2 was tested by LII pilot A P Yakimov, assisted by OKB pilot A N Chernoburov. This aircraft was written off in a forced landing in 1946. The hastily built ten further I-250s were tested by IT Ivashchenko. On 7th November nine were ready, but the flypast was cancelled be­cause of bad weather. In late 1946 Factory No 381 was given an order for 16 fully equipped fighter versions, designated MiG – 13. Factory testing of these took place in May-

July 1947,1 M Sukhomlin carried out NIl-WS testing between 9th October 1947 and 8th April 1948, and these aircraft were then deliv­ered to the A V-MF. They served with the Baltic and Northern Fleets until 1950.

Aircraft N bore little similarity to any previ­ous MiG design. Made entirely of metal, with a stressed-skin covering, it was smaller than most fighters, whereas its predecessors had been larger. The straight-tapered wing had a CAHI 10%-thick laminar aerofoil, with two spars and plate ribs. Movable surfaces com­prised two-part Frise ailerons and hydrauli­cally operated CAHI slotted flaps. The fuselage was relatively deep to accommodate the unique propulsion system. The engine was a VK-107, rated at l,650hp for take-off and l,450hp at 3,500m (12,470ft). At the front it was geared down to drive the AV-5B three – blade constant-speed propeller of 3.1m (10ft 2in) diameter. At the back it drove the en­gine’s own internal supercharger as well as a clutch which, when engaged, drove through 13:21 step-up gears to a single-stage axial compressor. This pumped air through a large duct from a nose inlet. Just behind the com­pressor was the engine’s cooling radiator. Be­hind this were seven nozzles from which, when the auxiliary compressor was engaged, fuel from the main tanks was sprayed and ig­nited by sparking plugs. The resulting flame filled the large combustion chamber, from which a high-velocity jet escaped through a two-position nozzle. Downstream of the burners the entire duct was refractory steel, and when the VRDK was in operation its walls were cooled by water sprayed from a 78 litre (17 Imperial gallon) tank, the steam adding to the thrust. At 7,000m (22,966ft) the VRDK was estimated to add l,350hp, to a total of 2,500hp. The oil cooler surrounded the pro­peller gearbox, with flow controlled by gills round the top of the nose. The engine was mounted on a steel-tube truss. Fuel was housed in three self-sealing tanks, one of 415 litres (91.3 Imperial gallons) in the fuselage and one of 100 litres (22.0 Imperial gallons) in each wing. The large central tank forced the cockpit to be near the tail, with a sliding canopy. The metal-skinned tail was repeat­edly modified, the small elevators having a tab on the left side. A unique feature of the main landing gear was that the wheels were carried on single levered-suspension arms projecting forward from the leg. The tail – wheel was fully retractable. Even the first air­craft, called ‘N’ Nol, was fully armed with three B-20 cannon, each with 160 rounds. The MiG-13 batch differed in having a larger verti­cal tail, larger fuel and water tanks, RSI-4 radio with a wire antenna from the fin to a mast projecting forwards from the wind­screen, and (temporarily) strange curved pro­peller blades in an attempt to reduce tip Mach number.

These aircraft performed as expected, but were a dead-end attempt to wring the last bit of performance from piston-engined fighters.

Dimensions (I-250)

Span

Length

Wing area

9.5m

8.185m

15.0m2

31 ft 2 in 26 ft 1 OX in 161 ft2

Weights

Empty

2,935kg

6,470.5 Ib

Fuel/oil/water

450/80/75 kg

992/176/165 Ib

Loaded

3,680 kg

8,1131b

Performance

Max speed at sea level

620km/h

385 mph

at 7,000 m (22,966 ft)

825 km/h

513 mph

Time to climb to 5,000 m

3.9 min

(16,404ft)

Service ceiling

11,960m

39,240ft

(without VRDK)

10,500m

34,450 ft

Range (with briefVRDK)

920km

572 miles

(no VRDK)

1,380km

858 miles

Take-off speed/

200 km/h

124 mph

run

400m

1,312ft

Landing speed/

150 km/h

93 mph

run

515m

1,690ft

Dimensions (MiG – 13)

Span

9.5m

31 ft 2 in

Length

8.185m

26ftlOXin

Wing area

15.0m2

161 ft2

Weights

Empty

3,028kg

6,675 Ib

Fuel/oil/water

590/80/78kg

1,301/1 76/172 Ib

Loaded

3,931 kg

8,666 Ib

Performance

Max speed at sea level

620 km/h

385 mph

at 7,000m (22,966 ft)

825 km/h

513 mph

Time to climb to 5,000 m

3.9 min

(16,404 ft)

Service ceiling

11,960m

39,240 ft

without VRDK

10,500m

34,450ft

Range (with brief VRDK)

1,818km

1,130 miles

(no VRDK)

1,380km

858 miles

Take-off speed/

200 km/h

124 mph

run

400m

1,312ft

Landing speed/

195 km/h

121 mph

run

515m

1,690ft

Photographs on the opposite page:

Top: I-250 Nol.

Centre: I-250 No 2.

Bottom: Production MiG-13 (straight propeller blades).

I-250 No I/No 2, MiG-13

 

I-250 inboard profile

 

MiG I-250, MiG-13MiG I-250, MiG-13MiG I-250, MiG-13

Sukhoi Su-5,I-107

Purpose: To create an interceptor with piston engine plus VRDKpropulsion.

Design Bureau: P O Sukhoi, Moscow.

The urgent demand for faster fighters, to meet the competition of German and Allied jets re­vealed in January 1944, is given in the story of the Mikoyan I-250 (N). Apart from Mikoyan Sukhoi was the only designer to respond to this call, and (because the propulsion system was the same) he created a very similar air­craft. Two examples were funded, the second being used for tunnel testing at CAHI (TsAGI). The red-painted flight article first flew – it is be­lieved, at Novosibirsk – on 6th April 1945, a month after its rival. On 15th July 1945 the test programme was interrupted by failure of the main engine, and the opportunity was taken to fit a new wing with CAHI (TsAGI) laminar pro­file. In August the replacement engine failed. As no replacement VK-107A was available, and such aircraft were by this time outmoded, the test programme was discontinued.

The Su-5 was a conventional fighter of its time, notable only for its small size and deep fuselage to accommodate the VRDK duct. The second wing fitted had a 16.5-per-cent CAHI 1VI0 profile at the root, thinned down to 11 per cent NACA-230 near the tip. It was made in three parts, with bolted joints outboard of the landing gears. The split flaps spanned this joint. The Frise ailerons were fully balanced, the port surface having a trim tab. Most of the fuselage was occupied by the propulsion sys­tem. The VK-107A engine, rated at l,650hp, drove a four-blade 2.89m (9ft 5%in) propeller, with a clutched rear drive to a 13:21 step-up gearbox to the VRDK compressor. In the duct were the carburettor inlets, radiator, seven combustion chambers and double-wall pipe of heat-resistant steel leading to a variable propulsive nozzle. The No 2 aircraft had a cir­cular multi-flap nozzle projecting behind the fuselage. In the left inner wing was a broad but shallow inlet for the ducted oil cooler, with exit under the wing. This required a modified upper door to the left landing gear, with 650 x 200 tyres and track of3.15m (10ft 4in). The tail – wheel, with 300×125 tyre, retracted into an open asbestos-lined box in a ventral fairing. The rudder and inset-hinge elevators all had spring-tab drives. The cockpit had 10mm (%in) back armour and a sliding canopy, the No 2 air­craft having a transparent rear fairing. Three tanks housed 646 litres (142 Imperial gallons) of fuel, consumed in lOmin of VRDK opera­tion. Armament comprised one NS-23 with 100 rounds and two UBS with 400 rounds above the engine.

Подпись: Su-5 No 2 (upper side view, Nol)Подпись:Sukhoi Su-5,I-107Подпись: Below: Su-5 No 2. Sukhoi said later this aircraft was a ‘non­starter’ from the outset.

Soviet x-plenes

Introduction

F

or over 70 years from 1918 the world’s largest country was tightly controlled by a tiny group of elderly men in The Kremlin, in Moscow. Their power was absolute. They could take giant decisions, and so could make giant mistakes. They also sometimes found they had to choose between diametri­cally opposed objectives. While on the one hand aviation was a marvellous instrument for propaganda, trumpeting the achieve­ments of the Soviet Union, the underlying theme of Soviet society was of rigid secrecy.

Thus, when The Great Patriotic War began on 22nd June 1941 the outside world knew very little about Soviet aircraft. The knowledge was confined largely to the mass-produced Polikarpov biplane fighters and Tupolev monoplane bombers, and to the ANT-25 monoplane designed to break world distance records. Only very gradually did it become apparent that the austere and sombre Land of the Soviets (this was the name of a record­breaking bomber) was home to an incredible diversity of aircraft.

Other countries – the USA, France, Britain, Italy and increasingly Germany – had numer­ous aircraft companies from which flowed many hundreds of different types of aircraft. They also had individuals who sometimes managed to create aircraft and even form tiny companies, but the aircraft were invariably conventional lightplanes aimed at the private owner. Few people in what became called The West’ would have dreamed that in Stal­in’s realm individuals could even set their sights on high-powered fast aircraft bristling with strange ideas.

At the same time, the Soviet Union was far from being the earthly paradise that was orig­inally intended. It is said that power corrupts, and the record shows that anyone who ‘stuck his head above the parapet’ was likely to get it cut off. It seems incredible that in 1936-40 Stalin should have been able to unleash what was called The Terror, in which anyone who might have posed the slightest threat – for ex­ample, any senior officer in any of the armed forces – was simply put through a show trial on invented charges and shot.

In the aircraft industry, time after time peo­ple who made mistakes, or in some way fell foul of someone more senior, were simply dismissed or even imprisoned (and in a few cases, executed). It is beyond question that this omnipresent air of repression did much to counter the natural enthusiasm of count­less workers who longed for their country to be the greatest on Earth, and a leader in ad­vanced technology. When one reads what happened it seems remarkable that so many diverse aircraft actually got built.

This book is the most comprehensive at­tempt yet to collect the stories of the more important of these X-Planes (experimental aircraft) into one volume. Of course, some of the strange flying machines featured were built after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but we did not want a ponderous title. Translation of the Communist state into an intensely capitalist one has tended to concentrate the mind wonderfully. Whereas 60 years ago Soviet designers could obtain funds for often bizarre ideas which a hard-nosed financial director would have considered an almost
certain non-starter, today Ivan at his modern keyboard and screen knows that if he gets it wrong his shaky firm will go out of business.

Ironically, instead ofbeing a closely guard­ed secret, the experimental aircraft and pro­jects of the Soviet Union are today better documented than those of many Western companies. The process of rationalization has seen almost all the famous names of the aircraft industries of the UK, USA and France disappear. In many cases, and especially in the UK, their irreplaceable archives have been wantonly destroyed, as being of no in­terest to current business. We may never know what strange things their designers drew on paper but never saw built. In con­trast, the Soviet Union never destroyed any­thing, unless there was a political reason for doing so. Accordingly, though this book con­centrates on hardware, it also includes many projects which were built but never flew, and even a few which never got off the proverbial drawing board.

As in several previous books, Yefim Gordon provided much information and most of the illustrations while Bill Gunston wrote the text and put the package together. The in-flight photograph of the MiG 1.44 featured on the jacket is from a Mikoyan video. A special vote of thanks is due to Nigel Eastaway and the Russian Aviation Research Trust who provid­ed the remainder of the visual images.

Sukhoi S-37 experimental fighter.

Soviet x-plenes

 

Grokhovskii G-37, ULK

Purpose: ‘Universal flying wing’.

Design Bureau: WS-RKKA Leningrad, Chief Designer Vladimir Rentel.

The numbering of’Grokhovskii’ aircraft is dif­ficult to interpret, and this aircraft preceded the G-31. The concept was that of a versatile aircraft for airborne assault, but it was soon evident that a Universalnoye Letayushchyeye Krylo, universal flying wing, would have wide commercial appeal. Construction was as­signed to Vladimir Rentel, who had the air­craft built in Grebno (rowing) port, Leningrad. It was taken to the airfield where from No­vember 1935 it was tested by VPChkalov, who was impressed. He later flew it to Moscow in 2hrs SOmin (average 250km/h, 155mph, which Shavrov says was ‘almost a record’). The G-37 was used for a long series of tests, including dropping of heavy loads.

The G-37 was a remarkably capable early example of an aeroplane designed to lift a de­tachable payload container (later types in­
cluded the Fi333, Miles M.68 and Fairchild XC-120). To save time the wing was that of an ANT-9 (PS-9), made of Kolchug duralumin with mainly corrugated dural skin, though the ailerons did not project beyond the wing tips. It is possible this wing came from a crashed PS-9 along with the 680hp BMW VI water – cooled V-12 engines, though these were in a different installation. The engine cowls were extended down into large trousers over the main landing gears, which contained the en­gine-cooling radiators. At the rear they extend­ed into tail booms, all these structures being of light alloy. Each boom had a tailwheel, and the twin-finned tail was duralumin with fabric cov­ering. On the centreline the wing was expand­ed into a small nacelle for the pilot and engineer. The underside of the centre wing was provided with attachments for a standard pre-loaded payload container, though no pho­tographs have been found with this in place. The completed G-37 was painted with gay stripes and stylized red stars and slogans.

There seems little doubt that this was an excellent and potentially versatile aircraft, and it is not known why it was never ordered for military or civil use.

Dimensions

Span

22.5m

73ft93/4in

(possibly for a develops:d version,

Shavrov cites)

23.7m

77 ft 9/4 ill

Length

13.85m

45 ft 5% in

(Shavrov)

16.0m

52 ft 6 in

Wing area

84.0m2

904 ft2

Weights

Empty

3,100kg

6,834 Ib

Loaded

5,700kg

12,566 Ib

Performance

Max speed at sea level

235km/h

146 mph

at 2,500m (8,200ft)

285 km/h

177 mph

Cruising speed at

2,500m (8,200 ft)

250 km/h

155 mph

Time to climb to 6 km

16min

(19,685ft)

Service ceiling

6,500 m

21,325ft

Landing speed

90 km/h

56 mph

Grokhovskii G-37, ULK

Three views of G-37 without payload container.

 

Grokhovskii G-37, ULKGrokhovskii G-37, ULK

MiG-21 PD, 23-31

Also designated MiG-21 PD, and known to the Mikoyan OKB as Izdeliye (product) 92, this was essentially a MiG-21 PFM fighter fitted with a lift-engine bay amidships. The early 1960s were a time when aircraft designers around the world were excited by the possi­bility of VTOL (vertical take-off and landing), which among other things enabled combat aircraft to avoid nuclear destruction by dis­persing away from known airfields. Dassault put eight lift engines into the Mirage to create

Ye-50/l

 

MiG-21 PD, 23-31MiG-21 PD, 23-31

Подпись: able walls, and auxiliary inlets under the wing leading edge. On each side of the nose, just behind the radar, was a canard foreplane of cropped delta shape, with anti-flutter rods similar to those ofthe Ye-6T/3. Normally free to align themselves with the airflow, at Mach numbers in excess of 1.00 they were locked at zero incidence. The effect was dramatic: at 15,000m (49,200ft) they enabled the acceleration in a sustained turn to be increased from 2.5 g to 5.1 g, and they gave significantly enhanced lift in all flight regimes. Other modifications included a slightly lowered horizontal tail and a large underfin which was folded to starboard when the landing gear was extended. All might have been well had not the design team elected also to exchange the R-l 1 engine for the immature R-21, from the Met- skhvarishvili KB, with afterburning rating of 7,200kg (15,873 Ib). Ye-8/1 was flown by Mosolov on 5th March 1962, and destroyed on 11 th September by catastrophic failure of the engine. Ye-8/2, which had blown flaps, first flew on 29th June 1962 but suffered so many engine faults this otherwise promising aircraft was abandoned.Подпись:

the world’s first Mach 2 VTOL. Mikoyan de­cided instead to build a STOL (short take-off and landing) MiG-21. The engine KB of P A Kolesov produced the simple RD-36-35, a lift turbojet rated at 2,350kg (5,181 Ib). It would only have needed four of these to give the MiG-21 VTOL capability, but instead Mikoyan installed just two. The fuselage was removed between Frames 12 and 28A and re­placed by a slightly widened fireproof bay housing the two lift engines. They were not pivoted but fixed at an inclination of 80°. Fuel was drawn from the (reduced) main tankage, and starting was by impingement jets using air bled from the R-11F2-300 main engine. The top of the bay was formed by a large lou – vred door hinged at the back. In STOL mode this door was pushed up by a hydraulic jack to provide unrestricted airflow to the lift en­gines. Each jet blasted down through a vec­toring box. Made of heat-resistant steel, this provided seven curved vanes under each lift jet. These were pivoted and could be vec­tored by the pilot through an angular range of some ±25° to provide forward thrust or brak­ing. The 23-31 was intended for exploring STOL, and for improved control at low air­speeds the main-engine bleed served reac­tion-control jets pointing down from under the nose and under each wingtip. The landing gears were fixed, and there was only one air­brake, of a new design, ahead of the lift-jet bay. Pyotr M Ostapenko made the first flight on 16th June 1966. He and BAOrlov both considered control at low airspeeds to be in­adequate, and Ostapenko said ‘For take-off you need maximum dry power on the main engine, but for landing you need full after­burner!’ This aircraft performed briefly at the Moscow Domodedovo airshow on 9th July 1967. It was then grounded.

Sukhoi T6-1

Sukhoi T6-1

Purpose: To create a superior tactical attack bomber.

Design Bureau: P O Sukhoi, Moscow.

As noted in the story of the S-22I (S-32), publi­cation of the formidable requirements for the USAF’s TFX programme spurred a response by the USSR. These requirements called for long range with a heavy bombload and the ability to make a blind first-pass attack at su­personic speed at low level ‘under the radar’. There was obvious need to replace the IL-28 and Yak-28, and the task appeared to call for either the use of a battery of special lift en­gines or a VG (variable-geometry, ie variable- sweep) wing. Sukhoi OKB was entrusted with this important task, and took a ‘belt and braces’ approach. To get something flying quickly it decided to put VG wings on the outstanding Su-7B, resulting in the S-22I described previ­ously. For the longer term it launched devel­opment ofa new aircraft, the S-6. This was first drawn in 1963, and it was to have a fixed swept wing, two Metskvarichvili R-21F-300 en­gines each with a wet afterburning rating of 7,200kg (15,873 Ib), pilot and navigator seated in tandem, and the Puma navigation and weapon-delivery system. Five hardpoints were to carry a load of 3 tonnes (6,614 Ib), take-off weight being 20 tonnes (44,090Ib), and maximum speed was to be l,400km/h (870mph) at very low level and 2,500km/h (l,553mph, Mach 2.35) at high altitude. Short­take-off capability was to be provided by two large take-off rockets. As a cover, and to assist
in obtaining funds more quickly, the S-6 was redesignated T-58M to look like a member of that interceptor family, but in 1964 it was ter­minated. This was partly because of in – tractible problems with the engine (see MiG Ye-8), and partly because of the good progress with the T-58VD (see previous). In early 1965 the S-6 was replaced by the T-6, later written T6. This was a significantly larger and more powerful aircraft, even surpassing the F-lll, which was in production by then. After rollout it was given the callsign Red 61 and first flown by the chief test pilot, Vladimir S Ilyushin, on 2nd July 1967. It was fitted with a battery of lift jets, as in the T-58VD, and it was immediately found that (as before) these caused aerody­namic and control difficulties. In 1968 the R-27 main engines were removed and the com­plete rear fuselage and powerplant systems modified to take the Lyul’ka AL-21F engine, with a maximum afterburning rating of 11,200kg (24,691 Ib). To improve directional stability the wingtips were tilted sharply down in TSR.2 fashion, the anhedral being 72°. Large strakes were added on each side of the rear fuselage, and the airbrakes deleted. To meet the needs of radar designers the nose radome was made shorter, with no significant effect on drag, and over the years numerous flush antennas and fairings appeared. Even after the decision was taken to change the design to have high-aspect-ratio ‘ swing wing s’ the T6-1 continued testing systems and equipment. In 1974, having made over 320 test flights, it was retired to the WS Museum at Monino.

In fact, the design ofthe T6-1 had been even more strongly influenced by the British TSR.2, with a fixed-geometry delta wing of short span and large area and fitted with powerful blown flaps. Before the first aircraft, the T6-1, was built the wing was modified with the leading – edge angle reduced from 60° to 45° outboard of the flaps, ahead of the conventional ailerons. As originally built, the large fuselage housed two Khachaturov (Tumanskii KB) R – 27F2-300 engines each with a wet afterburn­ing rating of 9,690kg (21,3651b), fed by sharp-edged rectangular side inlets with an inner wall variable in angle and throat area. Downstream of the inlets the fuselage had a broad box-like form able to generate a con­siderable fraction of the required lift at super­sonic speed at low level. Ahead of the inlets was an oval-section forward fuselage housing two K-36D seats side-by-side, as in the F-lll, an arrangement which was considered an ad­vantage in a first-pass attack and also to assist conversion training in a dual version. There were left and right canopies each hinged up­ward from the broad spine downstream. The width of the cockpit left enough space be­tween the engine ducts for a considerable fuel tankage as well as two pairs of RD-36-35 lift jets, installed in a single row as in the T-58VD. No attempt was made to bleed any engines to provide air for reaction-jet controls, because the T6-1 was not designed to be airborne at low airspeeds. The one-piece tailplanes were in fact tailerons, driven individually by KAU – 125 power units to provide control in roll as well as pitch. For operation from unpaved strips the levered-suspension main landing gears had twin wheels with tyres 900 x 230mm, retracting forwards into bays under the air ducts, while the steerable nose gear again had twin wheels, 600 x 200mm, with mudguards, retracting to the rear. At the ex­treme tail an airbrake was provided on each side, requiring a cutaway inboard trailing edge to the tailplanes, and between the jet nozzles under the rudder was a cruciform braking parachute. For the first time the avion­ics were regarded as a PNK, a totally integrat­ed navigation and attack ‘complex’, and the T6-1 played a major role in developing this. It was fitted with four wing pylons with inter­faces for a wide range of stores, as well as two hardpoints inboard of the main-gear bays, the maximum bombload being 5 tonnes (ll,0201b). The production Su-24 has eight hardpoints for loads up to 8 tonnes (17,637 Ib).

The T6-1 was a stepping-stone to a family of powerful and formidable aircraft which in 2000 are still in service with Russia and Ukraine. Unquestionably, the liftjets were not worth having.

Sukhoi T6-1

Sukhoi T6-1

Sukhoi T6-1Sukhoi T6-1Sukhoi T6-1Sukhoi T6-1

Подпись: T10-1 as built Подпись: DOD~TT

Sukhoi T6-1Purpose: To create a superior heavy fighter. Design Bureau: P O Sukhoi, Moscow.

In 1969 the IA-PVO, the manned interceptor defence force, issued a requirement for a to­tally new heavy interceptor. This was needed to replace the Tu-128, Yak-28P and Su-15 in defending the USSR against various cruise missiles, as well as the F-l 11 and other new Western fighters and tactical aircraft. A spe­cific requirement was to combine long-range standoff-kill capability with performance and combat agility superior in a close dogfight to any Western aircraft. The formal competition was opened in 1971. Though Mikoyan and Yakovlev were invited to participate, all the running was made by Sukhoi OKB, which was eager to move on from the T-4 and get a new production aircraft. With Sukhoi himself semi-retired, Yevgenii Ivanov was appointed chief designer, with Oleg Samolovich deputy. Sukhoi’s two rival OKBs made proposals, but did not receive contracts to construct proto­type aircraft to meet this requirement (though the standoff-kill demand was also addressed by the later M1G-25P variants and MiG-31).

Sukhoi submitted two alternative proposals. Both were broadly conventional single-seat twin-engined aircraft with ‘ogival Gothic’ wings (almost delta-shape but with a double­curved leading edge) and horizontal tails, the only new feature being twin vertical tails. One had side air inlets with horizontal ramps, while the other proposal had a fuselage blended into a wing mounted underneath and two complete propulsion systems mounted under the wing. A detail was that both had outstanding pilot view with a drooped nose and bulged canopy. As the wing was more akin to a delta than to a swept wing the project was given the designation T-l 0 in the T series (see T-3). The competitive design review was won by Sukhoi in May 1972. CAHI (TsAGI) had tunnel-tested T-10 models from 1969, and the work built up each year until 1974, demanding more tunnel test­ing than any previous Soviet aircraft except the Tu-144. It was the unconventional config­uration that was chosen, with the fuselage tapering to nothing above the wing and being replaced by large engine gondolas under­neath. Drawings for the first prototype, the

T10-1, were issued in 1975. Construction was handled by the OKB factory, except for wing and tail surfaces which were made at the OKB’s associated huge production facility named for Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin at Komsomolsk-na-Amur in Siberia. Vladimir Ilyushin began a successful flight-test pro­gramme on 20th May 1977. Investigation of basic handling, including high-AOA (angle of attack) flight, was completed in 38 flights by late January 1978. Four wing fences were added, together with anti-flutter rods on the fins and tailplanes. Many further flights ex­plored the FEW (fly-by-wire) flight controls and, after fitting no fewer than seven hard – points where pylons could be attached, the weapons control system. Red 10 was finally put on display in the Monino Museum. T10-2 began flying at the beginning of 1978, but a software error led to unexplored resonance which caused inflight breakup, killing Evgeny Solov’yov. By 1978 the OKB was busy with T10-3, the first prototype fitted with the defin­itive engine, and this was flown by Ilyushin on 23rd August 1979. In 1982 T10-3 was flown by OKB pilot Nikolai Sadovnikov from a simulated

Подпись: T10-1 after modernization.

aircraft-carrier ramp, and it later made hook – equipped simulated carrier landings. T10-4, first flown by Ilyushin on 31st October 1979, tested the new engines and avionics. So great was the need to test avionics that the Komso – molsk factory was contracted to build five further prototypes. These were designated T10-5, -6, -9, -10 and -11 (T10-7 and -8 were significantly modified). These additional pro­totypes were generally similar to T10-3, apart from the fact that the fins were canted out­wards. The T10-5 flew in June 1980, and the remainder were all on flight test by autumn 1982. Pavel Sukhoi died on 15th September 1975, and was succeeded as General Con­structor by Mikhail P Simonov. Soon after he took over, the first detailed information on the McDonnell Douglas F-15 became available. Computer simulations found that the T-10 did not meet the requirement that it should be demonstrably superior to the USAF aircraft. Simonov ordered what amounted to a fresh start, telling the author ‘We kept the wheels and ejection-seat’. Designated T-10S, from Seriynii, production, the new fighter can only be described as brilliant. Ever since the first pre-series example, the T10-17, was flown by Ilyushin on 20th April 1981 it has been the yardstick against which other fighters are judged. An enormous effort was made by Nil using T10-17 and T10-22 to clear the re­designed aircraft for production. The first true series aircraft, designated Su-27, was flown at Komsomolsk in November 1982.

The T-10 wing had 0° dihedral, and a sym­metric profile with a ruling thickness/chord ratio of 3.5 per cent, rising to 5 per cent at the root. The leading edge was fixed. It left the fuselage with a sharp radius and with a sweep angle of 79°, curving round to 41° over the outer panels and then curving back to Kiichemann tips. The main torsion box had three spars and one-piece machined skins. Most of the interior was pressurized and formed an integral tank, while high-strength ribs carried armament suspension points. The oval-section fuselage forward section was designed to accommodate the intended large radar, followed by the cockpit with a sliding canopy. Behind this came an equip­ment bay, followed by a humpbacked ‘forecastle tank’ and then a broad wing cen­tre-section tank which could be considered as part of both the wing and fuselage. A fur­ther tank was placed in the keel beam be­tween the engines. The latter were of the Lyul’ka AL-21F-3 type, each with an after­burning rating of 11,200kg (24,691 Ib). Each was placed in a large nacelle or gondola under the wing, tilted outward because of the inboard wing’s sharp taper in thickness. Each engine air duct was fed by a wedge inlet be­hind the leading edge, standing well away under the wing’s underskin to avoid swallow­
ing boundary-layer air. Each inlet contained a variable upper ramp, with auxiliary side inlets for use on take-off, and a curved lower por­tion. The large engine gondolas provided strong bulkheads on which were mounted the two vertical fins and the tailplanes. The AL-21 had its accessories mounted on top, and the massive structure and fins immedi­ately above made access difficult. From the third aircraft the engine was the Lyul’ka AL-31F, which had been specially designed for this aircraft. It had an afterburning rating of 12,500kg (27,557 Ib), and offered several other advantages, one being that it was half a tonne (1,100 Ib) lighter than the AL-21F. It had its accessories partly underneath and partly far forward on top, and the vertical tails were moved outboard away from the engine com­partments. The main landing gears had large (1,030 x 350mm) tyres on single legs and re­tracted forwards, rotating the wheel through 90° to lie flat in the root of the wing in a bay closed by side doors and large front doors which served as airbrakes. The tall nose gear had a single unbraked wheel with a 680 x 260mm tyre. It retracted backwards, and was fitted with an all-round mudguard to protect the engine inlets. The main-wheel wells re­quired a thick inboard section of the wing ad­jacent to the engine gondolas, and this was carried to the rear to provide strong beams to which the tailplanes (and in the redesigned aircraft the fins) were pivoted. The T-10 flight controls comprised conventional ailerons, two rudders and the independently con­trolled tailplanes. All these surfaces were dri­ven by power units each served by both the completely separated 210kg/cm2 (2,987 lb/in2) hydraulic systems. These systems also drove the plain flaps, landing gears (with indepen­dent airbrake actuation), nosewheel steering,
engine inlets and mainwheel brakes. The fly­by-wire system governed pitch control by the tailplanes used in unison, and provided three – axis stabilization. The mechanical controls worked directly by the pilot’s linkages to the surface power units governed the ailerons and rudder. The five internal fuel tanks were automatically controlled to supply fuel with­out disturbing the aircraft centre of gravity. A special oxygen system was provided to en­sure engine restart and afterburner light-up at high altitude. T10-1 was built with no provi­sion for armament, but in its modified state it had seven hardpoints on which external stores could be suspended.

Despite the fact that the basic aircraft had to be completely redesigned, the T-10 family of prototypes were stepping stones to the greatest fighter of the modern era.

Dimensions (T10-1 as built)

Span

Length

Wing area

14.7m 19.65m 59.0 nf

48 ft 2V, ill 64 ft 5K in

635 a2

Weights

Weight empty

18,200kg

40,123 Ib

Loaded

25,740kg

56,746 Ib

Performance

Max speed at sea level,

l,400km/h

870 mph (Mach 1.145)

at high altitude;

2,230 km/h

1,386 mph (Mach 2.1)

Service ceiling

17,500m

57,415ft

Range

3,100km

1,926 miles