Over the past few years, MiG-31 aircraft, available in parts of the air force, have been upgraded to design with the letters "BM". During the update, the equipment restores technical readiness, and also receives a set of modern devices and devices. At preservation of the main flight technical data, the upgraded MiG-31BM differs from the aircraft of the basic version with improved combat capabilities and an expanded nomenclature of armaments.
It is curious that the MiG-31BM project does not provide for a change in the type of available turbojet engines, with the result that the aircraft continue to fly with powerplants that are distinguished by a sufficiently large age. In the foreseeable future, this feature of operation may turn into a problem, but now there is a way out of a risky situation.
March 7 about the capabilities and intentions of the engine-building industry told the press the managing director of ODK-Perm Engines company Sergey Popov. The head of the company said that, if necessary, it is possible to restore the serial production of D-30F6 turbojet engines intended for MiG-31 interceptors. After receiving the order, the company will be able to resume the release of key systems and components.
S. Popov noted that he does not see anything difficult in solving such a task. Over the past three to four years, the Perm enterprise has fully restored the process of manufacturing units of the “hot” part of turbojet engines, i.e. proper turbines. As required can be restored and the manufacture of the compressor.
Also, the head of the engine-building plant recalled that the most active operation of the MiG-31 aircraft in the military leads to the appearance of corresponding challenges. It pushes the industry to develop the most efficient repair options for their engines. The production of D-30F6 products was discontinued for a long time, but “ODK-Perm Motors”, which previously produced them, can resume production of the main components and assemblies.
Engine nozzle D-30F6. The afterburner units are visible
History The D-30F6 engine dates back to the late sixties, when the development of a promising interceptor aircraft with the highest possible flight speed began. An aircraft capable of climbing 25-30 km and accelerating to 3000-3500 km / h required a special power plant. The development of the engine for the future MiG-31 was entrusted to the Perm engine-building design bureau, headed by P.A. Solovyov. The design of the new product was carried out using the solutions and units of the D-30 project. The development work continued until the mid-seventies, and in 1975, the experienced MiG-31 with two D-30-X6 engines took off for the first time.
The turbojet D-30F6 engine is built on a dual circuit with two shafts. The product design consists of seven modules, most of which can be replaced during operation. The only exception is the so-called. base module including high pressure compressor, two turbines and a combustion chamber. The air intake, low pressure compressor, housing, afterburner and nozzle are made in the form of separate modules.
The finished engine has high performance, ensuring the effectiveness of the interceptor. A product with a length of about 8 m with a dry weight of just over 2,4 T at take-off develops cravings up to 9500 kgf. When an afterburner is used, thrust is increased to 15500 kgf. Specific fuel consumption at maximum mode and afterburner is 0,72 and 1,9 kg / kgf / h, respectively. The maximum gas temperature in front of the turbine, depending on the mode, reaches 1660 ° K.
Two turbojet engines give the MiG-31 high performance. An aircraft with full refueling with a mass of 39,15 t may have thrust-to-weight ratio up to 0,8. The maximum take-off weight exceeding 46,7 t reduces this parameter to 0,67. At the same time, the maximum speed (at a height) up to 3400 km / h is ensured. Cruising - 2500 km / h. The dynamic ceiling is defined at the level of 30 km. Thus, thanks to a pair of D-30F6 engines, the MiG-31 interceptor is currently the fastest combat aircraft in the world.
D-30F6 engines were produced from the mid-seventies to the mid-nineties; the dates of their mass production actually coincided with the years of construction of the MiG-31 interceptors. For two decades, the Perm engine-building enterprise has provided engines for all production aircraft, and in addition, has created a substantial stock of such products. Aerospace forces are still using a similar groundwork, received a few decades ago. As the resource develops, the engines are removed from the aircraft and replaced with new ones taken from warehouses.
However, the stock of existing engines is not infinite, and therefore in the foreseeable future there may be a question of starting the production of new products D-30F6. As recent events show, the Russian command intends to maintain the MiG-31BM for many years, and therefore the aircraft can remain in service until the moment when the stock of engines for them runs out. According to the latest news, the industry is to some extent ready for this development.
A few days ago, the management of ODK-Perm Engines reminded of the recent restoration of the production of turbines for D-30F6 engines, and also announced the possibility of resuming the assembly of other units. Thus, upon receiving an order from the Ministry of Defense, the plant will be able to begin production of new engines for existing equipment. However, while it was only about some real work and possible future events. Terms, volumes and other aspects of a hypothetical production program, for obvious reasons, have not yet been clarified.
However, already now, taking into account the development of aerospace forces, it can be said with a certain degree of confidence that MiG-31BM interceptors will indeed be able to get new engines, although this will happen in the not very near future. The well-known plans of the Ministry of Defense, as well as a number of sensational recent reports, can be the basis for the most daring predictions, in which there will be a place for the D-30F6 engines.
On March 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressing the Federal Assembly with an annual message, spoke about several of the latest Russian weapons and equipment, and also showed demonstration videos. One of the missile weapons projects presented is most directly related to the MiG-31BM aircraft and its future. It is promising aviation missile system "Dagger".
Recall that in the framework of the project with the cipher “Dagger” a newest aeroballistic rocket was created, capable of maneuvering along a trajectory and developing hypersonic speed. Such weaponEquipped with a conventional or special warhead, can be used to defeat a variety of ground or surface targets. The highest characteristics of the rocket lead to the fact that its interception is an extremely difficult task, and in some cases is likely to be completely ruled out.
As the carrier of the newest rocket "Dagger" aircraft is used MiG-31BM. This machine, distinguished by its high flight characteristics, is capable of reaching a given area as quickly as possible and launching a rocket. Apparently, in terms of carrying capacity and flight data, the MiG-31BM turned out to be the best contender for the role of the future carrier of the Dagger.
The appearance of a new missile system has several consequences, and one of the main ones is the preservation of the MiG-31BM in service. In connection with the development of new strike weapons, this aircraft is being transformed from an interceptor capable of carrying some types of air-to-surface weapons into a multi-purpose weapon carrier for solving a wide range of combat missions. Moreover, in terms of its combat capabilities, the interceptor with the Dagger missile to some extent approaches the long-range bombers.
In the President’s speech, it was mentioned that last December the Dagger complex was put on experimental combat duty in one of the formations of the Southern Military District. 10 in March, the press service of the Ministry of Defense announced the holding of a practical combat training launch of the latest rocket. Pilots 929-th State Flight Test Center. V.P. Chkalov (Akhtubinsk) took off with a payload in the form of a product "Dagger" and dropped it in a given area. It is reported that by now the aviation complex on duty had completed over 250 flights, and the personnel had received the necessary training during the day and at night.
Recent reports clearly indicate that the Dagger complex has passed the necessary tests, and now its putting into service with full-fledged duty turns out to be only a matter of time. Accordingly, the further fate of the MiG-31BM interceptors is also determined. In the near and distant future, they will have to not only fight with air targets, but also destroy ground or surface objects with the help of an aeroballistic rocket.
Given the logic of choosing the MiG-31BM as the carrier of the "Dagger", we can assume that in a similar role these aircraft will be used until the very end of their service - up to full development of the resource. Thus, the issue of maintaining technical readiness and timely updating of equipment will remain relevant. One of its manifestations, respectively, will be observed in the field of power plants.
Obviously, as they serve in the old and new role, interceptors-rocket carriers will develop the life of their engines. Replacement of the power plant will be made using products that are stored. However, the stock created in the past is not infinite, and therefore at some point the Perm Engine Plant will really have to start production. However, when this happens - if it happens - while it is not completely clear. The Ministry of Defense does not disclose information on the technical condition of the aircraft and the stocks of the engines in storage.
The aircraft that participated in the recent combat training of the Dagger
At the moment, there is every reason to assume that, in the framework of the next repairs, the existing MiG-31BM will receive exactly the D-30F6 turbojet engines. Replacing such engines with products of other types does not seem appropriate, and in addition, it may be associated with a number of unjustified difficulties. Indeed, the use of other engines could give some advantages, but the necessary concomitant alteration of the aircraft completely eliminates them.
However, a reasonable compromise could be a new project to upgrade an existing engine. Since the mid-seventies, the engine building industry has mastered many new technologies, and they could be used to improve the rather old D-30F6. However, before launching such a project, it is necessary to determine the actual ratio of pros and cons, as well as calculate the cost of the work and the approximate timing of the appearance of the finished product. It may be that the simple resumption of production of existing engines will be the most profitable and fast.
A full-fledged new engine with high performance should be created for the future interceptor, which will replace the existing MiG-31BM. Over the past few years, the possibility of creating a new aircraft of this class, which retains the basic capabilities of its predecessor, but has certain advantages, is being discussed. As far as we know, the full-scale development work on such a project has not yet been launched. As a result, there are still no requirements for the new engine. The question of the continuity of armaments remains uncertain. Obviously, the future interceptor will be able to carry long-range air-to-air missiles and some means of defeating ground targets, but so far there is no clarity on missile systems such as the latest Dagger.
However, for the foreseeable future, both of these roles remain with the MiG-31BM. This situation will persist indefinitely, until a new type of serial interceptor appears. This means that in the future, as the available reserves are used up, the resumption of the production of the D-30FNXX engines can be transferred from the category of simple discussions to the category of current programs. Fortunately, now the former manufacturer of such products has the ability to launch the release of all major components and assemblies.
MiG-31 interceptor aircraft have served in the air force for several decades, and so far no one is going to write them off. Moreover, it was they, despite their considerable age, who were entrusted with the use of the most advanced strike weapons. This means that the equipment will remain in service, and the aviation industry will have to develop new technology modernization projects. Serial MiG-31BM have already been updated with the replacement of part of the electronics, and in the distant future, they can wait for new power plants. Interceptors, missile carriers will still serve and help the army to defend their country.
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