Theme 34 and Theme 17. Anniversaries of Soviet Developments of Stratospheric Fighters and Scouts
Through 2 of the year (in 1970 of the year), the project was transformed into research work to create a special high-altitude ADA interceptor with the minimum speed of approach to targets in the stratosphere. The code of the project was renamed: "Theme 17".
In the experimental design bureau under the direction of V. Myasishchev, a system of adaptive wing mechanization was developed, which could change not only its surface area at working heights, but also the profile. This took into account the need to use at ultra-low speeds high-altitude fuse, which would destroy the shell of a drifting balloon.
What engine then decided to use for the PACK PADA? It was designed primarily for the Tu-144 RD-36, which was distinguished by its high weight. More precisely - what was planned to apply for the PAK PADA - modification RD-36-51А with a fixed nozzle for high-altitude flight. The engine developed 68,6 kN thrust. And it was he who became the basis for the implementation of the M-17 aircraft project (one of the planes was called the Stratosphere, the project itself was also called), which eventually turned into M-55 Geophysics. Engine development led a great Soviet designer Peter Kolesov.
45 years ago - in 1973 year - the construction of the M-17 starts in the helicopter plant in Kumertau (Bashkiria). But it is in the plans. In fact, the factory workers began work only after 4 of the year.
And in the 1978 year (and again the anniversary), the aircraft was taken to the test site. The event, however, was tragic. The aircraft was prepared for engine testing in terms of taxiing. At the airfield "Vorotnovka" as a result of an unplanned situation, a catastrophe occurs, as a result of which test pilot Kir Chernobrovkin dies.
For the first time, successful flight tests of the M-17 “Stratosphere” were conducted in 1982 at the Zhukovsky airfield. After the Soviet stratospheric M-17 began to rise into the air, the very reason for their development began to decline at the same time. The fact is that the US has stopped using automatic drifting balloons.
The pilots set world records on the M-17 25, they were used to study the stratospheric layers, including the influence of stratospheric phenomena on piloting parameters.
Two M-17 Stratosphere aircraft are in the museum aviation in Monino.
The first flight of the reconnaissance aircraft of the project M-55 "Geophysics" took place in August 1988.
Aircraft of the M-55 “Geophysics” project solve a wide range of tasks, for example, in the field of meteorology. So, this plane helps to study the processes in the Asian monsoons and the ionization processes in the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere.
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