Launch of anti-ship missiles "Mosquito" from the WIG "Lun". Effective but useless
As you know, the USSR at one time was a world leader in the development and production of ekranoplanes, having explicitly taken first place in the world on this subject - explicitly simply because no one else simply invested in this topic.
The USSR, having invested in the work of the Design Bureau named after Alekseeva serious resources, he was able to build in many respects unique designs from a technical point of view. True, they did not find practical application, and this is not just so, although they sincerely tried to attach them to the cause, sparing neither money, nor resources, nor, alas, human lives. And still it didn’t work out.
In post-Soviet Russia, enthusiasts have repeatedly tried to revive this area, and it is worth noting that the navy, for which these aircraft are designed in theory, rejects any attempts to resuscitate ekranoplanes.
This, as will be discussed later, is absolutely correct, as it should be.
However, and it is also worth noting that among the command of the marine aviation there are sympathizers of this type of transport. Moreover, lobbyists of the revival of ekranoplanostroeniya precisely through naval aviation today and are trying to "get back into business." Easy to imagine (and such things in the newest stories were made in Russia more than once - always with a huge destructive effect), the “ekranoplanostroiteli” lobbying chain - “their people in naval aviation” - “presentation bypassing command at the government level” - “receiving research and development work, for example, from the Ministry of Industry and Trade”. As a result, we again get the satisfaction of technical fantasies at the state expense, and in difficult economic conditions. And, as usual, then our propaganda will come into play, which in a couple of weeks will be able to convince the masses that now all our enemies will end, because we have a new old superweapon - ekranoplanes. And after that, there will be nothing to stop, as it is impossible to intelligently analyze in public the need to build MRCs or patrol ships of Project 22160 and much more.
And such attempts are planned today.
Thus, the topic is quite relevant. It’s worth coming back to it from time to time so that people don’t forget what the real world looks like, what works in it and what does not work.
Not a miracle of technology
Earlier at the Military Review, the topic has been raised more than once, for example, twice this author Oleg Kaptsov did in two of his articles (see "The futility of ekranoplanes" и "Wing is necessary ... as a dead man galosh") With all the emotionality, sometimes excessive, the conclusions in these articles are quite correct.
However, it is necessary to reduce emotions and arm yourself with some numbers and elementary logic.
Supporters of ekranoplanes usually use as an argument the supposedly high efficiency of ekranoplan as a vehicle, emphasizing the supposedly unique characteristics of the first large ekranoplan in the USSR - KM. Allegedly, with a maximum take-off weight of 544000 kg, the KM had a payload of 304000 kg, which is a record ratio between the weight of the aircraft and the payload.
Count. If you believe in these figures, the proportion of the equipped weight of the ekranoplan in the maximum take-off mass is a little more than 44%. This is incomparably better than that of modern passenger airplanes, with a significant share of modern composites in the design and the lack of aircraft fuselage reinforcements necessary for landing on water and flying in dense air near the ground. For comparison, the same parameter:
Embraer ERJ175LR - 56,2%.
Embraer ERJ190LR - 55,8%.
Embraer ERJ195LR - 57%.
Thus, 44% are absolutely unrealistic numbers. Even with modern technology. The best aircraft from the same years as KM had a ratio of 69-70%. At the same time, they should not land on the water and did not have corresponding glider amplifications. In addition, KM enthusiasts forgot fuel, and it should be considered a plus to the mass of an empty airplane or ekranoplan. Alas, it is very difficult to find fuel data onboard the CM, nevertheless, we can estimate approximately.
The turbojet engine VD-7 had a specific fuel consumption cruising at an altitude of 0,73-0,8 kg / kgf * h. At the same time, their starting (maximum) thrust was somewhere 11300 kgf. The KM flight range at a cruising speed of 430 km / h was 1500 km, which gives us a trip time of 3,49 hours. This range is traversed by two aft engines. Add here a 5-minute (0,083 hours) take-off on all ten engines.
According to the mind, it is necessary to make an accurate calculation, separately for the takeoff mode, with ten engines running and a different value of specific fuel consumption, etc.
We will not do all this, in principle, any engineer of a profile specialty, having all the necessary data, will easily count everything. We need an order of numbers.
There is a simple formula for hourly fuel consumption with steady flight parameters.
Q = Sud * G / K, where Q is the fuel consumption kg per hour, Court is the specific fuel consumption, G is the mass of the aircraft in kilograms and K is the aerodynamic quality.
The formula is inaccurate, used for approximate calculations, but we also need the order of numbers, no more. With a specific consumption of 0,8 kg / kgf * h for an aircraft weighing 500000 kg (we assume that part of the fuel took off) and aerodynamic quality 16 (accepted for today's ekranoplanes projects, but who has accurate data on the KM can substitute) hourly consumption - approx. 25000 kg. When flying for 3,48 hours, this is about 87000 kg. But we still have to take off. And takeoff is performed on ten engines, not two. Due to stupid extrapolation, we will take fuel consumption for take-off as 10 tons (although there really will be more). The very notion of practical range (and 1500 km of range for the KM this is it) requires us to have an unused fuel reserve. We multiply our 97000 kg by the minimum possible 1,05, we have 101850 kg of fuel. Let 102 tons. If you believe the fuel consumption figure of 30 tons on take-off mode, which some authors cite, then (30 + 87) * 1,05, and there will be 123 tons of kerosene.
That is, there is no supernatural weight perfection. Which is quite logical. At the same time, we clearly gave a head start to KM, accurate calculations or data on fuel consumption during take-off would give a different picture.
Like Lun, KM is fetishized today
Thus, the payload we have left 181-202 tons, with a “handicap”. This is a lot for aircraft. Only An-225 Mriya could raise as much or more. And we compare: “Mriya” with a load of 200 tons could have a flight range of up to 4000 km, while KM - 1500, and then according to unconfirmed reports. Or you need more fuel. On the one hand, comparing these machines is dishonest; KM has much more ancient engines. But, the trouble is, there is nothing to compare with anymore, there are no analogues in mass or dimensions.
By the way, substituting the specific consumption of NK-87 engines (the most modern ekranoplan engines and exemplary D-18 peers from the "Mriya") in the formula for hourly consumption, we get a reduction in fuel consumption by only a third, by the way, so the "Mriya" is several times more efficient than hypothetical KM with modern engines (once it was built) and the same carrying capacity.
In addition, let us evaluate the fact itself: KM burns more than a hundred tons of kerosene for transportation of even a large mass of cargo, having a range of only 1500 km. With modern engines there will be slightly less than a hundred tons. We repeat - this is taking into account the fact that KM received from us a “head start” in fuel and payload. Where is that magical niche in the national economy in which such tricks are economically justified? Even without considering the cost of the life cycle of a machine with 8 or 10 engines? And, most importantly - taking into account the absolute impossibility of using this apparatus over land?
Counting a little more. Let us have 10 hours to prepare the miracle machine for take-off, after which it, having gathered 430 km / h, in two and a half hours delivers 200 tons of cargo to its destination per 1000 km and spends, for example, 40 tons of kerosene ( modern engines).
Total we have that in 12,5 hours we transported 200 tons of cargo at the cost of 40 tons of jet fuel. The same volume of transportation will be performed by seven typical road trains in 40 hours. The fuel consumption will be about 4 tons of diesel fuel. Instead of at least two pilots, with a salary of 300 rubles or more. per month (and for less money, nobody will go for IT), and only 000, you need seven drivers with a salary of 600-000 thousand rubles, up to 50 rubles in total. At the same time, trucks have incomparably lower cost of maintenance and repair and they are more flexible in application - they can then be put on different lines and sold in parts.
At the same time, logistics “rises” - the truck enters the warehouse and is unloaded there, there is no CM, it needs to load goods for transport and carry them further, we will not take into account the costs of this stage, but we would add time on the way - because that even if the truck reaches the destination in two hours, the cargo will finally be unloaded at the warehouse of the terminal in 14,5 hours from the moment the carrier issues an order for transportation and loading at the place of departure. If at the place of departure we add two hours from the warehouse to the port and to transshipment, then already 16,5 - up to the treasured figure of 50% of pure road transport is already nearby. And if the destination is 40 km from the port? At 100?
But what about the plane? A plane is faster than ekranoplan and is not tied to seaports. Air transportation is ordered mainly for the speed of delivery, and this speed includes both the high actual flight speed and the fact that an airplane with this speed can fly much further. Suppose a certain hypothetical ultra-modern winged wing type KM, but with the most modern engines, can probably deliver 50 tons of cargo to a range of 3000 kilometers with a speed of 430 km / h.
And the old An-22 can deliver the same 50 tons of cargo to a range of 4000 kilometers with a flight speed greater than about 180 km / h and without reference to the ports. But this is an old plane. Today, aircraft performance is much higher and speed is higher.
Interest for the sake of time. The ekranoplane will need 6,5 hours per 3000 km, then refuel after mooring (even if it’s all together for 2 hours, you can’t quickly do such things on the water), and then another 2,5 for the last thousand, which gives 10,5 hours in total 4000 km, and for an airplane with a speed of 580 km / h and without intermediate landings a little less than 7 hours - a third difference in favor of the airplane. Here it is, speed. When the ekranoplan moors, the aircraft will already undergo inter-flight service and will be under loading for the next flight, and the cargo will already be delivered to the recipient’s sorting warehouse and, apparently, processed there. In the period of 20-30 years of operation, the difference in economic effect is simply monstrous.
These analogies can be cited en masse and be considered with any input, the result will always be the same - the ekranoplane loses competition with other modes of transport. It’s as expensive as an airplane, but it can’t fly wherever it is needed, it requires at least the same amount of money for inter-flight service, but it doesn’t give such advantages, taking into account the time for the logistics of cargo from the winged craft and it’s on it for the time of cargo delivery to its The “typical” shoulder of the past years is generally comparable to trucks in speed. And this is precisely the reason why these machines have not been widely used anywhere. No one wants to get involved with such a business model because it is not viable.
Note that we are considering a certain ideal ekranoplan or an idealized KM (well, who really saw these 200+ tons of carrying capacity on it?), Or an even more idealized modern KM with normal engines.
But if you take the ekranoplans, whose performance characteristics were known and more or less disclosed, namely the "Eaglet", then there is a catastrophe quite eloquently described by Oleg Kaptsov: with a maximum take-off mass of 120 tons, the ekranoplan carries only 20 tons of payload. It is worthwhile to really compare this with the An-12, which had the same carrying capacity with a significantly lower mass and the best performance characteristics with not the most powerful 4 engines. Or with the same speed Mi-26.
Everything is obvious.
Well, of course, speaking of a hypothetical 200 tons of payload on the CM, it must be understood that to realize such a potential (turn out to be true) is possible only when transporting small cast iron ingots. Indeed, for a transport vehicle, not only load capacity is critical, but also the volume of the cargo compartment and the presence of loading hatches. KM did not have this, but the Eagles did, and we know very well today what weight gain they had.
And, of course, safety dominates this whole holiday of life. Of the 4 heavy ekranoplanes built in the world, 3 crashed, and for the same reason - due to an impact on water. This is the death sentence of the concept. And do not talk about stupid pilots who pulled the helm in the wrong direction. To make the helm stretch towards itself, and mechanization work out “in the opposite direction” - this is a question of one extra traction in the fur. drive control system or programming EMDS. This could be solved at the design stage. The problem is that this would not give anything - there are options when a device weighing hundreds of tons flying above the waves a couple of meters from the water can touch something for it, too much to see a solution to the “steering wheel from itself” all occasions. 75% of the ships that died in accidents and disasters - this is quite an indicator. Another figure that you can’t just get away with.
Not a superweapon
And then Lun pops up - a missile miracle with six anti-ship missiles, supposedly capable of destroying an aircraft carrier. Here you just need to exhale and tell yourself that you were again deceived, and the Lun aircraft carrier cannot be destroyed.
"Lun" in flight
To begin with, let's note this. When using anti-ship missiles for external target designation, Lun has no advantages over anything else. From a safe distance, anti-ship missiles can launch a ship or a group of combat aircraft in the same way. At the same time, unlike the Lunya, the ship will be able to be at the launch line for a very long time. This is generally an attribute property of surface forces - they can HOLD the water area, which is no longer available to any other forces.
At the same time, aviation is many times superior to ekranoplan in maneuver - it is faster in the case of fighter-bombers, faster at times, it can be transferred from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean in a couple of days, which is impossible for ekranoplanes.
That is, when working from the outside of the enemy’s radio horizon, it doesn’t matter which carrier, the enemy will not be able to touch him anyway. Accident rate will matter, and the ekranoplan will have it “slightly higher” than the six Su-30SM - for obvious reasons.
But everything changes when it is necessary to carry out additional reconnaissance of the target and strike at the same time, that is, when it is necessary to get into the enemy’s ship’s air defense zone and do all the work on their own, by the forces of the strike group.
How can fighters work? They can work in different groups, from different echelons. For example, part of the machines can gain altitude, working on purpose with their radar, and give the TsU strike groups at low altitude. Aircraft can attack from different sides, they have a margin of speed to break away from the enemy, they can perform a missile defense, and when resetting / launching an attack weapons can lead an air battle. They are quite difficult to destroy all at once. If at all possible. Their speed of entry into the enemy’s radar field can exceed the speed of sound - sometimes significantly, and this reduces the time for the reaction of the enemy.
What about the ships? There is another story. Ships can use passive means for reconnaissance to detect enemy radar, periodically conduct aerial reconnaissance with helicopters, and then, according to the results of several measurements and reconnaissance searches, get an approximate location of the enemy’s ships, then the final risk throw of the helicopters, determination of the elements of target movement (speed, course), and immediately calculate the data and launch the first salvo until the data is out of date. And all this is from outside the enemy’s radio horizon. And - running on rapprochement, at top speed. This is a long process, it takes time, for which the ship should literally "feel" for the enemy, without getting into his radio horizon. The enemy, by the way, will do the same, the “cat and mouse” there will simply be hellish, but in the end, the ship has a chance to “figure out” where the enemy really is.
And the ship also has many missiles - even a small corvette has eight.
And ekranoplan what of this can? Nothing. Its radio horizon is slightly smaller than that of a surface ship, and is approximately 18-20 kilometers, the ship will detect it a few seconds earlier than the ekranoplan can launch its missiles according to its radar. Such a huge machine cannot have any low visibility even without taking into account how well the waves it lifts are detected. EPR ekranoplan-rocket carrier more than 1000 square meters. meters. These are ship values. For comparison: a stealth fighter (we will not poke a finger whose) is a maximum of 0,5 square meters. meter. The Su-30SM, hung with missiles and fuel tanks, is at the strength of 30. According to the rocket-carrying ekranoplan, the ship will calmly work out an anti-aircraft missile, and that’s all over.
And, of course, he can’t climb for many hours along the propagation boundary of the enemy’s radiation, calculating the approximate coordinates of their source, like a surface ship.
And also ekranoplan can come across enemy fighters. And here he, against the background of several Sukhoi, will also look very pale, and the separation of such a miracle from enemy aviation is obviously unrealistic - having a turn radius of several kilometers and a speed of 400-500 km / h, it is simply impossible to leave the fighters. No way possible.
And, of course, the Lun will not reach the aircraft carrier even without enemy opposition. According to open data on its characteristics, the flight range (or swimming) of the device is 2000 kilometers. Based on the “military” formula (“Combat radius = 0,33 of practical range”), we see that it would be possible to plan the combat use of “Lun” in the limiting form for 600-700 km from the basing port. This is too little to strike at large NKs, and even in those areas where a strike against aircraft carriers is likely, the Lun will not be able to act on conditions of unrest. In addition, he then also need to look for a goal, and with an external control unit, planes are better. Work faster.
It is worth noting that the ekranoplanes are incredibly demanding on the basis of conditions. They need an ice-free water area for take-off, they need to take a take-off distance on a boat before flying, making sure that there are no foreign objects such as empty barrels or logs on the water. This water area sometimes needs to be trawled by minesweepers and always provide underwater diversion support.
In order for expensive (and they will be VERY expensive) ekranoplans not to rot too quickly, you need to be able to pull them to concrete platforms ashore right next to the water for maintenance, repair and drying. This implies a particular type of chassis, with a corresponding loss in weight efficiency (or it should be a removable chassis, to which a detachment of divers with special equipment will be attached). All the supporting services that are at the aerodrome, based on ekranoplanes, should also be the only difference from the usual aerodrome is the absence of a runway and the categorical condition to be located on the shore. If the ekranoplane will be something similar to the “Lun”, you also need to solve the rebus of loading missiles into this device, which also requires infrastructure, at least a special crane.
As a result, any person who is able to think about this should naturally raise the question: why is all this necessary?
A bit of elementary logic
The question of whether we need this weapon or tool in this form, in fact, in the end always starts to sound different: what should we spend our modest money on? Moreover, in relation to the economic realities of Russia, the word "modest" often sounds differently - "last". Which is better - a fighter or several dozen cruise missiles? Minesweeper or repair a dozen anti-submarine helicopters? Replacing armored vehicles in the marine corps with a more modern one or repairing landing boats from which this battalion should land? There is never enough money and you always need to choose. What is so important, why do you need to take money in favor of ekranoplanes, doesn’t it matter, are we talking about transport vehicles or percussion? This is a matter of tasks. And you can rephrase it like this: "What tasks, the implementation of which may be urgently necessary, can only be performed by ekranoplanes?"
Answer: there are no such tasks.
And indeed! What does the impacted ekranoplan give us? Ability to attack surface targets. Well, we already have something to attack it with, there is aviation in the form of the Su-30SM, there is a theoretical possibility “for inexpensive” to make an analogue of the Soviet MPA based on the Su-34, upgrading this aircraft to use Onyx or Zircon anti-ship missiles, and better than both, there are submarines and surface ships. Where is the place for ekranoplanes with all their limitations? Nowhere.
The next day, airplanes can attack targets on the shore, supporting the landing, and ekranoplan?
So what is the best way to spend the last money - on airplanes (far from one) or for one "Lun"? After all, the program for the revival of ekranoplanostroeniya is, in fact, the creation from scratch of an entire industry! And the output is slow and vulnerable carriers, all of which are incomparably weaker than a simple Su regiment.
Choose the right one, the budget is limited!
Maybe we need a life-saving ekranoplan with the ability to land on the water? But we have a Be-200 and there are still several Be-12 combatant units that are already useless as anti-submarines, but which can still be passed through a major overhaul and converted into search and rescue.
Why revive the ekranoplanostroeniya, if you can just buy a production aircraft?
And there is also a relatively successful experience with discarded radio-controlled boats, which, in principle, make the possibility of landing on water uncritical. And these forces do not have the limitations that ekranoplanes have, and with flight safety, everything is much better. So where is the place for ekranoplanes? Nowhere.
WIG patrol? No, the plane flies higher, it can be seen from it better in any range. Transport for hard-to-reach areas? But this plane can land on a ski chassis, fly from ice and dirt pads, this plane can take turns in skiing, wheels and floats, or even a hybrid of skis with floats, but an ekranoplan does not. WIG needs open water without ice and a gentle beach, and a point.
For comparison - the plane:
Maybe we need a tool for a quick landing? Something that could bring soldiers and military equipment to shore? But in the world, even for the BDK there are few suitable beaches, and even those where the aircraft can go ashore, generally count on the fingers, and everything is mostly somewhere in Oceania. So where to land from ekranoplanes?
And most importantly - are they better than the Il-76 with paratroopers? Here you and speed, and the plane, and technology drops, and people. Need to compare the new Il-76 with the "Eaglet"? Probably not. And it’s not necessary to fly at an extremely low altitude - achieving dominance at sea and in the air, as well as surprise, are necessary requirements for conducting an amphibious operation, the ability to spread above the water in such conditions will not be critical, but the risks of such a flight with a whole company of fighters like times critical and will be - remember about 75% of non-combat losses.
A piece of the coastal zone may well be captured by the airborne forces - without ekranoplanes
Supporters of ekranoplanes like to fantasize about the fact that now new materials, engines and electronics will come up, and then it will be possible to make new ekranoplanes, and at the same time to train highly specialized pilots under them, push the steering wheel away from you when full of reflexes a normal pilot wants to pull it.
But for some reason none of them can answer the question - why is this all? What will dramatically increase our capabilities with ekranoplans?
Because there is no answer. Opportunities will not grow, money must be spent on something else. As it is, in fact, is planned. And the task of society is to make sure that all this remains.
Today, both the Navy as a whole and the naval aviation have monstrous gaps in the most important directions. So, we do not produce anti-submarine helicopters, nor anti-submarine aircraft. Few anti-submarine ships. One old collapsing aircraft carrier, which so far has nowhere to haul. The collapse in the mine forces, the terrible terms of repair and modernization of ships, the disaster in naval underwater weapons, the impasse in the doctrines of development fleet as a type of aircraft. Or, easier - we have a lot of problems that it’s time to finance in priority order for a long time. In such conditions, any “sawing” projects that require redirecting money from solving pressing problems to technical projection should be crushed in the bud.
And the revival of the ekranoplanes, desired by some stupid military figures, is one of the first places on the list of such strangulation projects.
Let's hope that the ekranoplanostroiteli will continue to have some failures on the way to the development of budget money. They have much to spend without ekranoplans.