Military Review

The “flying wing” scheme: attractiveness for airframes and UAVs

The “flying wing” scheme: attractiveness for airframes and UAVs

The desire to create aircraft, which would minimize unnecessary components that are not involved in providing lift, caused the appearance of the “flying wing” scheme.

How aviation developed and implemented the “flying wing” scheme

Attempts to implement such a scheme took place a century ago: already in 1922 in the Soviet Union, Boris Cheranovsky designed light gliders according to the “flying wing” scheme. In Nazi Germany, such developments "intensified" during the Second World War under the leadership of the Horten brothers.

But we are now seeing a genuine surge of interest in the “flying wing” scheme, due to the growing popularity of stealth technologies. Modern aircraft are subject to increased requirements in terms of reducing radar and infrared visibility. As a result, the first modern production aircraft with a “flying wing” scheme was developed - Lockheed's F-117 Nighthawk strike fighter. Then came the Northrop B-2 Spirit bomber.

The main advantages of the “flying wing” scheme are: the lifting force is created by the entire surface of the aircraft, and not by its separate part; the specific gravity of the glider is reduced, which allows to increase the payload; the effective area of ​​dispersion and radar visibility of the aircraft is reduced.

Such characteristics have led to the fact that now a number of states produce or develop aircraft with the “flying wing” scheme. In the United States, this is the SR-91 Aurora hypersonic strategic stealth scout, the B-3 stealth bomber, and in China, the Xian H-20 long-range strategic stealth bomber.

If we talk about our country, the “flying wing” scheme is used in the development of the Tupolev Design Bureau of the long-range strategic bomber PAK DA, which they intend to start producing after 2025.

Unmanned aerial vehicles of the “flying wing” scheme

A separate issue is strike and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles. Drone boom aviationas the battles in Syria and Libya show, it is just beginning, and this means that developed countries, which are large manufacturers of drones, will try to improve their drones, including producing them using the most modern technologies. The “flying wing” scheme has found its application in such unmanned aerial vehicles as the American Boeing X-48 UAV. Since 2018, tests of the S-70 “Okhotnik” UAV are underway in Russia.

If we take a look at the American experimental Boeing X-48, we will see that it is based on the “flying wing” scheme and shows greater efficiency than conventional drones.

The American authors of The National Interest magazine call the Russian attack drone very similar to the inconspicuous UAVs used by American aircraft. To this conclusion, in particular, comes Sebastien Roblin, analyzing the appearance of the Russian S-70 "Hunter".

At the same time, the “flying wing” scheme is not free, like any other technology, from certain shortcomings. So, as A.Sh. Biksaev et al. In the article “Aircraft of Unconventional Designs” are the inability to reach the maximum lift coefficient, the lack of flexibility in terms of loading, especially at low payload density.

However, experts agree that the aerodynamic forms of modern aircraft are getting closer to the “flying wing” scheme, and this means that it really has high efficiency, especially if we are talking about military aviation.
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  1. knn54
    knn54 28 May 2020 12: 13
    Instability (yaw) in flight. But it is fixable - installation of additional equipment to automatically maintain "straightness" in flight.
    Moreover, there are enough varieties (for example, triangular).
  2. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 28 May 2020 12: 18
    And maneuverability?
    1. Kalmar
      Kalmar 28 May 2020 12: 30
      Quote: Zaurbek
      And maneuverability?

      For UAVs, it is not important. For fighters is still relevant, but not the same as before.
    2. Viktor Sergeev
      Viktor Sergeev 28 May 2020 15: 39
      Neither the bomber (strategic, long-range) nor the strike drone needs maneuverability.
    3. dauria
      dauria 29 May 2020 01: 25
      And maneuverability?

      And why should she be worse? Maneuverability is determined (if roughly) by the wing load, thrust ratio, moment of inertia (mass spacing along the wing and along the fuselage).
      Birds do well without a tail, as long as there is no need to "brake" sharply.
      And the tail of the plane did not appear from a good life. It's just a wing that actually flies (creates lift) only works in certain ranges of angles of attack and glide (from and to). And to keep it within this framework - this is what the "tail" did. And "automatically".
      It, like feathers on an arrow, provided directional and longitudinal stability, and along roll stability was provided by the connection "roll causes slip, slip causes roll" Tear off the tail, put the mechanization on the wing (the same brakes-ailerons splitting up and down - the elevators are three in one) , instruct the pilot to look at the instruments and hold them - and he will jump out of the plane with obscenities in 10 minutes. The bird manages, the autopilot does too.
      Even a simple flight controller for 10 bucks with MEMS gyroscopes can do this.
      The tail does the same, but you have to pay for it with resistance and weight.
      And the nose is just harm from him. More nose, more tail.
      1. Zaurbek
        Zaurbek 29 May 2020 08: 33
        Nevertheless, we do not see such fighters. And the 6th generation, which is presented without a tail, apparently compensates with the help of UVT. And it will be already less maneuverable.
    4. NordUral
      NordUral 30 May 2020 13: 09
      Instability (yaw) in flight
      And this is the key to maneuverability, controlled yaw. I built such a cordless aerobatics in a circle in the 60s, I saw a prototype somewhere, I don’t remember.
    5. Mikhail3
      Mikhail3 3 June 2020 13: 08
      Do you understand what instability is in general?) This is when the glider is designed in such a way that it can be easily and quickly rotated in the plane of instability. Google "fundamentally unstable aircraft".
      That's really what with what, and with the maneuverability of the "flying wing" in complete order.
      If Bartini was more influential in the USSR, and Stalin had a technical education, it is still unknown how the German offensive at 41 would end ...
      1. Zaurbek
        Zaurbek 3 June 2020 14: 04
        For such a scheme (unstable), a set of sensors, calculators and drives are needed. And there was nothing like that at that time. In the USSR, at least.
        1. Mikhail3
          Mikhail3 3 June 2020 16: 29
          Well, so Bartini did not design a UAV, but hefty wings, directly bombers. Their excessive maneuverability was partially offset by size. The pilots noted only that the control was very unusual, in fact, from scratch it was necessary to learn to pilot.
  3. Sergey39
    Sergey39 28 May 2020 12: 21
    In reconnaissance drones, such a scheme makes sense. He took off, completed the simplest flight mission without performing complex maneuvers, returned. For a manned fighter, this is a dead end.
  4. Doccor18
    Doccor18 28 May 2020 12: 46
    The strike UAV MIG-Skat has "hung" since 2007. And could already now, as part of the Russian Aerospace Forces, iron out the positions of bad mujahideen in the vastness of South-West Asia and North Africa ...
  5. Last centurion
    Last centurion 28 May 2020 13: 03
    Well, who builds aircraft models knows that it’s more difficult to control wings than devices of standard layout ...
    1. Alex_You
      Alex_You 28 May 2020 14: 55
      So yes, but now the computer can help the pilot just like it was on the F-117 flying iron.
    2. Ros 56
      Ros 56 28 May 2020 17: 03
      But the maneuverability is excellent, all the "air fighters" switched to "flying wings" long ago, back in the last century.
  6. Undecim
    Undecim 28 May 2020 13: 23
    Attempts to implement such a scheme took place a century ago: already in 1922 in the Soviet Union, Boris Cheranovsky designed light gliders according to the “flying wing” scheme. In Nazi Germany, such developments "intensified" during the Second World War under the leadership of the Horten brothers.
    The incompetence and laziness of site authors does not cease to amaze. They don’t think they need to look beyond Wikipedia. And Wikipedia in this case, as in many others, is very far from reality.
    The first flying wing aircraft, the Dunne D.1 glider by Irish aeronautical engineer John William Dunn, took off in 1907.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 28 May 2020 13: 28
      And in 1911 the monoplane Dunne D.7 flew.
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 28 May 2020 13: 34
        As for the Germans, Junkers started flying wing in 1915 and only defeat in the First World War prevented him from realizing his "Giant" JG1 project, and by 1924 he already had a Junkers J1000 project.
        1. Insurgent
          Insurgent 28 May 2020 15: 22
          Soviet developments of the 20-30s. One of the aircraft designed by B.I. Cheranovsky

          Modification BICH-7
          Wingspan, m 12.20
          Length of aircraft, m 4.70
          Aircraft Height, m ​​2.40
          Wing area, m2 30.00
          Weight, kg
          empty 627 aircraft
          maximum takeoff 880
          Engine Type 1 PD Bristol Lucifer
          Power, hp 1 x 100
          Maximum speed, km / h 165
          Cruising speed, km / h 138
          Practical range, km 200
          Rate of climb, m / min
          Practical ceiling, m 5000
          Crew, people 2
        2. Sergey Valov
          Sergey Valov 28 May 2020 15: 36
          In the picture, the plane is made not at all according to the scheme of a flying wing.
  7. Maks1995
    Maks1995 28 May 2020 13: 44
    Not so hot article.
    Not only is the F-117 (a flying piano, allegedly) called a "strike fighter", there is still little specifics, Tx is not enough, there is simply a list of types, and even then the main
  8. Carnifexx
    Carnifexx 28 May 2020 14: 13
    F-117 Nighthawk attack fighter
    No, this is a bomber, index F for conspiracy, as it was secret. From the fighter there is nothing in it.
  9. Eug
    Eug 28 May 2020 14: 54
    This circuit has great difficulties with longitudinal balancing and longitudinal stability margin, therefore it is considered very "capricious". But now aircraft with stability provided by the control system, like the F-16 and Su-27, are becoming more widespread, therefore, due to the higher weight efficiency, this scheme will be used more and more widely. To me personally, an integrated circuit seems to be more promising, where the nose and tail parts seem to "grow" out of the wing. The disadvantages of LK are increased frictional resistance and wave resistance, but now the quality of surface finish has grown greatly and the influence of this factor has significantly decreased. Low heading stability is due to the absence of vertical control surfaces, which cannot always be compensated for by roll. Practically does not hold overload due to the relatively small height (aka "thickness") of the wing. For a maneuverable and high-speed aircraft, as for me, it is unpromising, for a relatively slow and inconspicuous aircraft, it is very interesting.
  10. Sergey Valov
    Sergey Valov 28 May 2020 15: 35
    the “flying wing” scheme is not free, like any other technology [quote] [/ quote]
    The author apparently and does not imagine what the term technology means.
  11. Klingon
    Klingon 28 May 2020 16: 10
    What kind of B-3 is the author writing about? I still heard (read) only about the B-21 Raider
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