Military Review

B-50. The helicopter that could outrun time

48

Helicopter model B-50, photo: thedrive.com


Among the experimental helicopters developed in the USSR, the B-50 machine, on which they worked at the Kamov Design Bureau, occupies a fairly prominent place. An unusual helicopter with an unconventional longitudinal propeller layout for the design bureau was planned to be used simultaneously both in the ground forces and in the naval navy... The features of the helicopter, in addition to the scheme unusual for the USSR, were a high design speed - about 400 km / h and a modular composition of weapons.

The emergence of the project of a combat helicopter B-50


The idea of ​​creating a new combat helicopter V-50 at the Kamov Design Bureau was turned to in 1968 as part of the search for ways to further develop the design bureau. The initiator of the creation of a fundamentally new combat helicopter was the deputy chief designer of the enterprise, Igor Alexandrovich Erlikh. Igor Aleksandrovich by that time had experience working on the Soviet longitudinal Yak-24 helicopter, which was produced in a small series of 40 vehicles. The designer tried to implement the experience gained during the implementation of this project in a new ambitious project, designated B-50. The development received its name in honor of the 50th anniversary of Soviet power.

It should be noted that in the Kamov Design Bureau, fundamentally new developments have always been of an individual nature, this project was no exception. Nikolai Ilyich Kamov was initially against this project, which could compete with the Ka-25-2 proposed by him, but at first he did not actively interfere with the development of a new helicopter. The new project only spurred the team, which had to work out various schemes, establish their pros and cons. In addition to the KB Erlich team, he attracted his good comrades from TsAGI to the project, with whom he was familiar from the development of the Yak-24 helicopter.

B-50. The helicopter that could outrun time
Constructor Igor Alexandrovich Erlich

One of the main tasks facing the design team working on the B-50 helicopter was to ensure the lowest possible resistance level of the helicopter. According to the calculations, the speed of the combat helicopter was supposed to be 405 km / h. According to this parameter, the helicopter under development surpassed all production models of helicopter technology, moreover, and after 50 years, none of the production helicopters is able to develop such a maximum flight speed. If the project had been brought to its logical conclusion, the helicopter would definitely have made a splash, setting a new framework for the design of combat rotorcraft.

Preliminary design materials for the B-50 were ready in the fall of 1968. In December of the same year, at a regular meeting of the scientific and technical council of the Minaviaprom, two helicopter projects were discussed - Ka-25-2 and B-50, both machines aroused great interest among the participants. However, when discussing the developments, representatives of the LII and TsAGI took opposite positions: in fact, there was a process of choosing a path for the further development of the entire Kamov Design Bureau. As a result, the victory went to the Ka-25-2 helicopter, which eventually transformed into the Ka-252. This particular helicopter, which was put into service under the designation Ka-27, was brought to mind and serial production.


Thumbnail image of the V-50 helicopter, photo: magazine “Aviation and cosmonautics ", No. 11 for 2017

After the meeting of the scientific and technical council of the ministry, internal competition in the Kamov Design Bureau increased. Ehrlich did not lose hope to bring the project of a new combat helicopter of the B-50 longitudinal scheme to mind, but the confrontation with Kamov reached new heights and lasted almost a year, although even the Aviation Ministry tried to reconcile the designers. Ultimately, in September 1970, Igor Erlikh was relieved of his post as deputy chief designer at the Kamov Design Bureau and transferred to work at NIIAS as a senior researcher, while at the same time, thanks were announced to him through the ministry. A month after his departure from the design bureau on October 19, 1970, the preliminary design of the Ka-252 helicopter was completed, and the design bureau fully focused on bringing to mind this particular project.

Features and capabilities of the V-50 helicopter


It is worth noting that all the technical characteristics of the promising B-50 combat helicopter are not known, with the exception of the estimated flight speed. The design work with the selection of the necessary materials, diagrams, schedules and work plans was not fully completed. Despite this, both in the late 1960s and in 2020, the proposed version of the B-50 multipurpose attack helicopter looks like an ambitious concept. Of interest is the fact that the helicopter was simultaneously offered to both the army and the navy, which provided for modularity of weapons and a different composition of onboard equipment.

The uniqueness of the project of the Soviet helicopter, which was supposed to accelerate to 400 km / h, is evidenced by the fact that this speed has not yet been conquered by any serial helicopter. It is believed that the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant, which made its first flight in March 2019, came closest to this milestone. In October 2020, the helicopter managed to reach a speed of 211 knots (390 km / h). At the same time, the developers expect that in the future the helicopter will be able to reach a flight speed of 250 knots (460 km / h).


Multipurpose transport helicopter Yak-24

For his promising multifunctional combat helicopter B-50, Igor Erlikh decided to use the longitudinal scheme, which was implemented in the first Soviet serial helicopter of a similar layout, the Yak-24. The same scheme is used in the well-known American military transport helicopter Boeing CH-47 Chinook, serial production of which began in 1962. A feature of the B-50 project was a serious study of the aerodynamic capabilities of the machine, which received a rather narrow fuselage and short wings. It was assumed that a narrow streamlined fuselage would allow achieving high flight speeds.

Apparently, two Izotov TVZ-117 turboshaft engines, which were developed from 1965 to 1972, could be used as a power plant on the helicopter. These engines began to be installed on Mi-24 combat helicopters, and then on practically all Soviet serial helicopters. The TVZ-117 engines at that time were in no way inferior to the best foreign models and developed a maximum take-off power of up to 2200 l / s. The Mi-24 attack helicopters equipped with these engines could reach a speed of 310 km / h in horizontal flight.


Helicopter model B-50, photo: thedrive.com

Like the Mi-24, the B-50 combat helicopter in the military version could take on board up to 8 paratroopers (possibly up to 10 people). According to the surviving V-50 models, one can get an idea of ​​the appearance and layout of the unusual helicopter. In front of the combat vehicle was a cockpit with a tandem arrangement of pilots. The armament operator sat in the front cockpit, the helicopter commander was located behind him and above, both cockpits had sufficiently developed glazing, which improves visibility. Immediately behind the cockpit was a stand with a three-bladed rotor, then there was an amphibious cargo cabin, behind which in the tail of the helicopter were located two engines and a keel with an integrated stand of the second three-bladed rotor.

The innovative approach was to create a single glider for a helicopter, intended for use in the army and navy. In the overwhelming majority of cases, helicopters are created either for sea-based and operations at sea, or for land use, since the operating conditions, the range of tasks to be solved and the weapons systems used are seriously different. When developing the B-50 combat helicopter, Soviet designers tried to circumvent this problem by creating a glider and a design suitable for solving a variety of tasks. It was planned that the helicopter could be adapted for anti-tank warfare, reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare.


Helicopter model B-50, photo: thedrive.com

The design and the weapons and avionics systems used could be modular. In particular, the land-based version of the helicopter could receive an installation with automatic artillery weapons in the nose of the helicopter under the cockpit. At the same time, in the naval version of the helicopter, a search radar was to be placed instead of this installation. The B-50 helicopter could receive various guided and unguided missile weapons, which would be placed on 6 suspension points (three per wing). Most likely, this helicopter could be armed with anti-tank guided missiles of the Falanga and Falanga-P complexes.

It is surprising that the original project of a combat helicopter with unique declared speed characteristics, which they tried to create in the Kamov design bureau, remained practically an unknown project. One appearance of this combat helicopter already distinguishes it from a series of domestic serial rotary-wing aircraft. Unfortunately, there are very few materials on the B-50 combat helicopter in open sources, and the only known technical characteristic is only the flight speed. In fact, all materials on the B-50 are limited to the article by the General Designer Sergei Viktorovich Mikheev, who, being an employee of the Kamov Design Bureau at the end of the 1960s, worked with Ehrlich on a project for a unique B-50 helicopter. Mikheev described the development process of the B-50 helicopter and the confrontation unfolding in the KB team in his article in the Aviation and Cosmonautics magazine for 2017 (No. 11). Also, information on the project can be found in the American (!) Online edition of The Drive, in which there is a section "War Zone" dedicated to various developments in the field of the defense industry.
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  1. Monar
    Monar 28 November 2020 05: 12
    +37
    Hmm ... Calling a preliminary design an experimental helicopter is strong.
    With all due respect to the designers, but if you rummage through the archives of any design bureau, then there will be 100500 such sketches. And everyone assumed. So that
    who could get ahead of time
    could not be. From the word at all.
    1. BDRM 667
      BDRM 667 28 November 2020 05: 26
      +10
      Quote: Monar
      Calling a draft design an experimental helicopter is strong.

      A sketch was a sketch, but the features of the car were indicated by beautiful, even probably graceful, as for a helicopter, by the contours of the fuselage.
      Compare them at least with the Yak-24 or the American Chinook, with the same longitudinal rotor layout.

      1. Monar
        Monar 28 November 2020 05: 58
        +7
        Handsomely. There is even nothing to argue about. But this is not a blueprint. Let's be precise in terminology.
        And, personal couch opinion. Longitudinal diagram - dead-end view. That builds helicopter practice and proves. One reducer TWO. Apart from the fact that half of the forces from the engine to the bow must be transferred.
        1. BDRM 667
          BDRM 667 28 November 2020 06: 06
          +11
          Quote: Monar
          Longitudinal diagram - dead-end view. That builds helicopter practice and proves. One reducer TWO. Apart from one hundred and half the forces from the engine to the bow must be transferred.

          Why a dead end? At that technological stage, of course, such a scheme created some difficulties, but did aviation, and even more so in helicopter construction, ever do without them?
          Nevertheless, cars with such a scheme fly.

          And taking into account the fact that modern propeller-driven aircraft are already trying to become a hybrid according to the power plant scheme (yesterday an article about the Brazilian hybrid MTC), then the transfer of torque from the engine to the rotors is greatly simplified. How, in fact, gearboxes become unnecessary ...
          1. Monar
            Monar 28 November 2020 06: 45
            +5
            Good luck to Brazilians. But here is what a byaka. The longitudinal axis turns out to be long in any case.
            1. Pete mitchell
              Pete mitchell 1 December 2020 23: 23
              +2
              Once I had a chance to sit at the controls of the CH-46: from the big advantages - it is "on the side" of the wind, that on takeoff, landing, that when performing SAR operations; of course the machine is not compact. But the overall impression is very good and two engines / rotors "warm the soul"
              1. Monar
                Monar 2 December 2020 04: 12
                0
                I wonder why he
                Quote: Pete Mitchell
                "On the side" the wind,
                ??? There is even an A-380 spinning in the wind at landing.
                1. Pete mitchell
                  Pete mitchell 2 December 2020 09: 11
                  +2
                  It is due to this layout. Of course, there are limitations, but he is not so sensitive.
                  Quote: Monar
                  even the A-380 turns with the wind on landing.

                  Of course, he has restrictions, in principle, like everyone else: somewhere 15 - 17 m / s
          2. Elturisto
            Elturisto 15 February 2021 22: 01
            -2
            What a fierce trash ... you never know who saws on electric motion, the modern moronic population is ready to believe everything.
      2. Ross xnumx
        Ross xnumx 28 November 2020 06: 01
        +5
        Quote: BDRM 667
        Compare them at least with the Yak-24 or the American Chinook, with the same longitudinal rotor layout.

        And if you compare with this:

        And therefore I will join:
        Quote: Monar
        So
        who could get ahead of time

        could not be. From the word at all.

        Something we often began to re-read Russian folk tales ... lol
        I'm not sure that it is this "longitudinal rotor layout" that could (in the future) affect the survivability of the product if one of them fails ...
        1. Monar
          Monar 28 November 2020 06: 07
          +1
          Well, in your video, not a longitudinal, but a transverse diagram. wink
          1. Ross xnumx
            Ross xnumx 28 November 2020 06: 17
            +2
            Quote: Monar
            Well, in your video, not a longitudinal, but a transverse diagram.

            Quote: BDRM 667
            And there is nothing to compare - NOT a LONGITUDINAL DIAGRAM.

            Dear! I am not comparing schemes, but the principle of demonstrating "what exists in the imagination" ... yes
            1. BDRM 667
              BDRM 667 28 November 2020 06: 40
              +5
              Quote: ROSS 42
              Dear! I am not comparing schemes, but the principle of demonstrating "what exists in the imagination" ...

              The explanation is accepted, but with the remark that the essence of the comparison must be indicated immediately yes
        2. BDRM 667
          BDRM 667 28 November 2020 06: 08
          +4
          Quote: ROSS 42
          And if you compare with this:

          And there is nothing to compare - NOT a LONGITUDINAL DIAGRAM.
        3. vfwfr
          vfwfr 28 November 2020 10: 04
          +1
          Not one helicopter will resist against air defense. Longitudinal, transverse, survivability ... American Chinook has been flying since the 60s and no one has spread rot! The difference from the Chinook is that the GTE stands behind and thus can add inertia to the movement in front of
          1. Monar
            Monar 29 November 2020 06: 36
            0
            Can not. Turboshaft engine. All the energy (well, almost all) of the gases is used to spin the shaft.
            For this reason, the exhaust from helicopters (those with 2 engines) is often done sideways.
            1. vfwfr
              vfwfr 29 November 2020 07: 54
              -1
              HM thank you.
        4. Operator
          Operator 28 November 2020 11: 50
          -1
          Rob Cobb's transonic Whispercraft SA-80 is the baddest laughing

    2. Stas157
      Stas157 28 November 2020 08: 04
      -4
      ... About the uniqueness of the project of the Soviet helicopter, which was supposed to accelerate to 400 km / h, says the fact that this speed has not yet been subdued not a single serial helicopter.

      The development is interesting. How many there were then! What are the current optimizers developing now? Where are scientific and technological progress moving?

      The main rotor with a vertical axis gives the helicopter a unique quality - vertical takeoff. And then during the flight, this propeller is already a problem and completely loses to any aircraft. Because the lift of the wing is much more efficient.

      Therefore, the future belongs to vertical takeoff aircraft. It will be implemented either in a jet version, like the Yak-38, Yak-141. Or electric. With the help of electric lifting screws.
      1. vfwfr
        vfwfr 28 November 2020 10: 10
        +7
        "" during flight this propeller is already a problem and completely loses to any aircraft. Because wing lift is much more efficient. ""
        The problem of future high-speed helicopters is not only in this, but in the fact that on the edge of the propeller / blade there should not be a speed higher than the speed of sound ... This is on any propeller (the same for an aircraft) and helicopter blades. Something like this..
  2. A. Privalov
    A. Privalov 28 November 2020 06: 44
    +17
    When the Boeing CH-1962 Chinook with a longitudinal scheme came out in 47, they remembered the Yak-24 of the same Ehrlich, produced in less than fifty years 10 years earlier. This is how the idea of ​​this ambitious project came about.

    Development, as they say, development, but in fact, everything rested on the engines. At that time, there were no prospects, except for the still being developed TVZ-117 in the USSR.
    Not surprisingly, Kamov's bureau preferred an attempt to improve the Ka-25, which was already in production. (although there were also problems with the engines, and the 900-strong GTD-3F had to be replaced with a GTD-3M with 1000 hp) That is, they preferred a tit in their hands. The Soviet aviation industry could not afford to scatter production capacity based on someone's ambitions.

    So, about the engines. TVZ-117 was released only in 1972 and was later installed on almost all Soviet serial helicopters. Its power has managed over the years with 2000 hp. to reach 2800 hp, but it was not possible to squeeze out more from the three-hundred-kilogram engine. The CH-47, by that time, had been using 10 x 2 hp for 4100 years. In other words, for the V-50, the use of 2 x TVZ-117 would have been extremely insufficient and even the theoretical 400 km / h had to be forgotten. hi
    1. Thrifty
      Thrifty 28 November 2020 08: 59
      +4
      Halts hi Well, there is one important factor, as the weight of the finished helicopter also plays a role! For example, I am building a helicopter with such engines weighing 8 tons, and your helicopter with the same pair of engines weighs 14 tons! Whose helicopter will be faster, you can not even argue! hi hi
      1. A. Privalov
        A. Privalov 28 November 2020 10: 23
        +9
        Quote: Thrifty
        Halts hi Well, there is one important factor, as the weight of the finished helicopter also plays a role! For example, I am building a helicopter with such engines weighing 8 tons, and your helicopter with the same pair of engines weighs 14 tons! Whose helicopter will be faster, you can not even argue! hi hi

        Of course, you can theorize. Moreover, we know nothing about the subject of consideration, except for the "declared" speed and a beautiful picture.
        The difficulty in creating such devices is that after the Designer constructs something, the Technologist gets his idea in the hands of the Technologist. He will have the last word. This he will say whether it is possible or impossible with the help of today's means of production, materials and technologies for their processing to create in the material what lies in front of him on paper. You can design a lot, but only a small part can be embodied in material. The designer lives in the world of his fantasies, and the Technologist stands firmly with both feet on the ground. It seems to me that in those days the Technologists also resisted. At the slightest failure, they are made extreme. They will say: "The design was good, and the Technologists could not bring the matter to fruition."
        It's like with Architects. They will draw any pictures for you, only there is nothing of this kind and nothing to build.

        In general, the longitudinal scheme in the USSR somehow did not take root, and today, even with new production capabilities, technologies and materials, no one even raises this topic. hi
        1. Thrifty
          Thrifty 28 November 2020 12: 19
          -2
          Halts hi the fact of the matter is that everything is new, it is very well forgotten old! Sooner or later, they will return to this scheme! This requires a "little" - a complete revolution in materials science, so that the same gearbox, for example, weighs no more than a quarter of the weight of a modern one, and has a solid service life, to begin with! hi
          1. A. Privalov
            A. Privalov 28 November 2020 14: 35
            +2
            Quote: Thrifty
            Halts hi the fact of the matter is that everything is new, it is very well forgotten old! Sooner or later, they will return to this scheme! This requires a "little" - a complete revolution in materials science, so that the same gearbox, for example, weighs no more than a quarter of the weight of a modern one, and has a solid service life, to begin with! hi

            If there is a "complete revolution in materials science", then the return will occur on a completely new level. I do not even undertake to make any futuristic predictions.
            Everything that is conceptual today can be viewed here. True, I did not quite understand by what principle the numbers were distributed in this video.
        2. sibiryouk
          sibiryouk 28 November 2020 13: 35
          +5
          As for the Designer and the Technologist, I completely agree with you 200%, as I face this problem every day at work.
          1. A. Privalov
            A. Privalov 28 November 2020 14: 36
            +1
            Quote: sibiryouk
            As for the Designer and the Technologist, I completely agree with you 200%, as I face this problem every day at work.

            Of course, I exaggerated, but I'm glad that you understand my main idea. hi
            1. alsoclean
              alsoclean 28 November 2020 16: 38
              +3
              Well, why "exaggerated". As a technologist, I’ll say - hit the mark. Oh, these constructors for me! ... "They are terribly far from the people." Wishlist ... Well, what can you do ... request
    2. Technical engineer
      Technical engineer 29 November 2020 21: 26
      +2
      By the time the Chinook flew with two 4000hp engines, the Mi-10 had flown with 6hp engines for 5500 years. And together with the Mi-6, the Ka-22 flew with the same engines. Moreover, a transverse scheme, and even with a gearbox for pulling screws. By the way, on which engines did the Mi-24 outwardly be heavier and wider than the B-50, set a speed record of 360 km / h? Maybe the B-50 was supposed to use jet thrust? In general, the jet nozzles on piston motors gave a speed increase of 10-15 km. And then the turboshaft. There you can get 150-200 kilograms if you wish, I think.
      1. A. Privalov
        A. Privalov 29 November 2020 23: 22
        0
        Quite possible. However, today we can only speculate, alas ... hi
  3. Aleks2000
    Aleks2000 28 November 2020 09: 01
    +1
    I've already seen a similar article somewhere.
    in appearance - a transport helicopter, expensive, large, complex.
    Everybody had such ideas-sketches in bulk.
    And in real life - only transport helicopters.

    Similar:
    About 2 years ago there was a lot of hype in the media with sketches of a super-high-speed (700 km / h) helicopter with supersonic wings - "our answer to the Americans" to their high-speed helicopter project ..
    Naturally, the peremoga died out, they chose another model for the "answer", and since then we have not heard or seen about it ...
  4. Taoist
    Taoist 28 November 2020 10: 32
    +4
    Well, because of the scheme, the fleet would definitely not have taken this car ... And the maneuverability is not to hell with it. Flight speed in a straight line? All one thing is lower than that of an airplane, but working from limited areas is already a problem ... For a transporter still there, for a combat one, it is definitely not suitable.
  5. garri-lin
    garri-lin 28 November 2020 11: 38
    +4
    Confused by the desire to base such a long helicopter on a warship. There will be many storage problems. Honestly well, a very illogical desire.
  6. xomaNN
    xomaNN 28 November 2020 11: 49
    -1
    The draft layout looks futuristic ... BUT it is unlikely that the Soviet economy would have pulled one more, third design bureau of helicopters and, accordingly, billions for hundreds of new helicopters. Moreover, the operation of an almost analogue of the Yak-24 was negative
    1. xomaNN
      xomaNN 29 November 2020 14: 41
      0
      I see cons, but no arguments against?
  7. iouris
    iouris 28 November 2020 12: 14
    -1
    All attempts to increase the speed of helicopters and airplanes above the achieved ones lead to a dead end. It is necessary to drastically reduce the cost of the life cycle by increasing the operational adaptability, the use of new materials and to ensure the outstripping growth of combat effectiveness in comparison with the enemy. But it is very difficult. And, of course, you need a perspective. But she is not.
  8. 501Legion
    501Legion 28 November 2020 12: 27
    0
    before there were really bold projects
    1. iouris
      iouris 28 November 2020 13: 46
      -2
      Now projects are even more "daring". It depends in what units this "courage" is measured.
  9. Forever so
    Forever so 28 November 2020 18: 13
    +2
    Best the enemy of the good. Why make an under-toucan out of an excellent helicopter machine, which fully fulfills its task?)) An attempt to close all niches has already repeatedly proved that the project is stillborn. Although it is familiar to cut money, satisfy your own ambitions at someone else's expense. Remember the anecdote of the Khrushchev times ??)) Tie braids to your hands, a rake to your ass, and hang a lamp for hell so that you can mow at night))
  10. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 30 November 2020 08: 39
    0
    This would be the fourth type of combat helicopter in service.?
  11. loaln
    loaln 30 November 2020 14: 52
    0
    You will NOT OVERFLOW traitors and thieves.
  12. Vladimir Vlasov
    Vladimir Vlasov 1 December 2020 16: 07
    0
    There are super breakthrough technologies for controlling the force of gravity. A question for government officials: why are we not implementing it? Technologies were developed in the USSR!
  13. Pavel57
    Pavel57 3 December 2020 12: 40
    0
    The B-50 project lost in a non-technical area. Kamov was afraid of losing his leadership in the KB. And he could have won the Mil niche.
  14. lelik613
    lelik613 5 December 2020 07: 14
    0
    Unviable chimera: individually, nothing, but assembled, Frankenstein. But the longitudinal scheme is viable, the only question is the price-benefit ratio.
  15. olshome18
    olshome18 20 January 2021 04: 58
    0
    Does a helicopter need speed?
  16. yehat2
    yehat2 8 February 2021 09: 42
    +1
    it has long been a big mystery to me why the USSR abandoned the use of a longitudinal scheme, especially since the experience of using the Yak-24 and Chinook is quite successful.
    Yak-24 even used heavy tanks as tankers.
  17. yehat2
    yehat2 8 February 2021 09: 47
    +2
    Quote: vfwfr
    American Chinook has been flying since the 60s and no one is spreading rot

    with 4 turret machine guns and boxes with grenades on the carts behind another hells clunker chasing unarmed Vietnamese
  18. Vadim Ananyin
    Vadim Ananyin 15 February 2021 21: 31
    0
    Sketch. Well, it's still beautiful, if it flew and even with such data there would be a Class!
    And then the skeptics were like ... but they worked and achieved results, maybe they would have achieved here too.
    it is always easier to criticize from the outside and there are too many of them, but it is not enough to achieve results during the years.