Military Review

Projects of OKB-23 bombers. Successes, failures and promising technologies

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Experimental aircraft M-50A in Monino. Photo Wikimedia Commons


In 1951, a new experimental design bureau was formed at the aircraft plant No. 23 in Fili, the head of which was V.M. Myasishchev. Already in 1953, the new OKB-23 took off its first development - the long-range strategic bomber M-4, and in 1956 the first flight of the next 3M took place. The Bureau continued work on the topic of long-term aviation, but new projects could not be brought to a series. However, they have enabled the development, testing and implementation of a range of critical solutions and technologies.

Supersonic 200 tons


Since 1954, OKB-23 has been working on the appearance of a promising supersonic bomber. As part of research work, the optimal appearance of such an aircraft was determined, which was later named the M-50. For the first time in domestic practice, it was necessary to create an aircraft with a takeoff weight of approx. 200 tons and a flight speed of up to 2000 km / h. To solve such problems, new engineering solutions and technologies were required.

During the construction of the airframe, it was proposed to use materials and technologies already mastered by the aviation industry, but innovations were also proposed. So, for the first time in domestic practice, large-sized sheathing panels were used, made by drawing with subsequent milling. The use of this technology made it possible to reduce the weight of the structure - and partially compensate for its growth due to other problems.


Experienced M-52 in the process of assembly. Photo Testpilot.ru

Realizing the complexity of piloting a heavy machine at supersonic speeds, the authors of the project decided to unload the pilots as much as possible. Part of the tasks for monitoring the aircraft systems were transferred to specially developed automation. Due to this, the crew could focus on piloting and performing a combat mission. At the same time, the number of the crew was reduced to only two people - less than that of any other domestic long-range bomber.

Among other things, the automation was responsible for the longitudinal balancing of the aircraft. At supersonic speed, the center of aerodynamic pressure shifted to the tail and found itself behind the center of gravity, which led to the appearance of a diving moment. This problem was solved by moving the center of gravity by automatically pumping fuel between different groups of tanks. Subsequently, this solution was used in a number of other projects.

An experienced M-50A bomber made its first flight in October 1959. Tests continued until mid-1961, and during this time they managed to carry out less than two dozen flights, incl. as part of the air parade. Then work on the project stopped due to a number of difficulties. So, the project turned out to be too complicated, and the prototype aircraft did not show all the desired characteristics and was not reliable enough. In addition, fundamental decisions were made to restructure the strategic nuclear forces with a reduction in the role of long-range aviation in favor of ballistic missiles. In such conditions, further development of the M-50 did not make sense. Nevertheless, the technologies of this project remained in the aviation industry and were used.

Projects of OKB-23 bombers. Successes, failures and promising technologies

An early version of the M-56 project with under-wing engines. Photo Aviadejavu.ru

Intermediate developments


In parallel with the M-50, several new projects of military and civilian equipment were being worked out. Some of them were based on an existing project, while others were created from scratch. None of them even reached the test - but all left one or another design and technological groundwork.

The M-50 bomber was developed directly on the basis of the M-52. It was distinguished by the composition and layout of the power plant, the design of the tail unit, the presence of a refueling system in the air, and a number of other features. By the middle of 1961, they even managed to build an experimental aircraft, but due to the stoppage of the basic project, the only M-52 was not tested. Soon it was taken apart.

Another option for the development of the M-50 was the M-54 project. It studied and worked out various changes in the aerodynamic appearance, aimed at improving flight characteristics. The M-54 project made it possible to collect scientific data, but OKB-23 did not have time to use them in their work.

Unusual ideas were implemented in the M-70 bomber project. This modification of the base M-50 received a fuselage-boat and engine nacelles above the wing. As conceived by the designers, such an aircraft could land on water anywhere in the oceans, take fuel from the refueling submarine and rise again into the air. Due to this, it was possible to increase the duration of the watch by several times.


The final version of the M-56 with a common engine nacelle. Graphics Testpilot.ru

The project of the M-56 bomber is of great interest. This aircraft was distinguished by the presence of a front tail and the absence of a tail stabilizer. During subsonic flight, the front planes moved freely in the flow, while in supersonic flight it was proposed to fix them in a given position. Due to this, the necessary longitudinal balancing was provided and the need for pumping fuel was eliminated. The M-56 aircraft could have a take-off weight of approx. 250 t, develop a speed of at least 2,5M and show a range of 10 thousand km.

On the basis of the M-56, three versions of the M-55 supersonic passenger aircraft were worked out. The M-55A modification received two engines and could carry 40 people, and the four-engine M-55B liner was intended for 85 people. The M-55V version with six engines received 120 seats. The dimensions and weight of the three aircraft variants varied significantly.

Atomic aviation


In the mid-fifties, OKB-23 took up the topic of aircraft with a nuclear propulsion system. The first development of this kind was the M-60 project. Initially, it provided for a limited restructuring of the existing M-50 bomber with the introduction of "special engines" from the A.M. Cradle. However, a number of specific requirements related to the use of atomic energy led to the abandonment of this idea and to the development of a completely new aircraft with a different look.


Model of the long-range seaplane M-70. Photo Testpilot.ru

According to the project, the M-60 was to be built according to the midplane scheme with a trapezoidal wing and T-shaped tail. The power plant included four nuclear turbojet engines located in the tail, at the maximum distance from the cockpit. Engines with a built-in core and having different layouts were considered. With a thrust of more than 22 thousand kgf, they could provide a supersonic flight speed.

In the bow, it was proposed to place a crew capsule with powerful biological protection. According to calculations, it weighed 66 tons, the takeoff weight of the aircraft was 250 tons. To protect it from radiation, the capsule cockpit was deprived of glazing and other "weak points". It was proposed to develop television and radar systems for review, new means of life support, etc. An automatic control system was created, capable of controlling the operation of the units and performing the flight. Even the possibility of abandoning the crew and transferring all tasks to automation was considered.

The M-60 project turned out to be overly complex, and its main problems were associated with the proposed power plant. Therefore, in 1958-59. work began on another atomic bomber. The M-30 product was supposed to receive engines from the OKB N.K. Kuznetsov with different characteristics. In addition, the accumulated development experience was used in the M-30.


M-60 aircraft with nuclear engines in the tail. Graphics Testpilot.ru

The new bomber was built according to the "duck" scheme with two keels. Six nuclear turbojet engines were placed in the rear of the vehicle, in a wide nacelle. A common reactor was placed in front of them, which gave out thermal energy. A more advanced design of the power plant made it possible to simplify and facilitate the protection of the reactor and the crew. Thanks to this, the usual glazing was returned and some of the viewing facilities were abandoned.

The M-30 aircraft was smaller and lighter than its predecessor. With a takeoff weight of 170 tons, it carried 38 tons of reactor and cockpit protection, and could also take on board up to 25 tons of payload. Supersonic speed and practically unlimited flight range were provided.

Work on the M-30 continued until 1960, after which it was curtailed. The reason for this was the excessive complexity, cost and danger of promising technology. The expected performance gains did not compensate for these shortcomings. In addition, there was a more profitable alternative in the form of actively developing ballistic missiles.

Failures and hurt


In October 1960, OKB-23 was transferred to the rocket and space industry and became a branch of OKB-52 V.N. Chelomeya. In the future, other transformations took place, but space remained the main sphere of activity of the bureau. However, several new aircraft were developed for various purposes - but not bombers.


Project M-30. Graphics Aviadejavu.ru

For its short history OKB-23, as an independent organization, created a number of various bombers, but only two of them went into series and entered service - a total of more than 120 units. One more plane was brought to the test, and the second was taken apart before the first flight. Other developments remained on paper. All these processes have made a significant contribution to the development of the Air Force, but against the background of the successes of other design bureaus they look quite modest.

However, even unsuccessful projects allowed gaining valuable experience, testing new bold ideas and developing a variety of equipment and technologies. Despite the re-profiling of OKB-23, scientific data and technologies from its projects were subsequently actively used to create new aviation and aerospace technology.

We have found application of know-how in automation and control systems, an original way of balancing, etc. Decisions on nuclear aircraft were mainly sent to the archive in connection with the closure of the direction, the futility of which was also determined by the results of research and design. Perhaps some of the ideas in the field of nuclear engines are being reused in modern projects.

Thus, OKB-23 V.M. During several years of its existence as an aircraft building organization, Myasishcheva managed to significantly influence the development of long-range aviation, as well as create a significant technological reserve for future projects. Probably, this was the main result of the bureau's work.
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  1. Andrey Korotkov
    Andrey Korotkov April 23 2021 06: 06
    +11
    The developments of Myasishchev's design bureau command respect, 50-60 years - that's the thought flew! , a trial pen of strategic jet aircraft, our answer to the Valkyrie
    1. sevtrash
      sevtrash April 23 2021 07: 48
      +2
      Quote: Andrey Korotkov
      The developments of Myasishchev's design bureau command respect, 50-60 years - that's the thought flew! , a trial pen of strategic jet aircraft, our answer to the Valkyrie

      It is difficult to say that the work of the Myasishchev Design Bureau was effective; rather, it was effective, especially for non-specialists. The M4 and 3M bombers did not provide the required range, although Myasishchev promised this to Stalin, having received huge resources for this, including from the rest of the design bureaus. M4 a year later, it seems like it was replaced by 3M. And it did not last long, at least as a bomber, although it was created for this. And at the same time, the Tu95 was being developed, which is still in service.
      The rest of the projectors are exactly the projectors that, such an impression, were made in isolation from real life.
      1. Andrey Korotkov
        Andrey Korotkov April 23 2021 07: 59
        +13
        One of the merit of Myasishchev was that he set to work, while Tupolev refused, citing the insufficient power of serial engines, the projects, as you say, lead to breakthrough technologies, alas, if you don’t understand this, by the way, the M4 (factory index) was 2M serial, which of course they upgraded to 3M, which flew (was in service with the USSR) until the beginning of the 80s
        1. Ka-52
          Ka-52 April 23 2021 08: 25
          +4
          strategic jet aircraft trial pen

          too emergency cars. The percentage of accidents and PLP is higher than that of the Tu-22, which was considered by some to be a cannibal.
          1. Andrey Korotkov
            Andrey Korotkov April 23 2021 08: 27
            +6
            ,, Test pen ,, and how you want? Tu 22 other years 60s
            1. Ka-52
              Ka-52 April 23 2021 08: 45
              +6
              ,, Test pen ,, and how you want? Tu 22 other years 60s

              Tu-16 is the same jet bomber, the same 50-60s. But statistics on accidents and accidents are 2 times better, if not more.
              1. Andrey Korotkov
                Andrey Korotkov April 23 2021 08: 51
                +3
                Let's not argue friends drinks , our opinions do not differ much, I smooth the ,, corners ,, you are for specifics - sharpening them (and correctly), for that we made Valkyrie yes
                1. Ka-52
                  Ka-52 April 23 2021 09: 13
                  +7
                  it was an era. New solutions and the search for the unknown. Not that now - mercantile poking drinks ))
              2. yehat2
                yehat2 25 May 2021 14: 10
                0
                Tu16 and Tu-22 are completely different machines.
                Tu-16 is just a bomb carrier with a very high quality traditional wing. Very conservative, and therefore reliable. The Americans have a B-52 of the same style that has been flying for more than half a century.
                Tu-22 is a machine for extreme flight modes. And a number of problems are directly related to his terms of reference.
                The Americans had a similar analogue - it was much higher in accident rate
                1. Ka-52
                  Ka-52 26 May 2021 04: 59
                  0
                  Tu-22 is a machine for extreme flight modes. And a number of problems are directly related to his terms of reference.

                  there was nothing like this in the terms of reference. And the flight modes of the Tu-22 themselves are not extreme. The problems of the Tu-22 lay in numerous design flaws. Among them is the accident rate. Almost a third of accidents are due to loss of controllability! And the disgusting centering only worsened the situation. Therefore, the refinements went almost 80s, until the end of operation.
                  1. yehat2
                    yehat2 26 May 2021 06: 45
                    0
                    Quote: Ka-52
                    there was nothing like this in the terms of reference.

                    well, yes, it was not ...
                    In April 1954, a resolution of the Council of Ministers was issued, which ordered OKB-156 to create a three-seater front-line bomber Tu-98 with a maximum speed of 1300-1400 km / h at an altitude of 10000-11000 m and 1150-1200 km / h at an altitude of 6000-7000

                    can you tell me how many of these machines were in the 54 year in the USSR?
                    1. Ka-52
                      Ka-52 26 May 2021 07: 08
                      0
                      which ones and why exactly the 54th?
                      1. yehat2
                        yehat2 26 May 2021 08: 26
                        0
                        because it was this technical assignment after the first failure that was implemented in the Tu-22.
                        you need to understand that no one in the USSR has ever implemented such performance characteristics. Even jet fighters of that time were more modest.
                        for example, 1950 la-200, interceptor. Maximum speed m = 0.95
                        mig-15 1047 km / h, mig17 1100 km / h, mig-21PM 1956 year - one of the first to reach the technical specifications of the Tu-22.
                        Therefore, many things were not easy, they stumbled upon completely unexplored problems.
                      2. Ka-52
                        Ka-52 26 May 2021 09: 25
                        0
                        that's why I wrote above:
                        it was an era. New solutions and the search for the unknown.
        2. Genry
          Genry April 23 2021 12: 12
          +5
          Quote: Ka-52
          Tu-22, which some of us considered a cannibal.

          You have forgotten the Tu-16 and Tu-104. There Tupolev did not want to admit his mistakes and stupidly blamed everything on the pilots.
          1. Ka-52
            Ka-52 April 23 2021 12: 28
            +5
            I wrote about the Tu-16, and the 104ka is essentially the same fenced Tu-16, only the Tu-16 is a midwing, and 104 is a low-winged plane, like most passenger aircraft
            1. Genry
              Genry April 23 2021 12: 34
              +3
              Quote: Ka-52
              only Tu-16 mid-wing, and 104 - low-wing

              And his fuselage is thinner .... So what? The efficiency of the elevator was sorely lacking.
              The regimes were limited to the military, and the civilians were simply "removed".
              1. Ka-52
                Ka-52 April 23 2021 12: 54
                +1
                on the Tu-104, the main problem was with track stability. A problem that is usually solved by installing a damping machine. The same problem was on the Tu-22.
                1. Genry
                  Genry April 23 2021 12: 55
                  +1
                  Quote: Ka-52
                  on the Tu-104, the main problem was with track stability.

                  What does the track have to do with it. They were just addicted to their peak.
          2. yehat2
            yehat2 26 May 2021 08: 29
            0
            and what are the mistakes of the Tu-16?
            conservative design, masterpiece wing. The engines are shitty, the electronics and equipment are huge in both weight and size. The Chinese, after replacing the problematic components, are still using the glider with pleasure.
      2. sevtrash
        sevtrash April 23 2021 15: 00
        +1
        Quote: Andrey Korotkov
        One of the merit of Myasishchev was that he set to work while Tupolev refused, citing the insufficient power of serial engines.

        And Tupolev turned out to be right, it was the Tupolev machine that provided the necessary range, without which there was no sense of a strategic bomber, alas, you do not understand this)). 12-13 thousand kilometers, which were required by the customer, have not been achieved.
        ... The approved TTZ determined: the use of four turbojet engines of the AM-3 brand; flight speed 900 ÷ 1000 km / h; combat load 5000 kg; practical flight range (with a combat load of 5000 kg) - not less than 13000 km; the date of arrival of the aircraft in the Air Force - no later than 1954 ...
        Only with refueling it turned out.
        And the accident rate - 25% of M4 and 3M are lost.
        Of course, Myasishchev and his design bureau, as well as the entire aviation industry of the USSR, did a gigantic job of creating, finishing, supporting these machines. Was it worth splitting forces into 2 projects? Yes, Tupolev took a pose in front of Stalin, but in fact, he was right about engines and range.
        1. yehat2
          yehat2 26 May 2021 08: 42
          0
          the engines were insufficiently studied, so it was difficult to predict with certainty their potential. practice showed that they did not justify their hopes, but this Tupolev could not know.
          On the whole, he appreciated the high uncertainty of hopes and was right only in this.
          As for the work of Myasishchev, it is necessary to recall the conditions under which this happened.
          The USSR was threatened with a nuclear strike and it was necessary to create something urgently in response. And in a hurry, you often have to sacrifice a lot.
          In addition, the very presence of the aircraft and its demonstration to the Americans played a large role in the stability of the USSR's defense.
          And if they waited, like Tupolev, for convenient conditions ... remind you how Polikarpov waited for engines for his fighters?
      3. yehat2
        yehat2 26 May 2021 08: 55
        0
        Quote: Andrey Korotkov
        One of the merit of Myasishchev was that he set to work, while Tupolev refused, citing the insufficient power of serial engines, the projects, as you say, lead to breakthrough technologies

        He undertook to undertake, but the rush in the implementation of the project, it seems to me, was too great, in spite of the fact that they were in a hurry and needed to be fast.
        Therefore, some of the decisions turned out to be clumsy. For example, why the chassis was not made, as on the b-52?
        Was it that difficult? instead, they made a rather strange and not entirely reliable design. And there are many similar things on the plane. I examined the m4 in the museum. There are many suspicious decisions in it.
        On the other hand, I would like to draw your attention to the American close analogue of the B-58 Hasler
        there were no less problems with it than with the M4 or Tu-22.
        for example, the plane crashes happened on average 2 times a year, and the Americans put it into production only in 1960 and slowly promoted the project. And they were objectively the best in the world at that time.
        I used this example to show how difficult it was for our engineers to create a bomber.
        1. AC130 Ganship
          AC130 Ganship 5 June 2021 17: 14
          0
          Yehat2, you are a little confused. B58 - was supersonic, with all the advanced technologies at that time. By the way, they were released relatively few and were removed from service very quickly. he did not solve the tasks required he at that time in the military doctrine of the United States. M4 - subsonic, rather - an analogue of B52 in terms of tasks and characteristics
          1. yehat2
            yehat2 5 June 2021 19: 06
            0
            Quote: AC130 Ganship
            Yehat2, you are a little confused.

            yes, I’m confused - I’m talking about two different machines at once - m4 and m50
            and I saw only m50 live.
  • sleeve
    sleeve April 23 2021 07: 00
    +10
    Myasishchev's cars are simply beautiful, they are like from the era of dreams of that time, from drawings about the future. Chopped corners and planes are not considered futur now. Flying fantasy. Beautiful and scary ...
    1. Genry
      Genry April 23 2021 12: 26
      +10
      Myasishchev was a pioneer in the construction of high-speed heavy and long-range aircraft. Thanks to him, new research and development was carried out. He raised aircraft construction to the next stage of development, which Tupolev was afraid to do, and only after seeing the achievements of Myasishchev, he decided to take up this direction himself (which signed the verdict of the Myasishchev Design Bureau).
    2. sifgame
      sifgame April 24 2021 10: 23
      0
      Well said )
    3. AC130 Ganship
      AC130 Ganship 5 June 2021 17: 17
      0
      If a 15-meter plane, due to the angles, looks like a 2-meter plane on the radar screen, then I am very much for such angularity. The main thing is that the quality of the product does not suffer. The F16 outlasted the angular F117 by far. Looks like the price / quality was not in favor of the Night Hunter
  • Ka-52
    Ka-52 April 23 2021 08: 13
    +5
    In October 1960, OKB-23 was transferred to the rocket and space industry and became a branch of OKB-52 V.N. Chelomeya

    Machine-building plant, and now the Khrunichev SPC.
  • Tests
    Tests April 23 2021 10: 01
    +7
    Ka-52 (Andrey), dear, Tu-16, in my opinion, in terms of the tasks performed, it is correct only to compare with the Tu-22. And the M4 and 3M can only be compared with the Tu-95 ... It seems to me that the 3M tankers were sent under the guillotine too early, in the wake of the "new thinking" hysteria. They could well have refueled both long-range and fighters until the early 2000s, approximately. After all, the IL-78 was not enough. Both the Tu-142 and Il-38 are still in service today.
    sleeve (maxim), dear, Myasishchev and Tu-22 planes are pictures from my childhood. I agree with you by 202%: "Myasishchev's cars are simply beautiful, they are like from the era of dreams of that time, from drawings about the future."
    It’s a pity that Atlantes haven’t been flying for many years. And it's a pity that with the "Stratosphere" and "Geophysics" the history of Myasishchev's planes is over ...
    1. Ka-52
      Ka-52 April 23 2021 11: 18
      +2
      Dear, Tu-16, in my opinion, according to the tasks performed, it is correct only to compare with the Tu-22.

      but where does the task? the question is the accident rate of combat vehicles. And it is not connected for the most part with the appointment.
      1. yehat2
        yehat2 26 May 2021 08: 58
        0
        Quote: Ka-52
        the question is the accident rate of combat vehicles. And she is not tied

        accident rate is just connected. The USSR had experience in creating reliable machines.
        If it was not used, there were good reasons for it.
        For example, the arms race, current dangers, still a shortage of personnel, insufficient industry to implement the terms of reference, and other factors.
        I would like to remind you about the accident rate of new fighters at the end of the 30s.
        Dozens of the most experienced pilots were killed.
        the well-known bf-109 more than 40% of the losses are all sorts of accidents, mainly on landing.
        In the race for performance characteristics, questions constantly arise that cannot always be quickly resolved.
  • xomaNN
    xomaNN April 23 2021 15: 18
    +1
    GC Myasishchev as well as GC Bartini with their air design bureaus often ran ahead of the level of technology and technology of the USSR that existed at that time. Therefore, more often than not, their developments remained non-serial samples or even only mock-ups. Training the mind. But, alas, there was only enough money for actual real weapons. Therefore, Tupolev bombers went into series. Even when the performance characteristics were slightly weaker.
  • Pavel57
    Pavel57 April 23 2021 16: 29
    0
    The bicycle on Myasishchev's planes created difficulties for the suspension of missiles in and under the fuselage.
    1. Sergey Sfiedu
      Sergey Sfiedu April 24 2021 01: 53
      +2
      Depends on what. X-20 - yes, but this monster is outdated before it was born. And the K-10s missiles were planned to be placed on the wing, the Kh-22, KSR-5 were to be suspended under the engines, on the standard PTB locks, without any special problems. Only the version with the KSR-5 was tested, and then there was no serial modernization, although the plane was clearly outperforming the Tu-16K-26. The bike created problems during takeoff and landing in a crosswind and icing of the strip - this is an organic drawback of such a scheme.
      1. Barb
        Barb April 29 2021 12: 57
        0
        Quote: Sergey Sfyedu
        The bike created problems during takeoff and landing in a crosswind and icing of the strip - this is an organic drawback of such a scheme.

        Because of this, there were big problems with basing.
  • Pavel57
    Pavel57 April 24 2021 02: 45
    0
    Quote: Sergey Sfyedu
    The bike created problems during takeoff and landing in a crosswind and icing of the strip - this is an organic drawback of such a scheme.

    The bike required careful "tuning" examples of successful implementations - I-211 Alekseeva, V-52, and partly the Yak-25/27/28 family.
  • vadivm59
    vadivm59 April 24 2021 18: 29
    -1
    I am always annoyed in books about aviation, here are such articles. They describe the type of aircraft on 2-3 pages, how wonderful it was! but in the end, bam, did not go into the series. hello! and why was the paper dirty? Well, write an article, a book titled "KB paper projects .... such that." Personally, I will not look at such a book.
  • English tarantas
    English tarantas April 24 2021 19: 08
    0
    Unfortunately, no matter how much I look at Soviet jet aircraft, most of them are ugly, I don't really like it. Especially the planes of the 50-70s, the latest MiGs are beautiful. The characteristics are of course high for domestic aircraft, but something is wrong with them (
  • AC130 Ganship
    AC130 Ganship 5 June 2021 16: 40
    0
    Interesting article. For some reason, there is nothing about the M-18, all the documentation for which Myasishchev was ordered to transfer to Tupolev, and which later (with modifications to the tail unit) became known to all Tu-160
  • AC130 Ganship
    AC130 Ganship 5 June 2021 16: 43
    0
    Slightly off the topic of the article. At one time, Izhmash also designed the Orbit / Oda machine, which overtook Azlk for several years with their M2141. It is clear that Izhevsk was told to shut up, not stick out and continue to rivet 412 and "heels"