Military Review

Rocket planes - in flight! Or good old and good new

Rocket planes - in flight! Or good old and good new
Images of rocket plane models were present in Soviet times even on the covers of the Modelist-Constructor magazine, they were so popular

“I’m flying to my death following a dream.
To know, my destiny is to cherish dreams.
And there with a sigh in the air
Scatter fiery tears.

Rocket. A. Fet, 1888

From model to something more... And it happened that back in 1966 the Commission on Rocket and Space Models of the International aviation Federation (FAI) developed a sports code in which rocket planes were divided into four classes and given them "bird" names: "Sparrow", "Swift", "Eagle" and "Condor". In 1975 and 1989, in the FAI code, rocket plane models were divided into categories and classes, which differed in the total thrust impulse of the engines and in their launch mass.

The requirements for each category were also clarified, and at the same time the classes themselves became five at first, and then, since 2001, six. That is - everything is like in a serious sport. And this sport was also really serious. Not children, but adult uncles went to the start with models of rocket planes with wings made of the lightest balsa, which was not available in the USSR, but masters and champions got it somewhere. With carbon fiber hulls that weighed some grams, while their opponents from rural SUT came with democratic pine and plywood weighing tens of grams. In a word, everything was in the best Soviet traditions, when everyone was equal, but some were more equal than others. And ... they used this equality with maximum efficiency.

But now let's talk about something else. All these children's and adult homemade products, designed for the development of mass technical creativity in the country, have largely prepared the basis for the development of today's designs, moreover, at a completely new level and with a new purpose.

Take the same rocket planes. What was the essence of the competition with them? Whose fly farthest? Will it rise higher? No! Whose longer will plan! That is, they were rocket ... gliders. Only this glider had to be launched like a rocket, while not having any other lifting force, except for the power of the rocket engine, then wings should have appeared, straightened, opened, and ... this rocket plane had to plan to the ground. And not longer than a certain amount of time. And this time was limited by the burning of the Fickford cord. As soon as its segment, lit before the start, burned out, it burned through the thread that held the stabilizer in the “up” position, after which the Hungarian rubber band moved it to the “down” position, and the rocket plane quickly descended in a spiral. For three starts, therefore, it was necessary to score maximum points, that is, to fly stably in all respects!

The simplest model of a rocket plane with a rigid wing

Several rocket plane systems have been developed. The simplest one is with a rigid wing and a stabilizer, similar to an aircraft, but not creating aerodynamic lift during takeoff. Here we needed a very light balsa wing, which in some way would be translated at a certain angle of attack at a height - and allowed the model to glide and land.

In 1972, modeler A. Gavrilov from Krasnozavodsk developed a model with a rotary wing along the fuselage, and modeler S. Morozov from Elektrostal proposed a wing whose consoles folded towards the center section. Moreover, before the start, the wing was also assigned to the tail section, where at the time of takeoff it played the role of a stabilizer.

Model S. Morozov

After the expelling charge of the MRD (microrocket engine) was triggered, it moved forward, after which the model began to plan. In 1982, another original model appeared at the All-Union competitions, developed by Moscow modellers under the guidance of coach V. Minakov. She and the console folded and turned the wing. The scheme was called "Moscow", according to the place of its birth, and received the widest recognition in the USSR, that is, the rocket planes made on its basis turned into a rather massive sports "projectile".

Rocket plane with folding wings

When folded (on takeoff), such a rocket plane resembled an ordinary rocket. Only now his wing was located along the fuselage. And after the MRD fired at an altitude of about 200 m, it turned around with the help of elastic bands across the fuselage, its “ears” (console) opened up - and the model began to soar like an ordinary glider.

Another group of rocket planes is made up of aircraft made according to the “flying wing” scheme. V. Khokhlov became its author and developer. Hence its name - "Khokhlovskaya"

A model of a S4A class rocket plane of the "flying wing" type, made according to the "Khokhlov scheme": 1 - head fairing, 2 - rubber shock absorber, 3 - carrier model container, 4 - suspension thread, 5 - stabilizer, 6 - MRD, 7 - latch MRD, 8 - wing pylon, 9 - weights, 10 - wing opening elastic, 11 - hook, 12 - elastic, 14 - wing, 15 - fastening threads, 16 - end flap, 17 - trailing edge of the flap, 18 - rib, 19 - spar, 20 - ending

Its scheme turned out to be very unusual, but quite interesting. And most importantly, not too time-consuming for a modeller. In addition, it met all the technical requirements for this category of rocket planes, could take off with an inclination of up to 30 ° from the vertical and glide steadily. In addition, it had a small mass of the actual planning part and, consequently, also a small load on the wing.

Rocket planes made according to this scheme belonged to the container type, that is, they were folded inside the rocket body, while the glider itself - the “flying wing” - was folding, which made it possible to launch it to a very high altitude.

How then was this achieved? Yes, it's very simple: each wing of the airframe consisted of two halves, folding along the spar with flat sides to each other, and convex - outward. That is, such a rocket plane was launched, so to speak, “in the form of a rocket”, but there, high in the sky, its body opened up and fell down on a streamer parachute. The wings, on the other hand, opened in width and acquired an aerodynamic profile, after which they were parted to the sides and received a V-shaped profile and a characteristic sweep along the leading edges. All this made it possible for such a glider (besides, it had a very long wing!) to stay in the air for a long time and fly a long distance, even for a model.

Rocketplane with a flexible container-type wing: 1 - this is how it looked before launch, and the nose fairing of its "rocket base", as it is very clearly visible, looks down. That is, if you put a video camera in it, then in this way you can get a high-altitude soaring reconnaissance glider without any problems! 2 - the wings of the rocket plane are folded in order to insert them into the rocket body; 3 - each time the wings are more and more compact; 4 - a rocket plane with a fully folded wing and with a head fairing (and it can be a GLONASS-guided warhead) is retracted into the rocket body

Rocket planes with a flexible wing made of lavsan film were also very popular. They were also of a container type: the fuselage of a rocket plane with a drop-down V-shaped flexible wing was inserted into the rocket body, which, together with the head fairing of the rocket body, was fired from it with an MRD expelling charge. And there were also such models in which flexible wings were extended from the body through the slots made in it.

Rocketplane with a flexible wing that extends from the body

And now let's see how all this accumulated knowledge can be applied today within the same CBO. It is well known that the most diverse missile systems are used there today. weapon and UAV. Why not combine both in the interests of business and create long-range combat rocket planes for reconnaissance and strike purposes?

Let's start with the simplest: a short-range rocket plane with a folding wing. What is its advantage over mortars and the same "Cornet"? And its advantage is that its speed is relatively low, therefore it does not require anti-shock qualities from the design of the electronic filling, which is simply necessary for the same corrected mine "Daredevil". The wings make it possible to raise such ammunition to a very high altitude with the help of even a rather weak MRD, and from there, having seen everything down to the last soldier's latrine, he can easily dive there. And here its speed will be incomparably greater than the speed of any "copter", which means that it will be much more difficult for the enemy to "run away" from a strike from the sky.

Let's move on... On the basis of a rocket plane with a flexible wing, it is possible to create a high-altitude loitering ammunition with a low RCS, but at the same time capable of staying in the air over enemy territory for a long time. The same can be said about rocket planes of the "flying wing" type. Launched by Smerch and Uragan missiles, they will be able to fly many tens, if not hundreds of kilometers, while reaching the most remote enemy targets. Moreover, their design can be quite simple, although it will undoubtedly require modern materials and electronics, even the simplest ones.

Here it is necessary that serious workers in the military-industrial complex remember such a past of ours and those successful designs that were then created and sufficiently tested, even on models. Who knows what original designs may emerge from these yesterday's ideas and today's materials.

PS I have never particularly liked rocket plane models, as well as timer aircraft models. I didn’t see any special meaning in them, except for “filling my hand”, and I always considered modeling to be something completely different. But here's how it all turned out, and what kind of meaning was hidden in these "sports equipment"!

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  1. Luminman
    Luminman 2 January 2023 07: 49
    Even a senior student of some aviation university can create the necessary aircraft for absolutely any need today. I will say more - you don’t even need to create anything. You just need to go to the technical library, which are available at any educational institution and choose a ready-made airframe scheme (glider - an aircraft without an engine and avionics) aircraft. Scheme with all ready-made drawings and calculations. Also, according to the catalog, choose a power plant and avionics for it, and in an hour or two, your UAV will be ready for serial production...

    But there is such a thing as microelectronics, which is responsible for the remote control of the device and calculates the trajectory of its flight and guidance of "smart" weapons, or high-resolution optics. Here with it at us business as though and not absolutely. And, alas, there is no accumulated experience to which one could turn too ...
    1. Alexey Lantukh
      Alexey Lantukh 2 January 2023 11: 33
      And here it is (in optics and image recognition), the field of activity of military research institutes, the product of which can also be applied in the civilian sphere. Perhaps they are doing this, but the field of activity and the volume is enormous, especially in microelectronics.
  2. Catfish
    Catfish 2 January 2023 09: 38
    Hello! drinks

    With a hangover, an old joke came from my memory: "Let's buy hfaners with all the money, build an eroplan and fly away from here to the motherfucker!"

    1. setter
      setter 2 January 2023 10: 19
      Hello! There is nothing new under the sun. Once upon a time, the Germans were also looking for options for a "wunderwaffe" made of shit and sticks like Blohm & Voss BV 40 in order to oppose the American and British bombings.

      Attach a rocket booster to this "wonder weapon" - and the Shpakovsky "long-range combat rocket plane for reconnaissance and strike purposes" is ready.
      1. Alexey Lantukh
        Alexey Lantukh 2 January 2023 11: 37
        And by the way, the Germans had success in this direction during the war. Several ships were sunk by guided missiles.
      2. kalibr
        2 January 2023 13: 35
        Quote from Passeur
        rocket booster

        There will be about it!
        1. setter
          setter 2 January 2023 16: 56
          There will be about it!

          I represent. The idea of ​​the Wunderwaffe is rooted in the mists of time. Durendal, Excalibur, Gram, Nagelring, Junkers Ju 322 Mammut and others "analogue". So you can gush with ideas for a long time.
  3. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 2 January 2023 11: 30
    In a word, everything was in the best Soviet traditions, when everyone was equal, but some were more equal than others. And ... they used this equality with maximum efficiency.
    And everything seems to be well written by the author, he remembered rocket-plan modeling, gave naive advice on how it can be used now, but without a piece of odorous substance in the USSR, which the ear has not had for 30 years, it cannot.
    1. kalibr
      2 January 2023 13: 27
      Sergey, I haven’t paid him off yet, so it’s impossible to do without a piece of shit. And 30 years is not a long time. We blame the Egyptians 3 thousand years ago that they built their pyramids in vain, wasting their GDP aimlessly. And then 30 years ... It's funny even to read you.
  4. agoran
    agoran 2 January 2023 12: 01
    In the old days there was a magazine Modeler-constructor. There were diagrams of various rockets, but there was a problem where to get fuel for the engine.
    You can make it, but you need to look for the necessary components.
    For the boys in Koenig, the easiest option is gunpowder from cartridges that they dug up in the forest ..
    Only gunpowder behaved unpredictably. Or zilch or explosion.
    The best gunpowder was in the form of thin yellow straws. We called it Hungarian or Romanian, I don't know why.
    There were several successful rocket launches, but it was the area of ​​​​a military airfield, uncles arrived and said that it was not necessary to do this. This ended the career of rocket modeling.
    1. kalibr
      2 January 2023 13: 30
      Quote: agoran
      There were several successful rocket launches,

      I myself made such engines on homemade gunpowder with the addition of coal dust.
    2. kalibr
      2 January 2023 15: 00
      Quote: agoran
      In the old days there was a magazine Modeler-constructor

      It is still there ... It comes out monthly!
    3. Aviator_
      Aviator_ 2 January 2023 21: 46
      You can make it, but you need to look for the necessary components.
      In some Young Technique for 1967 there was a recipe for black powder, but about a year later a decree was issued banning home-made engines (probably there were accidents), and industrial engines in the dimensions of a 12 (16?) caliber sleeve were distributed centrally through clubs modeling at DOSAAF. In fact, it was the same black powder, but industrial production.
      1. kalibr
        3 January 2023 08: 37
        Quote: Aviator_
        but industrial production.

        Now engines of different capacities can be bought through Ali-express. They all fly!
      2. Eule
        Eule 7 January 2023 18: 07
        Quote: Aviator_
        industrial engines in sleeve dimensions

        In the circle I went to between 8 and 14 years of age, the most important job was to make a "fake" engine with my gunpowder in the body of the shot. 10-year-old guys themselves thought of pouring a mixture of potassium perchlorate and aluminum powder with warm epoxy. In order for the color of the exhaust to be like that of an industrial one, hair dye was poured into the resin, the amount on the tip of the scissors, I don’t remember what it was called, was sold in a household store opposite the Malenkovskaya station.
        I thought of the idea of ​​TPK at the age of 11, as a result, my grandfather was called to school ... And then, as an adult, I was surprised to read that until some years the very idea of ​​​​firing from a container was considered secret;)
        Black powder was also made, moreover, according to Peter's technology, with moistening the mixture before rubbing with wine stale from drunks. They rubbed it on the roof so that the stench of wine would not be absorbed into the clothes, in the very wind they worked alternately. However, the dextrin recipe wasn't as smelly to make. But still, the emergency has less thrust, but it was easier to do.
        I am surprised that modern children do not do anything rocket, because all the components are on sale in a village shop.
  5. Taoist
    Taoist 2 January 2023 12: 05
    Oh, how many rocket planes I built in my time ... and not even for competitions, it was just interesting ... By the way, mostly from paper. Mandrel, glue and paper - any shape is easily pasted on a blank.
  6. Private SA
    Private SA 2 January 2023 12: 12
    Quote: Aviator_
    remembered rocket modeling,

    By the way, in our ship modeling society, where I am in the Soviet school age
    walked, rocket planes were not built. Rocketeers built rockets, and then
    demonstrative launches were arranged. At the flight altitude. And the nose cone is not made of
    lindens, and from balsa they turned on a lathe. Cool ship modellers
    they drove their radio-controlled boats at speed around the pool in one of
    city ​​parks. And the models are copies of the cruisers "Varyag" and "Aurora" and the battleship
    "Prince Potemkin of Tauride" was in the windows in the city's Palace of Culture.
    1. kalibr
      2 January 2023 15: 01
      Quote: Private SA
      Cool ship modellers

      Now the same thing is done not by cool, but by very ordinary children!
      1. Eule
        Eule 7 January 2023 18: 10
        Ordinary children took balsa from the walls of empty fruit boxes, with a sticker of a man in a sombrero, dragged the boxes from the vegetable yard. The hardest part was escaping the loader.
  7. Knell wardenheart
    Knell wardenheart 2 January 2023 15: 07
    It is sad that in our time, even from toys, the imagination draws means of killing their own kind ..
  8. Ivanushka Ivanov
    Ivanushka Ivanov 2 January 2023 21: 52
    One of the most poorly/managed/flying design concepts - requires perfect stiffness, lightness and geometry, perfect weight balance. From the memories of a pioneer childhood, rocket plane models did not fly correctly at all. For example, my comrade's rocket plane fried my rabbit earflaps (on me) - for which he received a well-deserved arrival in the groin of my already combat crooked craft. The closest example is the Ukrainian swift.
  9. Nikolay-Nikolaevich
    Nikolay-Nikolaevich 3 January 2023 01: 56
    I remember the simplest rockets we made at school from a piece of photographic film and foil from a chocolate bar ... Then we switched to arrows launched with a bow (crossbow) and with a powder charge on the nose. The gunpowder had a smoldering wick soaked in potassium permanganate and dried. It is not extinguished by the wind. The recipe for gunpowder was published in the magazine Young Technician ... Well, they set fire to a barn in the village for one grandmother. What was it was ... :) Then they switched to airplanes - for speed they molded the wings in shape from foam ... Every two hours, new wings. Without any there ribs and spars. So they finished playing to the aviation institute. :)
    1. Aviator_
      Aviator_ 3 January 2023 09: 50
      we made the simplest rockets at school from a piece of photographic film and foil from a chocolate bar ...
      These are the simplest. And since 1968, all photographic film has become non-combustible, which greatly undermined this rocket-modeling direction.