History knows a lot of fantastic projects, surprising with their courage and complete isolation from reality.
Submarine aircraft carriers (submarines with a seaplane - used by Japan for symbolic "bombardment" of Oregon forests).
Vertically taking off amphibious BBA-14. Amazing beauty car. True, it remained unclear why the amphibians had a vertical take-off, when around - an endless water surface, suitable as a runway.
Pocket Pistol for the B-36 strategic bomber. Mini fighter XF-85 "Goblin", suspended in the bomb bay and produced when the appearance of enemy aircraft. Crazy from start to finish the project, however, managed to grow to the stage of flight tests.
And, of course, WIG - another bold attempt to deceive the laws of nature. A unique design combining the “speed of the aircraft with the carrying capacity of traditional ships”, capable of “moving above water and a hard surface” and “having the broadest prospects in the field of passenger and maritime transport, saving people in distress at sea, as well as as a military vehicle for the transfer of troops or carrier of cruise missiles. " Unfortunately, all the above-mentioned advantages of WIG - false information, widely replicated on the Internet. The ekranoplan does not possess any of these properties.
Comparison of an ekranoplan with a ship is completely groundless - the largest of the built “monsters” are inferior in carrying capacity even to heavy transport aircraft, and against the background of ships they generally look like small graceful boats. The comparison of ekranoplanes with aviation - airplanes fly two to three times faster. The last argument - the ability to fly over a smooth hard surface (earth, snow, ice), can cause bewilderment for passengers of Tu-154 or Il-96 - the plane in principle is indifferent to the relief under the wing. Taiga, mountains, ocean ...
This is easily seen on concrete examples - during the past discussions of the “screen effect” we repeatedly observed curious scenes:
- The transport winged aircraft "Eaglet" and "The Caspian Monster" smashed to smithereens the An-12, An-22 and An-124 transport planes on the criteria: "speed, cost, distance of transportation", as well as on the spectrum of application and ensuring flight safety. The same applies to the unrealized American project "Pelican" - the victory of technology over common sense;
- Comparison of the combat ekranoplan "Lun" with the ships of the Navy fleet also did not go in favor of the “goose unicorn” - the newly made “killer of aircraft carriers” turned out to be completely defenseless machine with minimal strike potential. Under such conditions, a higher ekranoplan speed (at best - 600 km / h) no longer matters - for modern jet aircraft, the Lun and the destroyer are equally static objects. Only the latter can stand up for itself, but the military ekranoplan cannot - (if you install ship-mounted air defense systems on the "Lun", an overloaded monster simply cannot fly into the air).
- just as unsuccessfully, there was a comparison of the “Lun” ground-winged waggon with the supersonic Tu-22 and Tu-22M bomber — a huge low-speed vehicle with a tiny combat radius, looking like a flying embarrassment against the background of the Tupolev design bomber. In addition, “Lunya” had problems with target designation - flying near the surface of the water, he did not see anything further than his nose (20 km radio horizon). And finally, expensive, too expensive! - that only cost 8 jet engines NK-87, taken from the wide-body passenger airliner IL-86.
- for the same reasons, the idea of a rescue ekranoplan was a utopia. “Guseedinor” is simply unable to detect the victims of a shipwreck due to its low altitude. In addition, the flight range is too short (2000 km) - contrary to all dreams, the Rescuer Wiggyback could not have been saved by the crew of the Komsomolets boat, which sank in the Norwegian Sea.
The irrelevance of the construction of WIG-monsters became clear at the design stage. The main reasons for the failure of designer Rostislav Alekseev are fundamental natural prohibitions: too high air density in the lower atmosphere, as well as obvious difficulties to take off from the surface of the water - to overcome the monstrous resistance (ekranoplan sediment - a few meters!) And the force of "sticking" water to the body " Caspian Monsters "required power plants of incredible power (KM - 10 (ten!) RD-7 jet engines, taken from Tu-22 bomber. Take-off costs - 30 tons of kerosene!). Such indicators, of course, put an end to the further career of the “Goose-unicorns”.
The excuses associated with the lack of time and money for Alexeyev to improve their structures have no real basis: the first acquaintance of aviators with the screen effect (the appearance of a dynamic "airbag" under the wing when flying near a shielding surface) occurred as early as 20. last century. Rostislav Alekseev seriously dealt with this topic from the 50-s, the work went so successfully that already in 1966 an incredible 500 – ton “Caspian monster” took to the air. Such a construction cannot be recreated in artisanal conditions, the construction of the Monster demanded the enormous efforts of a whole research and production team. Everything went fine until the discouraging test results were obtained. The result - only about 10 "monsters" of various purposes (including prototypes and unfinished cores) were built.
For comparison, the helicopter industry: if you do not take into account the original projects of Leonardo Da Vinci, the helicopter industry received a start in life in 1911, when engineer Boris Yuryev invented the blade skew machine. The first flights on "helicopters" began in 1920-x, each time faster and farther and more confident. Limited use in World War II - and the triumphal take-off of helicopters during the Korean War. There is nothing to add here - the helicopter had really wonderful qualities.
Another "unicorn goose" did not fly farther away from the museum
Visitors to the site "Military Review" rightly drew attention to the existence of a large number of homemade ekranoplanov designs created by enthusiasts around the world. Now, ekranoplans are still a popular subject, almost at every exhibition of aviation and marine equipment you can find a stand with models of these machines and bright booklets describing their extreme characteristics and efficiency. This, for sure, is no accident ...
Are lightweight wig - the very desired application niche for this type of technology?
I suggest readers make a brief comparison of the three cars:
- modern EKVOLK EK-12P (2000 g.),
- the ancient "corncob" An-2 (1947 g.),
- the legendary UH-1 “Iroquois” helicopter (1956).
At first glance, the lightweight wig looks very attractive - not yielding to light aircraft in speed and payload, it has no equal in terms of fuel efficiency. But the first impression is deceptive, the An-2 and the Iroquois helicopter are quite old cars, for example, the ASH-62 engine installed back in the distant 1937 year based on the licensed Wright Cyclone is installed on the corncob. Put on the "Oriole" instead of modern BMW engines, the engine from the "emka" and see how the characteristics of the device will change. And do not forget to make a discount on the archaic design of An-2 - no composites, plastics and other high-tech. Heavy (but cheap and durable) wheels of the main landing gear from the Il-2 attack aircraft. Not the highest quality assembly and aerodynamics. Passengers of the Ivolg ekranoplan sit in armchairs, leaning shoulder to shoulder - the An-2 passengers, on the contrary, can freely get up and walk to the end of the cabin, where the “bucket” sanitary system is installed on the 15 frame — a thing of no small importance, considering the “bumper” "During the flight" kukuruznik "near the surface of the earth.
Legendary Crop Duster
Cessna-172 with modern "tuning"
For the sake of justice, a more modern light-engine Cessna-172 aircraft (first flight - 1955) can be considered. The Cessna cannot be directly compared to the An-2, since This aircraft is in a completely different weight category (max. take-off weight - a little more than a ton). Nevertheless, it is possible to make some correlation between the performance of the Orioles, the corncob and the Cessna.
The Cessna-172 takes on board up to four people (including the pilot) and is able to cover the 1300 km distance with a cruising speed of 220 km / h. The power plant - the only four-cylinder engine power 160 hp The fuel supply on board is 212 liters. The Cessna-172 showed very good performance, which, coupled with its simplicity, reliability and low cost, ensured its global success. As a result, the small Cessna became the most massive aircraft in aviation history.
From all of this comparison follows a straightforward conclusion: lightweight wig can quite successfully compete with light aircraft. Small size, good aerodynamics and low airspeed level all the disadvantages of the large "Caspian monsters" and provide excellent fuel economy. The disadvantages of the car are its price (it’s enough to estimate the cost of servicing two 12-cylinder engines from BMW 7-series) and the limited scope associated with water areas (for the most daring ones there is snow-covered tundra without subsurface and power lines). Verdict - the car on the fan.
These flying boats represent a new level of military equipment, designed to strengthen our defense capabilities. They are not afraid of the waves, and they are able to fly very low with great speed, which makes them almost invisible.
Ahmad Vahidi, Iranian Defense Minister
Ahmad Vahidi, Iranian Defense Minister
A very interesting story is connected with the creation of ekranoplans in Iran - several years ago it became known that the guards of the Islamic revolution adopted three squadrons of flying boats - light single-winged ekranoplanes of the type “Bavar-2” (“confidence” translated from Farsi). A special feature of Iranian cars is the delta wing - the result of the work of the German aircraft designer Alexander Lippisha, who dealt with the problem of the “screen effect” along with Rostislav Alekseev.
The works of Lippish were well known throughout the world, including in the USSR. As early as the beginning of the 80s, Soviet enthusiasts designed a light flying boat, the design of which, up to individual elements, completely coincides with the design of the Bavar-2. Iranians only slightly modernized WIG, replacing pulling propeller with pushing and probably equipped their cars. weapons and special equipment (according to official data, "Bavar-2" is armed with a machine gun).
Of the unique properties of "Bavar-2" - high secrecy. For the US Navy, Iranian ekranoplan is like the Elusive Joe, whom no one is looking for, because nobody needs that one. Jokes, but if the “Bavar-2” case is made of wood, plastic or other radio-transparent materials, the detection of such small targets becomes a really difficult task. Another thing is that a single light combat vehicle does not pose any threat to enemy ships ... However, if there are desperate guys, the mosquito fleet can be used for reconnaissance and sabotage similar to attacks on tankers during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). )
Finally, I would like to tell an optimistic story related to the creation of a high-speed passenger ship for the A145 gliding project. Modern Russian development, embodied in the metal at the Zelenodolsk shipyard. The ship was launched in May 2012.
The ship of the project A145 is designed to carry 150 passengers with baggage with a speed of 40 nodes over a distance of 200 miles during daylight hours in the coastal sea zone. The maritime qualities of a high-speed passenger ship provide the ability to operate at sea state up to 5 points. Full tonnage of А145 type vessel - 82 tons, power plant - two MTU diesel engines for 2000 hp. each.
A sufficiently high level of comfort is provided on board the new passenger ship, including through a rational layout and a spacious cabin with a multimedia system, comfortable seating, air conditioning, three bathrooms, and catering for passengers on board.
Actually, I gave an example of this masterpiece of shipbuilding, to show you how economical a ship is compared to an ekranoplan. The gliding ship of type А145 had two diesel engines with the total power of 4000 hp. The Eagranoplan "Eaglet" at one time took the main propulsion turboprop engine NK-12 15 thousand hp, plus two turbojet NK-8, taken from the passenger Tu-154.
With the same payload (20 tons, 150 marines), the glorious brainchild of Rostislav Alekseev was twice as large and 28 spent tons of kerosene per 1500 km of the way. The difference in the cost of a liter of aviation kerosene and diesel fuel can be neglected.
Eaglet, Eaglet - a mighty bird