Military Review

Strategic bomber M-4 (103М)

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Strategic bomber M-4 (103М)

The first serial intercontinental carrier of nuclear weapons Among the jet planes was the Soviet heavy bomber M-4 (103M), ahead of B-52, despite the fact that the Americans started to build their cars much earlier. With the advent of the B-47 long-range bomber in the USA, there was an urgent need to create aircraft of this class. Designer VMMyasischev, filed with the government a scientifically based proposal to create a strategic bomber with a range of 11000-12000 km. 24 March 1951 was issued by a government decree, and two days later - an order of the IAP on the organization of the OKB-23 based on the plant number 23 in Fili. To determine the general appearance of the aircraft, several options were worked out. In the TsAGI pipes, in four months, a large number of models of various configurations were blown through. But the main scheme was determined: the plane of the normal scheme with a swept wing, arrow-shaped feathering, a bicycle chassis and four turbojet engines.

Following the example of a successful layout of the Tu-16 aircraft, the main designer of the OKB-23 LL Selyakov proposed using a similar arrangement of engines in the wing root. This made it possible to pair the wing and fuselage more smoothly, while the output gas jets were “blurred” into narrower beams than jets of single turbojet engines on the AN Tupolev bomber. Deprived of the turbo propulsion pylons, the wing became aerodynamically clean. There were only fairing auxiliary landing gear, they reduced the resistance of the wing, working as end washers. Of particular interest is the adopted version of the chassis bicycle scheme with side racks at the ends of the wing. The main landing gear were located approximately at an equal distance from the center of mass of the aircraft. At the end of the takeoff run, the front “uplifting” four-wheeled undercarriage turned in the plane of symmetry of the aircraft, the nose of the car lifted and the angle of attack increased. At the initial stage of testing the first flight sample of the chassis with the mechanism of “heaving” did not stand. The crew of the aircraft consisted of eight people and was located in two hermetic cabins.


The M-4 (103М) aircraft is an all-metal monoplane with a classic high-swept wing scheme. Maximum aerodynamic quality of the aircraft - 17,45. The fuselage - a semi-monocoque circular cross section with a diameter of 3,5 m and a length of 45,6 m was technologically divided into a nose section with a front cockpit, a middle section including a wing center section, a tail section and a stern cockpit. In the anterior pressurized cabin there was a crew, the main flight-navigation equipment and weapon control devices. In the middle part of the fuselage were: a bomb bay, niches for cleaning the main landing gear, upper and lower rifle installations, a container of rescue boats, oxygen, fire fighting and other equipment. Hatches for bomb weapons and chassis were enhanced by longitudinal beams. 14 soft fuel tanks were placed in the chassis compartments, center section and under it, the possibility of placing two additional outboard tanks was provided in the bomb bay. In the rear part of the fuselage there are six soft fuel tanks, slug boxes of the stern gun installation, photographic equipment, a compartment of signal means, a brake parachute and jamming equipment. In the stern pressure cabin there was a stern shooter, which controlled the tail gun installation. All members of the crew in emergency situations ejected down.

Wing - cantilever-caisson structure with a sweep angle along the line of 35 ° foci. The installation angle of the wing 2,5 ° (in the root section), the angle of the transverse V-shaped 1 ° 50 '. The wing was technologically divided into a center section, which made a single whole with the middle part of the fuselage, the root parts in which the power plant was located, and two detachable end parts. The main power element of the wing was a caisson, formed by the front and rear spars, ribs and power panels of sewing with stringer kit. The wing socks were removable and hot air of the de-icing system passed under them. The end fairings of the wing landing gear supports were simultaneously anti-plate weights. Inside the wing box there were soft fuel tanks. The real pre-flight refueling of the aircraft’s tanks was limited to 123600 l. The wing mechanization consisted of landing plates under the engine nacelles and retractable flaps of the TsAGI type. Ailerons two-section with internal weight and aerodynamic compensation. The inner sections of the aileron had trimmers. The tail plumage is single-chinned, swept, and coffered. The horizontal plumage with the elevator had a transverse V-angle 10 ° and sweep along the focal line 33,5 °. The stabilizer consisted of two halves joined along the axis of the aircraft. Vertical tails - 35 ° sweep keel along the focal line and elevator.


In the bomb bay of the M-4 (103M) it was supposed to place up to two 9000 kg bombs (only one was actually installed), three 6000 kg bombs (only two were installed in practice) or any free-falling 250 kg bombs or more with a total weight of up to 24000 kg . The SPV-25 cannon armament system of the aircraft was designed by the Dzerzhinets MAZ design bureau. Six AM-23 guns (НР-23) in three remote-controlled towers: top - DB-33А, lower - DB-34А, aft - DB-35А were guided by the commander of the fire installations and the stern shooter using radar, television or optical sights . The guns of the upper turret DB-33 and the lower turret DB-34 had 250 ammunition for shells on the barrel, the tail gun DB-35 - for 500 shells on the barrel.

The chassis - a bicycle scheme, consisted of two main four-wheeled carts and two-wheeled free-oriented wing supports. For maneuvering when driving on the ground, the front pair of wheels of the front carriage could turn at angles 4 ° using a hydraulic steering machine, the trolley allowed turning at angles up to 27 ° in both directions. The front carriage was equipped with a “churning” mechanism to increase the angle of attack of the aircraft when it reaches the breakaway speed during runway sprint. The wheels of the rear carriage had brakes. Underwing landing gear self-orienting. All landing gear were cleaned forward, against the flight. Because of the limitations on chassis durability, when searching for possible ways to increase the take-off mass of the bomber, the option of installing two four-wheel supports discharged (on parachutes) under the wing of the engines was considered. The main and wing landing gear in this case were in the retracted position and should only be used during landing.

At the stage of preliminary design for launching an 183000 kg aircraft from a runway length of about 2000 m, the SUM launch accelerators with LRE were developed, but the accelerators manufactured by plant No. XXUMX did not pass tests due to design defects. To reduce the run on the plane used a three-domed parachute braking system. Parachutes were released when the wheels touched the ground.

The construction of the test vehicle ended in the fall of 1952. The first flight of the aircraft, which was named M-4 (103M), made 20 in January 1953 with crew led by test pilot FF Opadchim. 1 May aircraft took part in an air parade over Red Square. If, according to most of the data, the aircraft complied with the technical requirements, then it did not satisfy the main parameter — the maximum range. To increase the flight range, it was decided to install an in-flight refueling system. During the test M-4 with two refueling in the air the plane flew 14 500 km. Before the end of the test, the M-4 aircraft was recommended for mass production at plant No. 23.

In total, the 116 M-4 and 3M serial bomber were built, some of which were converted into tanker aircraft. The last flight of 3M aircraft made 23 March 1994 from the airport of Engels. In August, 1997, all the aircraft were removed and scrapped. On the M-4 and 3M aircraft several world records were set. With a load of 25 000 kg, the speed 1028,644 km / h was achieved. 13 131 kg was lifted to 55 220m height. For FAI, the planes were called "103" and "201".

Performance characteristics of the M-4 bomber (103М)
Wingspan, m 50.53
Length, m 48.70
Height, m ​​14.10
Wing area, m2 326.35
Weight, kg
- empty 79700 aircraft
- normal takeoff 138500
- maximum takeoff 181500
Engine type 4 TRD AM-3A
Thrust, kgf 4 x 8750
The maximum speed, km / h 947
Practical range, km 8100
Combat range, km 5600
Practical ceiling, m 11000
Max. 2 operational overload
Crew 8
Armament: nine 23-mm guns НР-23 or six 23-mm guns АМ-23 in three turret installations with remote control (ammunition of the upper and lower shells for 1100 shells, stern - 2000 shells)
Combat load - 9000 kg normal, 24000 kg maximum.
Nuclear and conventional bombs in the internal suspension or
4 long-range missiles on the outer suspension.
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  1. Vadivak
    Vadivak 25 October 2011 08: 43
    +2
    The plane is good, but one thing - in terms of the main parameter - the maximum range - did not satisfy. Practical range, km 8100

    And the Tu-95 turboprop (the first flight on February 16, 1955) surpassed it in range - 13 km., And its combat load was not bad at 000 tons. Which decided the fate of the M-12
  2. ESCANDER
    ESCANDER 25 October 2011 10: 13
    +2
    Yes, the Bear will be abruptly.
    Toka growls already loudly.
    1. datur
      datur 25 October 2011 13: 34
      +2
      but the enemies are afraid when they hear him wink