Today there is no shortage of statements by politicians and the military about the resumption of production of the Tu-160 strategic bomber. In words, everything seems to go smoothly, a lot of plans. But when you begin to delve into the technology and organization of the release of the aircraft, the picture changes dramatically. No wonder they say that the devil is in the details.
In preparing the material, the author was able to talk with many experts, fly to the Kazan airline, exchange views with workers, technologists, including from PJSC "Tupolev" - the head company, which together with KAPO them. S.P. Gorbunova is entrusted with a responsible mission. It turns out that no significant actions have yet been taken. First of all, there is no main thing - financing, without which nothing will happen.
To resume production of the Tu-160, you will have to dance from the stove - start by organizing the supply of new components. It is impossible to do everything in Kazan, no matter how much the leadership of KAPO would like.
Recall what was previously cooperation. Central sections and main parts of the fuselage were made by Kazan, wing - Voronezh (VASO), engine nacelles - Kumertau (Bashkiria) ... Kiev, Kharkov, Tashkent aircraft factories took part. Electronics was made in Zelenograd and Yerevan. And each company had its suppliers. According to some reports, the creation of the first Tu-160 had a hand in about 700 of various organizations of the Soviet Union. But today there are not many of them, others are redeveloped, others are waiting for funding, the fourth ones are out of Russia. In the same VASO today completely different tasks are being solved. In addition, there is no necessary equipment, such as vacuum furnaces for firing titanium. So VASO falls out of cooperation, as Kiev and Kharkiv - for a known reason.
The big question is: are other enterprises so eligible? Tu-160 - a unique machine, ahead of time by several decades and has not yet fully used inherent in its design capabilities. But the task of repeating it one by one is not worth it. It should be a completely different Tu. So, we need a new cooperation.
One of the main questions: who and what will do in the metal? To give the wing, its parts, titanium spars, nacelle, engines, chassis? .. In the correct selection of subcontractors - 50 percent of success. As one of the leading engineers-technologists of Tupolev shared with me, everyone is inclined to believe that Kazan should do most of the work, but will it really work out ...
Beautiful, but not perfect
Recall the Tu-160 (factory designation - “product 70”, according to NATO codification - Blackjack / “Blackjack”) - the most powerful in stories military aviation supersonic aircraft with variable wing geometry. The prototype (under the designation "70-01") first flew up to the sky on December 18, 1981 in Ramenskoye. The flight was performed by a crew led by Boris Veremey. The first production car (No. 1-01) took off on October 10, 1984. But in January 1992, Boris Yeltsin decided to suspend the serial production of the Tu-160 in the event that the United States ceases production of the B-2 ...
From 1984 to 1992, the aircraft 34 was released the year, and more than half of them - 19 machines after the partition of the USSR remained in Ukraine. Now, to make the elements of the airframe, it is necessary to deploy the eliminated capacity again, since the airframe of the Tu-160 is unique and requires the creation of unparalleled equipment. Among the most problematic places are avionics, instruments, sights, missile guidance systems.
In addition, experts consider the indicators of speed and flight range of the Tu-160 today from a different angle. It is stated that the Tu-160 has a range at a speed of 2200 – 2500 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 18 000 meters - within 11 – 13 thousands of kilometers; in subsonic mode, at altitude and near the ground, 16 – 18 and 11 – 13 are thousands of kilometers, respectively. The plane was supposed to approach the target at cruising speed, and overcome enemy air defenses - in supersonic altitude mode or at cruising speed near the ground, carrying a combat load up to 45 tons.
But with such speeds, the plane can only fly without ammunition and full refueling, which is meaningless. It surpasses competitors in speed (B-1B and B-2) at distances up to 1000 kilometers. But at distances over 3000 kilometers, even the old B-52 bypasses it. There are questions about the duration of the flight, the size of the payload. And the engine overhaul life (2000 hours) is only enough for a couple of dozen sorties for combat duty.
Lack of brains and skills
In the matter of technology - the horse did not roll. The approximate plan pretends, but is not approved. A young chief designer, Tu-160, has been appointed, who is still learning a lot, he has no experience in creating and producing such machines. At one time he was chairman of the Council of Young Specialists.
“Nothing is ready, everyone is waiting for some kind of decision from above and approval of documents,” said the interlocutor of the Military Industrial Courier, Ph.D. - Only after this may appear a list of materials and technologies that will be used. What changes there will appear in comparison with the old car is unknown. Or known to a very narrow circle of people. "
The commander of the Air Force, Colonel-General Vladimir Bondarev ordered: already in 2020, the first dozen of Tu-160M vehicles should be released from the workshops. In total, the Ministry of Defense orders 50 upgraded Tu-160М2. According to the Deputy Minister of Defense Yuri Borisov, the Tu-160 will be an airplane, which is 2,5 times as superior as its predecessor. Tu-160М2 is planned to be equipped with a new weapon system, which allows the use of promising cruise missiles and bombs.
“And our designers are weak,” the process technician sighs. - They were good when they made the car for the first time, that is, still under the USSR. But they are not there, or they, like me, have long been retired. ”
Alas, the middle generation of specialists at such enterprises as KAPO or PJSC “Tupolev” turned out to be practically knocked out by 90's reforms, when people had to leave high-tech productions and go to the market, who was on guard. So, in personnel matters, you will have to start from scratch.
“Tu-160 was started to be made back in the 1978 year, I signed some instructions on it in the 1993-m,” recalled a representative of PJSC Tupolev, a person in years. “But after 1993 there are no more recent documents.” The archive is the old documentation in paper form. Now they want to transfer it to electronic, but why do it if everything has to be recycled, if technologies and materials change? Others will be, for example, aluminum alloys.
Titanium alloys we now go under the brand WHNUMXch - a complete analog of the American alloy (titanium-6, aluminum-6, vanadium). I remember that we had a chef, who was jokingly called “the technologist of all Russia” - Semyon Abramovich Vikdorchik, an honored scientist. It was he who insisted that we make such an alloy. And it was right. ”
The problem is that almost all of our alloys are coarse, with a large percentage of impurities. It comes to the fact that they make several batches of several heats. And then choose the one that corresponds to the calculated parameters. That's all the technology.
In Russia, pilot production did not survive in any aviation design bureau. In PJSC “Tupolev” it was liquidated at the end of the 90s under General Director Klimov. Technologists, engineers, as they recall, walked around the factory then - they collected tools, trying to save something.
Pilot production should not be in the factory, but primarily in the KB. About his restoration in PJSC "Tupolev" now there is no question - such a serious blow was dealt to the plant in those failed years. And without it, starting a series is extremely difficult. In connection with this, it is possible to recall that in Tashkent at one time they produced up to 70 Il-76 planes per year, while the Ulyanovsk plant now assembles only three cars.
Another issue is securing the aviation industry with titanium. It is produced in Verkhnyaya Salda (Sverdlovsk region) at OJSC VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation, from where it is successfully shipped to the USA, where parts with preliminary machining are made of alloys. VSMPO-AVISMA can supply the same W6ч and high-strength aluminum alloys in PJSC "Tupolev". However, not all so simple. When the alloy is processed (bending, molding, hardening, surface deformation), it changes its properties. Therefore, making calculations for strength, experts advise not to be guided by the initial state of the alloy, but by the one it acquires after processing. Americans take this into account in the design strength calculations, but we do not. Do not want or can not?
Chrome or not chrome chassis? Americans do not do this, because this operation increases the cost of construction, but does not increase its reliability and durability. Chrome plating is used to obtain an anti-friction layer, which can be created by applying chemical nickel with phosphorus. It performs well as a protective and anti-friction layer. Such an operation was proposed in PJSC “Tupolev”, but it was not accepted. It seems like it would have to restructure production.
A special conversation about the engines. The point is to put the upgraded NK-2016 on White Swan from 32 onwards. The resumption of serial production of this turbojet engine, which was discontinued in 1993, was initiated at a meeting on the development of the defense industry complex of the Russian Federation chaired by the president in 2010. The required investment is more than eight billion rubles. These funds are provided for in the Federal Target Program “Development of the Defense Industry Complex of the Russian Federation for the Period 2011 – 2020”. Kuznetsov OJSC (Samara), a subsidiary of UEC, is engaged in restoring the production of NK-32. In 2016, the plant plans to produce several upgraded engines. In the future, the Russian military will be delivered dozens of NK-32. Moreover, on the basis of the NK-32 it is planned to create an engine for the promising long-range aviation complex (PAK DA).
In many ways, lost organization of production. We, as the engineers themselves say, have introduced democracy in the assembly, with the result that the master and the worker are responsible for the initial operations. There is no Quality Department, no military acceptance. They are now exercising control only at the final stage of release, when it is almost impossible to fix something. A simple example: at the Kazan Aviation Plant, standard reamers are used to finish the holes. Everything is on the conscience of the worker and the master. The result is poor quality, but there is no strict control at this stage.
Bolt - around the head
Nizhny Novgorod plant "Normal" is engaged in cold heading of bolts from alloy W16. At one time, being the head of a sector in the department of technological laboratories, the expert of the Military-Industrial Courier compared it with the alloy W6h. It was a test of fatigue and durability testing of bolts from two different alloys. And came to an amazing conclusion. Bolts of alloy W6ch were almost an order of magnitude stronger. In addition, they were lighter, which is extremely important for the aircraft. For example, the proportion of bolts and fasteners made of W6ch alloy is equal to 4,43 g / cm3, and that of WXXUMUM alloy - 16 g / cm4,68. As reflected in the instructions. After that, from this very factory, his supervisor was called directly. Like, we both released such bolts with such a specific weight, and we will release them. Why? Because it is so convenient for the plant. They got off the landing to get the appropriate size - and that's it. But they did not achieve a decrease in the density of the metal. Today, use these bolts on the Tu-3М160 - yesterday. All the difference between 2 g / cm4,68 and 3 g / cm4,43 goes into the weight of the aircraft. But to go to the alloy VHNUMXch, we need a modernization of the plant, machine tool park. Because a normal alloy, as the technologists say, “does not land”. And W 3 lands. If the TU-6М16 is riveted with the help of such bolts, this will not only make the car heavier, but will also affect the strength of the structure. Another problem is the molding of parts. In Kazan and Kiev in the old days, when wing panels were made, they were molded by shot. In the US, too, so do. But there - the mass production of aircraft and its own technology. We have our own. In Samara, tried to mold these parts on the Tu-160. In PJSC "Tupolev" was also prepared instructions for forming a fraction. But then Kazan offered to do everything in the press. And immediately the workers lost their wages. Because the molding on the press and fraction requires different times, and the rates of payment remain the same.
Despite all of the above, KAPO, experts believe, is basically ready to reproduce the Tu-160. Although, we repeat, there is still no specific task, no money. There are none, however, in PJSC "Tupolev". Although the production start-up scheme is very clear: TK - money - work.
Of the technological equipment and the machine park at KAPO, there were good three-coordinate machines. Recently ordered a more modern - five-coordinate, but they have yet to learn. Installations for electron beam welding (EBW), vacuum kilns will be required. Everything requires revision.
According to the corresponding member of the two academies - the Russian engineering and military sciences - Viktor Kovalev, the first thing to do is to restore the assembly line. If real specialists, who care for our aviation, and not “effective managers,” take on the matter, everything is solved.
With regard to the readiness of PJSC "Tupolev", it is, according to some estimates, not high enough. First of all, due to the fact that there are many young people who do not have experience working on such large-scale projects. But presumably, the former chief designer of the Tu-160 Valentin Bliznyuk (he is now for 80, but he is still working as a consultant) will help, figuratively speaking, to put the factory youth on the wing. Nevertheless, Nikolai Savitsky, the company's general director, Valeriy Solozobov, his deputy for design, research and development, and other managers will have to come to grips with personnel problems in the near future. There are practically no middle-aged specialists. There is a generation of 30-year-olds and those who are far beyond 60.
And do it!
What is needed first? Solve the issue of financing. Include recreation of the Tu-160 in the state defense order. To ensure the production and release of new technologies and materials. Update machine park and technological equipment. To form cooperation. Prepare frames.
In the workshops of KAPO, which I managed to visit, there were several Tu-160 and Tu-22М3 standing in the technological forests. Work was actively going on, electronic stuffing and other equipment were changing. The company still has specialists who created the Tu-160 in Soviet times and can pass on the experience, but there are very few of them.
Unfortunately, the state of the machine park at the plant leaves much to be desired. Completely Soviet-made units, the tolerances and accuracy of which do not meet the requirements of the time.
And the last. Technological solutions for the resumption of production of the Tu-160 aircraft have already been presented by four enterprises: Electroautomatics Design Bureau named after P. A. Efimov, Ulyanovsk Instrument Engineering Design Bureau (UKBP), Tekhpribor and Radio Signal. They are developing onboard equipment. The missile carrier will be equipped with a BINS-SP type of inertial navigation system, as well as a highly effective EW system with improved tactical and technical capabilities to overcome the air defense system.
In a word, there is electronics, new weapons, but no aircraft. And when they give a flick on his reproduction, it is still unknown.