Tag Archives: Tupolev

Russia invests billions in “Airliner of the 21st Century”

Computer rendering of the Irkut MC-21 / MS-21 (Image © United Aircraft Corporation)
Computer rendering of the Irkut MC-21 / MS-21 (Image © United Aircraft Corporation)

Will it be Moscow’s we-show-you-how-it-is-done мечтать лайнер – Dreamliner in Russian – or another aircraft with nightmare-causing childhood illnesses like the newest Boeing family member. The maiden flight of the Irkut MC-21 is planned for 2015, with the Kremlin and partners allocating another US$ 4.6 billion to get the first carbon fibre Russian airliner airborne in numbers.

Despite the fact the aircraft is still in full development, the planning is well ahead of schedule. The MC-21 – that will be internationally marketed as MS-21 – will be launched in three versions. The MC-21-200 is designed for 150 passengers, the MC-21-300 accommodates up to 180 passengers and the MC-21-400 will have a seating arrangement for max. 212 passengers. Russia intends to replace all Yakovlev Yak-42s and the Tupolev Tu-154s and Tu-134s by the new aircraft, starting in 2017.

The carbon fibre plane’s name is an abbreviation of Магистральный Самолёт 21 века or Magistralny Samolyot 21 veka written in latin characters. In English it reads Airliner of the 21st Century; we at AIRheads↑Fly admire that kind of bolt ambition. What we like as well is that the airliner should use 25 percent less fuel and has 15 percent lower maintenance costs compared to the aircraft it is replacing. That leaves more money for other magnificent flying machines.

First delivery of the MC-21 is expected in 2017, with a 50/50 shared commitment by the Russian Federation and private investors. The aircraft is a joint effort of the Russian design bureaus Irkut, Mikoyan, Yakovlev, Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Tupolev and Beriev. The Irkut production company confirmed to have 175 firm orders for the aircraft MC-21, with a projected production rate of seven aircraft a month.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

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Russian Tu-160 bombers will fly new cruise missile

The Tu-160 (Image © Tupolev)
The Tu-160 (Image © Tupolev)

Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-160 (Ту-160) strategic bombers will fly the new Raduga Kh-101 cruise missile, its long-range fleet commander confirmed to Russian journalists this week.

The Kh-101 is capable of delivering a payload of up to 880 pounds (400 kg) at a distance of 6,000 miles (9,600 km) after being launched from the belly of the Blackjack, NATO’s reporting name for the Tu-160.

Russian AF Gen. Lt. Anatoly Zhikharev says that in 2014 other nations will not only notice more than last years 15 cruise missile tests, but will also see the 16 Tu-160s still in service more often on long-range patrol with stops in befriended nations all over the world. He didn’t say anything about any payload on those missions, but the Tu-160s are tasked with carrying conventional and nuclear weapons.

To tease and test the response Tu-160s and the smaller Tu-22Ms have been training against targets in North America, Europe and US-allied nations like Sweden and Colombia last year a couple of times. On their international power show – the first of the scale in five years time – Tu-160s landed in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

The Blackjack has a wingspan of 55.7 metres and a length of 55.7 metres. Its four turbofans give it an operational maximum speed of 971 knots (1800 km/h or Mach 1.5) and can bring the plane up to an altitude of more than 42,000 feet.

The Tu-160 is the world’s biggest combat aircraft, the largest supersonic aircraft and the largest plane which can move its wings in horizontal position (variable sweep) to accommodate high speeds. The plane can carry up to 40,000 kg (88,185 lb) of bombs and missiles in two internal bays. Although weapons can be attached externally, it is not often done – partly in order to lower the radar cross-section (visibility to enemy radar) of the aircraft.

First flight of the Tu-160 was in 1981, with the type entering Russian Air Force service in 1987. Thirty-six aircraft were built. Moscow is slowly upgrading the current fleet, with money allocated for three of the remaining 16 Blackjacks. The improvements will include comm/nav gear and better engines.

Tu-160s are based at Engels Airbase near Saratov in the heart of the former Soviet Union, relatively close to the Russian border with Kazakhstan. The Blackjacks fly with a crew of four.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

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Indian Navy received 2nd P-8I

The 2nd Boeing P-8I for the Indian Navy taking-off from Boeing Field, Seattle, in November 2013 (Image © Boeing)
The 2nd Boeing P-8I for the Indian Navy taking-off from Boeing Field, Seattle, in November 2013 (Image © Boeing)

The Indian Navy received its second of originally eight ordered Boeing P-8I maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft on 14 November 2013. The first aircraft of the type was delivered in May.

The Indian P-8Is operate from Naval Station Rajali. The type is based on the Boeing 737 NG commercial airliner. The naval variant is also operated by the US Navy as P-8A Poseidon, with 12 of the 37 on order delivered by October 2013.

The second P-8I will first make a series of flight trials in the coming months. India’s first P-8I has been executing live-fire on targets tests, including firing a AGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missile and the drop of a Mk 54 torpedo.

Compared to the USN P-8A the system architecture of the P-8I has been adapted especially for the Indian navy, with a Data Link II communications suite from Bharat Electronics to enable the aircraft to communicate with Indian military units and land bases. The IFF systems also comes from Bharat. Sub-contractors of the aircraft on the American side are CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.

The Indian Navy P-8Is jet aircraft replace aging Tupolev Tu-142M turboprops used for maritime surveillance. The project is a few months behind schedule, but India already seems eager to order up to 16 P-8Is on top of the original order for eight aircraft.

Source: Boeing with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Marcel Burger

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Check out the Indian Air Force Orbat at Scramble.nl

Tupolev Tu-204CM airliner ready to go

The new Tupolev Tu-204CM passenger aircraft. (Image © Tupolev)
The new Tupolev Tu-204CM passenger aircraft. (Image © Tupolev)

The world’s airlines have a new, improved aircraft available to meet their demands: the Tupolev Tu-204CM received its flight certification this summer, reports the Russian design company.

400 tests were performed after which the Russian Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee gave the Tu-204CM the certificate with the number ST233-Tu-204-120SE/D10. With that the aircraft is okay-ed for passenger traffic.

The Tu-204CM is a much modernized version of the Tu-204-100E, using the new PS-90A2 engines with enhanced service life and reliability compared to their predecessors. The flight crew is treated with upgraded and new systems as well.

According to the Tupolev company the Tu-204CM has better flight characteristics and is more efficient, more comfortable and easier to maintain than the older Tu-204s. ,,It equals other modern jet aircraft”, writes a spokesperson.

First flight of the first Tu-204 series was in 1989, the aircraft being the Russian answer to the American Boeing 757. The Tu-204 is able to accommodate more than 210 passengers. Deliveries of the Tu-204CM are scheduled to begin in 2014, although the aircraft company did not mention specific customers.

Source: Туполев (Tupolev)