«Swan» of the world: how military planes were converted to civilian

© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich in fotosentregatro bomber-missile Tu-160 Nikolai Kuznetsov«Swan» of the world: how military planes were converted to civilian© RIA Novosti / Vladimir Astapkovich the image Bank

Unique strategic bomber Tu-160 «White Swan» can acquire a civil profession. Recently, during a meeting with workers of the Kazan aviation plant, the Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to consider the creation on its basis of a passenger plane. Previously fighting machine had already asked the Arab sheikhs are thinking about developing a supersonic business jet. And although at first glance the idea may seem exotic, in the history of aviation industry many examples of the successful conversion of military vehicles to civilians, many of them became real legends. The most famous ex-bombers — in the material RIA Novosti.

From «Ilya Muromets» to a Tu-104

The transformation of the Tu-160 in civilian aircraft (if, of course, take place) lack of precedents. Actually, the first passenger plane «Ilya Muromets» was the twin brother of the same name bomber. Among the most famous alterations of the prewar period — egitimle ANT-20 «Maxim Gorky», who was descended from the bomber TB-4. At the time the giant machine took on Board 72 passengers and covered a distance up to 1000 kilometers. «Maxim Gorky» crashed during a demonstration flight in may 1935. The second and last instance of the ANT-20, which received the name of ANT-20bis, built in 1938. the Car was carrying passengers and cargo until 1942.

To gain a firm foothold on regular passenger flights has been famous strategic bomber Tu-95, a civil version — the Tu-114. The entire Soviet aviation industry produced 31 such aircraft. From the military predecessor of the Tu-114 got the wings, engines and empennage. He inherited some drawbacks — first and foremost is the outrageous noise of the engines, reaching values in the 108-112 dB. The machine worked on a regular civil lines from 1961 to 1976, during this time, only one Tu-114 were killed in the crash. Her reason acknowledged the human factor.

The first Soviet jet airliner Tu-104 was derived from the Tu-16. However, the features of the Tu-16 was guessed in the new car. The Tu-104, unlike the Tu-16, — low, the length of the aircraft increased by four meters, the diameter of the fuselage was expanded to three and a half meters. The fate of the Tu-104 was not cloudless — he went down in history as the disaster airliner accidents lost 18% of all manufactured cars. Civil lines Tu-104 worked until 1979. At the same time retired its smaller version, the medium — range aircraft Tu-124.

«Representatives «Tupolev» said that the sheikhs want to buy the Tu-160, but the sheikhs are wealthy, and they have their quirks, told RIA Novosti the head of the Agency «AviaPort» Oleg Panteleev. — No economic efficiency of such decisions can not be in principle. To use a design with such a huge take-off weight for the transport of small quantities of people is to shoot from a gun on sparrows. And cruising speed, which is calculated for a plane, not so high to save time flying. Supersonic Tu-160 was required to overcome enemy air defenses, and does not provide greater range».

© RIA Novosti / Maxim to Bogodeeva in photobacteria bombers TU-160 in the shop of the Kazan aircraft plant«Swan» of the world: how military planes were converted to civilian© RIA Novosti / Maxim to Bogodeeva in photobacteria bombers TU-160 in the shop of the Kazan aircraft plant

According to most interviewed experts, most likely, it was limited to construction of single copies of the civil Tu-160, because the flight on this plane can only afford financially secure corporate clients. As he said at a meeting with aircraft manufacturers Vladimir Putin, one of them can be, for example, a major Russian company.

«Today on the transatlantic lines of high demand for seats in first class and business jets, — says Oleg Panteleev. — Do not forget that «the Concorde» to fly safely in new York, despite the expensive tickets. Why in the world is working on several projects of supersonic aircraft».

To create supersonic business jet came the closest the Americans. For 2023 first scheduled flight of the Aerion AS2, developed by Aerion Corporation and Lockheed Martin. Reportedly, the machine can carry 12 passengers, the maximum speed of the Aerion AS2 will be 1.5 Mach (1,800 kilometers per hour). It is therefore possible that the creation of a civil aircraft based on the Tu-160, is seen primarily as an opportunity for the Russian aircraft industry to settle in the promising niche of supersonic business aircraft.