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Few Words about Future Strategic Aviation of Ukraine

Few Words about Future Strategic Aviation of Ukraine
Baranov Anatoly 05.08.2008

The question about private - state consortium for restoration of nuclear defensive potential of Ukraine raised by Vladimir Filin, probably, is a key in the given question. The defensive industry of Ukraine suffered very serious losses in connection with the whole epoch of stagnation, they could be even bigger, than in the Russian Federation as long time the top management of the country believed that such branch as, say, nuclear industry "is not necessary to Ukraine" and even atomic engineering evoked memoirs of Chernobyl accident by virtue of that fact politicians simply stood aside the theme. "Yuzhmash" which gave Ukraine the second president Leonid Kuchma at the very time of his management turned from the basic manufacturer of "heavy" rockets into almost trolleybus factory. Aviation industry was practically purposefully ruined and the Ukrainian Air Forces strategic bombers Tu - 160 operationally available were actually gratuitously transferred to Russia, while Tu - 22М - simply cut into parts and utilized - but even such act of the state masochism not on a step approached Ukraine to the NATO, not speaking about EU. Shipyards also appeared to be desolated, during Soviet time air capable ships were produced in Ukraine and it was there where the first and the last high-grade Soviet aircraft carrier was constructed - here it was liquidated without being launched.

Thus, it is meaningful to consider the problem whether there is today in Ukraine "alive" manufacture and "alive" projects which it would be possible, having financed, to return back to working condition.

It should be explained here that the program of restoration of nuclear potential of Ukraine and creation of means of delivery of this weapon by definition cannot be put before itself a task "catch up and overtake" in "Khrushchev's" variant. The question is about defensive sufficiency and not more, that is about an opportunity of drawing of unacceptable damage to any opponent. In any sense it can be compared to "catching up development" when there is an opportunity to learn from mistakes of others, not to repeat deadlock steps and to make operationally available such technical equipment which is more modern, passing all stages of technical development which other countries have been compelled to pass beginning this way from zero.

At that for achievement of defensive sufficiency it would be quite logical to lean on samples of arms which are, maybe, not the most perfect but having recommended themselves from the best side, accessible, not too complex in production and not the most expensive. Especially on those samples of arms which are already or were earlier on arms of Ukraine and which could be restored or modernized.

It is necessary to note also that a number of international restrictions on the means of delivery of nuclear charges are written down in the documents which Ukraine never joined and in which signing it simply did not participate. We shall say, there is an agreement forbidding accommodation of rockets with nuclear warheads on surface ships but Ukraine did not sign such agreement with anybody. There is agreement between the USA and Russia according to which Moscow refuses to use fighting railway complexes armed with ballistic missiles such as "Stilet" - but these arrangements have nothing in common with Ukraine. And so on...

In due time Vladimir Filin, having clear scepticism concerning opportunity of fast expansion of ballistic missiles of the Ukrainian production (actually Ukraine produces rockets of corresponding types which are used for commercial start of satellites), suggested to pay attention first of all to aviation means of delivery of nuclear charge as it allows to use out-of-date, but reliable system of nuclear aviation bomb, instead of the nuclear fighting block to rocket which creation represents additional technological problem.

Nuclear bomb of rather small capacity (and, hence, small dimensions and tonnage) can be delivered to any part of European and to some parts of the Asian theatre of operation by means of the armed Air Forces of Ukraine of fighting aviation complexes Su-27. The weight of a cargo which this machine is capable to lift makes almost 8 tons at fighting radius of 1500 kilometers and maximum range of 3800 kilometers.

However such circuit of delivery of a nuclear charge can be considered as temporal, extreme. As well as, for example, delivery of the charge by plane which crew can appear in a zone of defeat of explosion. Certainly, at the beginning of works on creation of own nuclear weapon it is necessary to approach in a complex also the problem of creation of the adequate carrier of nuclear charge, if it's possible - diversified.

As it's known, till now both on arms of the Russian Federation and in the Air Forces of the USA there are rocket carriers (Tu - 95 and V-52 accordingly) which have been operationally available in 50s years of the last century but because of high reliability and low cost price remaining on combat duty of these leading nuclear powers.

Whether Ukraine is worse? Why Ukraine cannot use aviation system excellently operating for more than a half of a century? All the more so, as in air station of aviation school in Krivoi Rog (Ukraine) there is Tu - 114 № 76485 - a civil variant which can be copied and started into manufacture already as a warplane.

Advantages: Tu - 95 is not a "pure" rocket carrier, it was created during that epoch when usage of nuclear bombs was actual. So in updated Tu - 95V was used at tests of a super-power nuclear bomb in 1959.

Disadvantages of this project: engine for Tu - 95 is difficult enough in production and engineering specifications for it is in Russia. Planes Tu - 95 became serial with engines NK-12 developed in DB of Kujbishevsky motor factory named after Frunze (now JSC "Motorostroitel").

Engine NK-12 till now remains the most powerful turbo-propeller engine in the world but creation of similar engine on own base can appear to be above strength of Ukraine or will get too much time. Besides high capacity of the engine causes its unprecedented noisiness. Tu - 95 is one of the most noisy planes in the world. It would be problematic to expect for deliveries of engines from Russia. Though it is quite possible that at assumption of lowered thrust-to-weight Tu - 95 could be equipped with other engine.

In spite of the fact that bombers Tu - 22М has been operationally available by the Air Forces of Ukraine recently and at least one sample (though dismantled) till now is in aviation museum, to recreate its production on own base will be very uneasy for Ukraine. Hardly it is possible to do quickly even if simply to copy available sample. Serially the machine was made in Kazan, the most part of accessories - also in the territory of Russia.

However passenger plane Tu - 134 which characteristics on a number of parameters are close to Tu - 22М has been long time produced on Kharkov Aviation Factory. In particular, updatings of Tu - 134UBL and Tu - 134Sh used even today for preparation of pilots and navigators were created for Tu - 22М and Tu - 160 were made on the base of Tu - 134. Deep modernization of this plane could make characteristics similar to the one of the plane of strategic aircraft and solve a problem of delivery of nuclear charge by aviation means.

By the way, in due time there was started (but stopped) manufacture of the next model of that plane - Tu - 334 at Kiev factory "Аviant". By way of possible fighting application this machine has no advantages before Tu - 134, however, some more modern technologies could be used at modernization of Tu - 134 to the fighting machine.

However the most powerful potential for creation in Ukraine of aviation grouping equipped with nuclear weapon belongs today, probably, to Development Design Office named after O.K.Antonov.

Also legendary Аn-22 produced in Ukraine, basically, was capable to deliver nuclear charge (one shouldn't forget that the first nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were dumped with usual V-29). The more so some pieces of An-22 are still in the territory of Ukraine in condition of deep mothball and there is always an opportunity to return them into working condition.

Very few know that in 1969-1970 in DDO-473 of the general designer O.K.Antonov together with Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute, Scientific Research Institute and other organizations research work on creation of intercontinental aviation - rocket complex Аn-22R with sea ballistic missiles on the basis of heavy transport plane An-22 was carried out. That is the technical project was already formulated and a number of works was already carried out.

It was supposed to place on the plane in fuselages three vertically located and acting above fuselage launchers with ballistic missiles of the big range. One of the variants of aviation - rocket complex Аn-22R provided installation on the plane - carrier of rockets R-27 of sea rocket complex D-5. Rocket complex D-5 for the ships of the Navy was developed with a rocket 4К10 for defeat of the ground strategic purposes and a rocket 4К18 for defeat of the surface ships of the big displacement. Works on complex started in April, 1962 according to Resolution of the Cabinet №386-179 from April, 24, 1962. On arms complex D-5 was accepted by Resolution № 162-164 signed in March, 1968 but only with rocket R-27 (4К10). Antisubmarine 667A equipped with 16 mine launchers became carrier of the complex D-5.

However Development Design Office named after O.K.Antonov developed also Аn-124 (Ruslan), the most powerful for today transport plane in the world which could be also used as a bomber and a rocket carrier.

But the most perspective project is one more project of the same DDO - Аn-225 (Мria). In August, 1993 on airshow МАX-93 in Zhukovsky Аn-225 "Мria" "gave a performance" already with the Ukrainian flag on the tail plumage and onboard number UR-82060. There were works on restoration of that unique plane and its certification according to requirements of the International organization of civil aircraft ICAO for commercial operation carried out. On May, 7, 2001 in the air station Gostomel near Kiev after seven-year break reconstructed Аn-225 again flied up into the sky. General designer of the bureau named after Antonov Peter Balabuev informed that the second plane An-225 could soon appear - its readiness as separately developed units made 65%.

That plane was initially planned as "springboard" for other flying devices. All saw "Мria" with "Buran" on a fuselage but it's not the only thing that the plane could transfer. Except for performance of purely transport operations An-225 was planned to be used as the first step of some space complexes for commercial start of payloads into space. These are variants of aviation space-rocket complex "Svityaz" (Ukraine) allowing to deduce up to 9 tons of payload into low circumterraneous orbits and multi-purpose aerospace system MAX which provides an opportunity of placing into low orbits 2 cosmonauts and 10 tons of cargo, in pilotless disposable variant - up to 17 tons of cargo. Experts consider that the start of the commercial satellite from "Мria" will be some times cheaper, than from the stationary cosmodrome. However we are interested first of all in opportunity of start-up from this plane of rockets with nuclear charge, that, apparently, does not represent big technical problem.

Thus the problem of aviation delivery of nuclear charge, if such would be put before military-industrial complex of Ukraine, is quite solvable, at that in short enough terms and does not demand financial expenses which would be not above strength of Ukraine - it's a matter of a few tens million dollars and attraction of such means under any of the projects offered is quite possible for even private consortium.

Certainly, there are also more interesting from design and nonproduction point of view decisions basing not on already available systems but on creation of essentially new ones. For example, during deeply Soviet time the plane with a nuclear power-plant which was projected by Development Design Office named after A.M.Ljulka was in the development. That machine did not left a stage of the project but on a modern technological level creation of a heavy rocket carrier with the nuclear engine would bring the question of fighting watch into completely other flatness - such plane could "hang" in the air vaguely long, for days, on profitability conceding only to nuclear orbital complexes which, as it's known, were forbidden by international agreements. In which, however, Ukraine has not had time to participate.

There was one more almost improbable project - a strategic bomber - flying boat. This plane, having splashed down in the set point of the ocean, could fill up a stock of fuel from an emerged submarine and to continue its way. To tell you the truth, Ukraine today does not have submarines but the strategic bomber on the basis of the hydroplan can refuel also from surface ship that can appreciably increase radius of action of strategic aircraft of Ukraine - only one ship - refiller is required, that essentially saves means at the cost of aircraft carriers.

But these are, certainly, projects which today above Ukraine's strength - we are talking about essentially new development, adaptation of existing systems to new tasks is required.

In the next material we shall consider the prospects of other parts of the future Ukrainian nuclear triad - sea strategic nuclear forces, rocket armies of strategic purpose and also not typical means of delivery such as fighting railway complexes.

 (continuation follows)

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