Transporter Burana will transform into a museum

The organizers of the air show MAKS-2013 in Zhukovsky near Moscow decided to remind visitors about the past of Soviet aircraft, pointing to the static heavy transport aircraft VM-T "Atlant". This freighter was developed by OKB Myasishcheva based strategic bomber 3M.

  • VM-T "Atlant" at the MAKS-2013 Source: The poor Paul / "Lenta.ru,"
  • VM-T "Atlant" at the MAKS-2013 Source: The poor Paul / "Lenta.ru,"

 

  • Heavy transport aircraft VM-T "Atlant" Source: Picture: buran.ru
  • Heavy transport aircraft VM-T "Atlant" Source: Picture: buran.ru

When you create a new launch vehicle developers have been forced to seek the possibility of transporting large blocks rockets and spacecraft from the sites of factories in the "Baikonur" cosmodrome and back for examination and preparation for a new start. At the first stage of the project has been drawn the Antonov Design Bureau, who proposed the modernization and modification of the existing AN-22 transporter. Later this idea was abandoned, and since the development of more suitable for transportation of oversized cargo Antonov An-124 "Ruslan" was to be completed in a few years, the participants of the project "Breaking Dawn" decided to look for a temporary solution.

Such a solution was found. EMRs name Myasishcheva started creating heavy transport aircraft under the code "3-35". In the factory the new aircraft was designated as the 3M-T "Atlant", because to reduce design time and testing it was decided to make on the basis of the strategic bomber 3M (the letter T in the 3M-T is a "transport"). The designers considered several options rework bomber and eventually settled on the simplest of these: 3M equipping the new two-keel spaced fins, cargo compartment inside the fuselage, as well as a special dorsal mount, which should enable the transport cargo length is comparable with the length of the aircraft.

To develop a new transporter Soviet Air Force withdrew from its members three strategic bomber 3MN with tail number "1402", "1502" and "1504." The latter has been reconfigured into a static pattern for strength tests. The other two aircraft were adaptations, which was also attended by the Khrunichev plant specialists, and Omsk Tashkent aviation production association. Bombers, in particular, have received a new tail, strengthened landing gear and airframe, and lost bombolyuka wings and arms. In 1980, the ground began testing a new transporter, and a year later 3M-T made its first flight.

  • Heavy transport aircraft VM-T "Atlant" Source: Picture: buran.ru
  • Heavy transport aircraft VM-T "Atlant" Source: Picture: buran.ru

The overall program development transporter was carried out in the shortest possible time. Already in 1982, 3M-T performed the first two transport flight from Kuibyshev (now Samara) to Baikonur. The plane carried a hydrogen tank, nose and tail fairings, as well as an oxygen tank, instrumentation and engine compartments and the head of the carrier rocket "Energy". In the same year, the plane entered service. Its length is 58.7 meters, wingspan — 53.14 meters, height — 14 meters. With a maximum takeoff weight of 210 tons 3M-T can carry loads of up to 50 tons at a distance of 9.4 thousand kilometers.

Its new name — VM-T — "Atlas" was in the early 1980s. To perform a transport flight from 3M-T was painted in the colors of "Aeroflot", and on board his was the inscription "3M-T." Subsequently, in order to hide the bombing past, it was decided to erase the inscription, but in the end do not have. The number 3 in it corrected the letter B. However, according to official documents plane still held under the designation 3M-T.

In 1983, when one of the transporters have performed regular cargo flights to Baikonur, a second instance of VM-T began flight tests with the model "Buran", whose keel was disconnected. Weight layout was about 45 tons. Total in Zhukovsky was performed eight flights, the last of which is due to an error of the second pilot ended in failure — 3M-T disappeared from the runway and buried in the ground. In 1988, one of the transporters delivered to the "Baikonur" part of the spacecraft "Buran". In October 1988, the "Buran" made its first unmanned flight around the Earth.

  • The crew of VM-T "Atlant" to "Air Show-90" Source: Skrynnikov / RIA Novosti
  • The crew of VM-T "Atlant" to "Air Show-90" Source: Skrynnikov / RIA Novosti

Shortly after the successful launch of the "Buran" VM-T program turned, and planes were mothballed indefinitely. In 1989, they were officially retired Soviet Air Force. One of the mothballed aircraft is now in the village of Diaghilev near Ryazan. Total operating VM-T performed about 150 test flights and transport. About transporter remembered only in the mid-1990s, when engineers proposed using aircraft-based 3M for commercial and public transport oversized cargo and air space launch vehicles. However, these ideas are not yet implemented.

In August 2013 at the static air show MAKS-2013 in Zhukovsky near Moscow audience were shown one of two built transport VM-T. It was stored in the EMR Myasishcheva outdoor parking. According to the plant, now the company is expanding production area and the aircraft there was a threat of disposal. The administration decided to keep Zhukovsky VM-T, restoring the plane and passing it to the National Aviation Museum, created in the city.

Author: Vasily Sychev

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