Nuclear euphoria 50-ies of the last century has generated a lot of bold ideas. Energy nuclear fission proposed use in all areas of science and technology, or even at home. Do not leave her unattended and aircraft designers. Greater efficiency of nuclear reactors in theory allowed to reach untold flight features: new aircraft with nuclear engines could fly with the highest speeds and overcome one «fueling» up to several hundred thousand miles. But all these advantages of nuclear power more than offset the minuses. Reactor, including aircraft, to be equipped with a whole set of protective equipment, so that it did not represent a danger to the crew and staff. In addition, the question remained open good system of nuclear jet engine.
Around the middle of the 50s South American nuclear scientists and aircraft designers determine the circle of problems that must be addressed for a successful construction applicable to the operation of the aircraft with a nuclear power plant. The main problem, that prevented do real atomolet was radiation hazard. Applicable protection of the reactor output is very large and weighty, that it could raise the aircraft since then. Size of the reactor led to a host of other problems, both technical and operational nature.
In the midst of other species problem actually applicable atomoleta worked at the firm Northrop Aircraft. Already in the years 1956-57 there developed their sights on a similar technique and determined the main features of such aircraft. Apparently, the firm «Northrop» understood that atomolet, with all the advantages of its own, it remains very difficult for the production and operation, and therefore does not necessarily hide the main ideas of its kind under the security classifications. So, in April 1957 Popular Mechanics magazine published an interview with several scientists and employees Northrop, engage in certain kinds atomoleta. In addition, the topic then not once was rising other publications.
Group engineers «Northrop», headed by an expert on nuclear technology Lee A. Olindzher, doing kind of a promising generation of aircraft, resolve technical difficulties as they come, and for all that used the most common and trivial solutions. So, the main problem of all atomoletov — unacceptably large size and weight power plant with a nuclear reactor — tried to solve the usual increase in the size of the aircraft. In 1-x, is a broker would normally dispose of an internal volume of the aircraft, and in-2, in this case could very spread the cockpit and the reactor.
With a length of 60-70 meters over the aircraft can be applied two main assembly. First assumed standard accommodation cabin crew in the forward fuselage and the reactor was located in the caudal region. The second was thought reactor installation aircraft nose. Cabin in the case should have been placed on the keel. A similar design was even more difficult because she was treated only as another.
The purpose of the group work was not just Olindzhera view definition atomoleta promising, but the establishment of a preparatory project supersonic strategic bomber. In addition, it was planned to evaluate the possibility of the design and construction of passenger or cargo aircraft with the highest flight data. All this was taken into account in working through the form of the base bombers and tangibly impacted its design.
Thus, the need for speed has led to that projected a hypothetical plane delta wing was located in the rear fuselage. Scheme «tailless» considered more promising in regard to general arrangement. It allowed the reactor to move very far from the cabin, located in the nose of the aircraft, and thus make the best conditions of the crew. Nuclear turbojet engines would be placed in a single package over the wing. On the upper surface of the wing provided two keel. In one embodiment of the project to improve the flying characteristics of the wing connects to the fuselage using a longish and massive pylon.
The biggest issues are nuclear power plant. The available middle of the 50s experimental reactor designs, sizes are theoretically allowed to install them on planes, did not meet the weight. Acceptable level of protection could only provide a multilayer structure made of metal, concrete and plastic weighing about 200 tons. Naturally, it was very much even for large aircraft and languid with an estimated weight of less than 220-230 tons. Because Aircraft lost hope for a speedy emergence least languid remedies with sufficient features.
Another controversial point steel engines. On most «concept art» shows promising atomoleta aircraft with eight jet engines. By impartial reasons, namely because of the lack of ready nuclear turbojet engines, engineers office Northrop considered two options propulsion motors open and closed loop. From each other, they differ in that the first type of engine, open-cycle, atmospheric air after the compressor had to go straight into the reactor core, where the basked, then redirected to the turbine. In the closed-cycle engine air was not due to leave the channel and bask in the flow of the heat exchanger with circulating coolant of the reactor circuit.
Both schemes were very complicated and with all this represented a danger to the environment. Open-cycle engine in which the outboard air in contact with the elements of the core, would leave behind a radioactive trail. Closed cycle was the least unsafe, but transmission of sufficient energy from the reactor to the heat exchanger has been quite challenging. To keep in mind that South American designers began work on the creation of nuclear rocket engines for aircraft in the late 40s. But for 10 years with unnecessary they have not been able to build a workable engine applicable for mounting at least on an experimental plane. For this reason, the team had to operate Olindzhera only some are hypothetical figures and promised parameters produced engines.
On the basis of the application developers engines traits engineers «Northrop» led exemplary aircraft flight data. According to their calculations, a bomber could accelerate to speeds exceeding three times the speed of sound. As for the range, this option was limited only by the ability of the crew. In theory, it was even possible to equip bomber household unit with rest rooms, kitchen and bathroom. In this case, the plane would be immediately several crews working in shifts. But this would only be applied when a strong protection. In the unlikely event the duration of the flight should not exceed 18-20 hours. Calculations showed that on one refueling nuclear fuel such aircraft could proparhat over 100 thousand miles.
Regardless of the scheme and the type of engine or flight ready hell out huge new aircraft and languid. In addition, it was intended to equip a delta wing having a special aerodynamic properties. So Makarov, nuclear strategic bomber needed especially longish runway. Construction of this facility promised big spending, because of which only a few new airports could «chew» impressive hole in the defense budget. In addition, the military will not be able to rapidly build a broad network of similar airfields, causing promising bombers ventured to remain tied to just a few bases.
The problem of basing offered to solve fairly common, but unusual method. Ground airfields supposed to quit only to transport aircraft or not to build them all. Strategic bombers, in turn, were to serve on the coastal bases and soar with water. For this group Olindzhera skidded into view atomoleta ski chassis adapted for take-off and landing on water. As required, possibly bomber could equip the wheel and the chassis, but as the runway surface is supposed to use only water.
In an interview for the magazine Popular Mechanics LA Olindzher estimated time of creation of the first prototype atomoleta 3-10 years. So Makar, by the end of the 60s the company «Northrop» could begin creating this project supersonic strategic bombers with nuclear turbojet engines. But such technology possible customer counted differently. All of the 50-ies in the field of nuclear engines for aircraft not given little or no result. Managed to master a number of new technologies, but the result was not anticipated, as there was no vsepolnotsennyh prerequisites to it.
In 1961, the presidential election defeated JF Kennedy, who immediately showed enthusiasm promising projects in the field of aviation. By the middle of his desk and went to other project documents nuclear aircraft engines, which showed that the cost of applets grow, and up as far as before. In addition, by this time there were ballistic missiles that can change the strategic bombers. Kennedy ordered the closure of all projects related to nuclear turbojet engines and do the least mind-boggling, but more promising things. As a result, a hypothetical plane, determining which type of employees engaged Northrop Aircraft, left without engines. Subsequent work in this area recognized unproductive and the project was closed. Most principled atomoleta project remained on the stage of development of the form.