Russian unmanned aerial vehicles. Part I

Do not have time to appear first aircraft, as had the idea to use them for military purposes. Thus to use not only the "as is", and in an unmanned configuration. First draft of combat drones, for example, Charles Kettering design Yankees (1910-12 gg.) Showed fundamentally the possibility of their combat deployment, but in a series did not. In much the same was the case with the various "air torpedoes" during the First World War, called to fight the enemy airships.

In our country, the first work on the drones began in 1916, when Captain Jablonski began to construct "helicopter-torpedo." Both home and abroad, to the battlefield this device never reached. Later, there were two revolutions, plainclothes war newcomer power NEP, industrialization, etc. In general, there were better things to do than drones. Russian Alliance, like other countries, was more interested in manned aircraft — its dignity has long no one cause vibrations. In addition, the development of world aircraft in some measure spurred which is popular at the time the doctrine of Douai, but that's another story.

Russian aircraft designers went back to the idea of an unmanned aerial vehicle exclusively in the mid 30s. In 1935, at the Leningrad plant number 23, an engineer, NV Nikitin began drafting the SPE (special purpose glider). In appearance it was a small flying boat carrying a torpedo. According to plans of the founders of the project, PSN was to be delivered to the area of the attack, being suspended under the wing of a bomber TB-3, which performed its uncoupling. Next glider out at the target with radio control (provided for the installation of television equipment to facilitate the work of the gunner) or with an infrared guidance. Need to see infrared equipment that is suitable for installation on the airframe, then it was not, but the designers to anticipate the possibility of its use. Fascinating fact that the first instance of the airframe, received the title of PSN-1, had no control over the air, but the traditional — with a handle and pedals. To work out the properties of a glider flight at first decided to experiment with manned machine. At the subsequent him MTR2 already established some autopilot, though at first the planned equipment he never received. Both copies of the SPE were taken to the aircraft carrier, tried in flight, but in the spring of 1940 the project was canceled due to the complexity and futility.

Domestic drones.  Part I

Soon after the Russian war majestically surveys on unmanned aerial vehicles continued. However, for the most part it was shock system, for example, cruise missiles, such as "The Tempest." Today's gaze on the UAV, in contrast to their more responsible Yak-9, equipped with a control system via radio, intended for measurements in the area of nuclear testing. But it was only a refinement of an existing machine.


Among the design offices, working on unmanned systems, shock, and it was AN KB Tupolev. It should be said that this is the design organization then creates the largest number of Russian UAV. In the 57-year-Tupolev designers have concluded that with proper investing effort and resources would be to create a shock of unmanned "planning a cruise missile." Conditional "ceiling" of her features as stipulated the range of about 10 thousand km, starting weight at 240-250 tons, the speed of the order of 20 000 km / h and a maximum altitude of 50 km. The three-stage rocket was to deliver a planning warhead to the target area, where it is without the help of others, without a motor, left on purpose. Such a system, according to the views of the founders, was to have an accuracy of no worse than available at the time of ballistic missiles. The proposal has intrigued the military, but to research Tupolev allowed solely for scientific research. In the end, it turned out that the creation of the rocket with the designated data really can be, but the money nuance of its design and construction looked so ordinary that no organization behind it would not take. Well, the customer is unlikely to have approved such expenses. After a 2-step research topic that has received the letter "D" rose to the final decision of the Government on the development and construction of the prototype. But the highest range limited by 4 tyschami km, and the speed of the projectile caused the aircraft to 2500-3000 km / h After several revisions, configurations, and other signs of the rough work on the project Tupolev company was renamed "121 aircraft." The work was the largest machine in the take-off weight of 35 tons. Spindle-shaped fuselage on a delta wing and empennage, nacelle and was carried semi-recessed into the tail of the fuselage. All in all, nothing special for cruise missiles since. Turbojet engine KR-15-300 with a thrust of about 10 tons, according to the calculations had to ensure the delivery of 3 tons of payload. At the end of the 59-year seasoned standards "121" made a few flights, but at the top decided that a similar technique Russian Union is not needed. Projects "121", "The Tempest" and a number of others were closed.

Domestic drones.  Part I


Go with "121" in the Tupolev plane were working on "123." Initially it was a shock to the drone intercontinental range. But after the failure of the military from a similar technique of "123" was closed, even without completing the preliminary design. What's all the same to 3 digits of its designation, in August 1960, returned to them — such code has received a draft unmanned intelligence apparatus created for complex DBR-1 "Hawk". Decided to do it on the basis of "121" that little easier puzzle. Despite the huge number of developments, had to solve a set of problems: place the camera equipment capable of producing an acceptable outcome when taking on these terms of reference altitudes to modify the control system, and specifically do better output precision in the exploration area and provide a return back, to make the system harmless delivery photographic reconnaissance and much more. In the middle of 61-year "Hawk" went to the factory tests, and in May 1964 was adopted by the Soviet Air Force. At this time, the Voronezh aircraft plant mastered the production complexes — in the eight years there were built 52 units. Most of the drones "123" went to the western border of the USSR, from which they can operate over a significant part of Europe. But over zabugornom countries "Hawk" was not able to fly — all his real work is limited only teachings. At the same time, the potential of the complex was evaluated more than positive. The main premise of this was a cruising speed of about 2700 km / h, at which the supplies of fuel enough for the 3500-3700 km range. Start "123" was carried out with the tractor SARD-1 (MAZ-537 with a special semi-RDMS-1), the control run was performed with the machine CARD-1C, curb all needed equipment.

Domestic drones.  Part I

During pre-flight preparation guide launcher mounted at 12 ° to the horizontal, and the autopilot of the drone recorded programm flight. Descent from the launcher and the first few seconds of the flight provided with launching boosters, then run sustainer engine. A few seconds later marching engine P-15K-300 switched to afterburner and in this mode worked almost the entire length of the flight. On the final leg of the flight, at 400-500 km from the launch site, cut in the ground control system. Ground-based radar detection Scouting produced and provided its output to reset the tape area with materials exploration. There, on command from the ground "123" engine stopped, poured kerosene and the remainder passed into the climb. Once the speed of the drone fell to a certain value, the shooting of the instrument compartment, which came down to earth by parachute. The tail section was falling "independently" and destroyed. On landing instrument module in it cut one beacon, helping to find film.

In the middle of 60th at the company Tupolev going to make "123" reusable. Intelligence system that variant dubbed DRB-2 "Hawk-2." UAV itself was renamed "139" or the Tu-139. To improve the flight characteristics "139" received a new wing ogival shape and horizontal tail with the least negative V. Flight of the Tu-139 was no different from its predecessor — all the differences were only in the method of planting. Scout complex "Hawk-2" nose-up after braking parachute produced the least sensitive area of 1500 square meters, in which he came down almost to the ground. A moment before touching the surface of the fuselage drone included braking engines (here applied to the contact of the ordinary system of the probe). Tu-139 proved the possibility of repeated use of the 1st and the same drone — any of the prototypes withstood a 10-ka landings on unprepared sites. All the same, replace the troops the second "Hawk" first did not.

"The Raven"

In 1969, somewhere in Asia, or in Kazakhstan or Mongolia (disk imaging clear on this matter so far not), was found almost warped South American unmanned Scout Lockheed D-21. Much later, in different sources appeared details of the incident: During the 1st of 4 drone flights over China, photographed nuclear testing ground, because of the failure is not the autopilot turned and flew home, and continued the flight on an already established course. To develop fuel it landed in the desert, with little or no damage. D-21, was taken to the Russian Air Force Research Institute, and then transferred to the Tupolev Design Bureau. Both organizations have analyzed the design, rated it the highest rate in the 3500-3600 km / h, and working in the ceiling of 25 km. In addition, our engineers have intrigued many of the technical solutions applied to the D-21, Kelly Johnson and his team. As a result, the survey "trophy" it was decided to try to make it similar, why the March 71 th was issued a corresponding government decree. Subject has received the title of "The Raven." It was planned that this would be to start with a scout bomber Tu-95, to be dispersed by a liquid accelerator, and then perform flight at a cruising speed of about 3-3.2 M. Planting "The Raven" had to be created without the help of others in the area.

Domestic drones.  Part I

From the ground refused to launch drone — the system came out very complicated and awkward. But take off and sit down, "Raven" has failed. By the time the draft project was almost ready, it turned out that the plane "overtakes" the available cameras. In other words, there was no aerial cameras that could produce enough quality photos at such speeds and altitudes at which the work was due to the drone. In addition, the exploration of the "strategic" was expedient to create ranges from satellites, which are similar to the problems with motivated equipment was gone. "The Raven" was closed, but some know-how, for the first time applied to him, not once used later.


August 30, 1968 issued a decree of the Council of Ministers on the new tactical unmanned spy. Required to make complex VR-2 "Flight" in general, and aircraft "143" viz. Now it was necessary to make three versions of the drone: picture, television and radiation reconnaissance. First option was required to do by 1970, the last — to 72-mu. In addition to the usual requirements for newcomer drone present and radically new: low ESR capability of flying at low altitudes. Also, it was necessary to significantly speed up the training for the flight and reduce the landing area: the largest size in the area was determined 500×500 meters. Despite all the difficulties, the Tupolev coped with the task, and December 70 th Tu-143 made the first flight. In the 73 th began mass creation and enacting took place exclusively in the 76th. Prior to 1989, managed to collect 950 copies of Scouting. In the 85th on the basis of "143" have made unmanned target for training anti-aircraft gunners.

Domestic drones.  Part I

Structurally, the Tu-143 was a low melting tailless delta wing. In the bow of the UAV positioned fixed Destabilizers, improve flying characteristics midcourse flight. TP3-117 engine provided the scout cruising speed of 950 km / h Flight distance does not exceed 180-190 km. Low altitude flight "Flight" — only 10 meters, but the best result of photo-and telerazvedki reached at altitudes of 200 m Scout soared with special launcher with boosters and landing created the "helicopter-style": vertically into three landing gear with a braking parachute and braking motor. To restart was required to spend some of a total duration of about 4 hours. Resource drone was enough for 5 departures on it either written off or expelled for a full repair. To configure a method of exploration by plane rather had to change the instrument compartment for equipment suitable equipment — cameras, video cameras or dosimetric equipment.

Domestic drones.  Part I

"Flight" was in service not only in the Russian Union. But out of 950 copies made in hostilities participated only systems sold to Syria.

In March the 81st Government has requested the modernization of "Flight". BP-3D "Flight-D" had to be doubled, and a huge range of new target equipment. In fact, UAV, named Tu-243, has a new navigation complex and control equipment. In addition, changed the composition of motivated equipment. In one configuration, the camera and the camera is used once, and in the other — the camera and infrared reconnaissance station. Also modified the ground equipment complex.


Go with "Reis" lasted for work on the developme
nt of tactical reconnaissance UAVs. In 1974 he began testing a new set of VR-2 "Swift" that would change the "Hawk". Its basis was the drone "141." Structurally, it is similar to the Tu-143, but half as much and three times heavier. Also, "Swift" significantly exceeds the "Flight" range — it can proparhat a thousand miles at a cruising speed of 980-1000 km / h Successfully passing the tests, Swift was adopted in 1979.

Domestic drones.  Part I

Construction of the complex lasted until the end of the 80s. It was made one and a half hundreds of copies of the complex. As with "121", VR-2 in the main based in western Russian Union.


It must be said, listed unmanned aerial vehicles — far not all Russian work in this direction. Apart from the Tupolev Design Bureau, the theme of the UAV engaged bureau Lavochkin, Yakovlev and others. But their projects, we will tell in the second part.

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