Russia needs russian mid-class cargo aircraft
24 December, 2002 in “Tupolev” PSC Business Center, Moscow a “round table” was held on “Perspective Efforts of “Tupolev” PSC on cargo aircraft”. The “round table” arranged by “Tupolev” Press-Service and Directorate of Military Programs was attended by representatives of Russian leading aviation editions , “Tupolev” PSC top level officials working on said subject, representatives of Russian A iationa dn Space Agency, Ministry of Defense of RF, Air Force etc.
The direct cause for said “round table” became a number of publications in various mass-media sources and specially in weekly “Independent Military review” No.43 of 6 to 13 December, 2002 regarding a new transport aircraft capable to replace obsolete An-12 a/c of Civil Aviation and Air Force fleet.
The main task of said event was familiarization of aviation journalistic community with main aspects of building of a new Russian mid-class transport aircraft from the point of view of “Tupolev” PSC developers.
It should be noted that . cargo aircraft designing is not a quite new trend for “Tupolev” PSC. If to turn to the background of “Tupolev” that is the most eldest aircraft designing organization in Russia and in the world you will see that “Tupolev” was constantly busy with subjects related with cargo aircraft. These are first of all our heavy bombers TB-1 and TB-3 and also their developments – giant aircraft TB-4, TB-6 and ANT-20. which design observed requirements for transportation of various goods including large-sized cargo for Air Force and Civil Air Fleet. These requirements further were embodied in G-1 and G-2 cargo aircraft and in efforts for transportation and dropping people and equipment from these machines. Multi-purpose R-6 and MR-6 in PS-7 version, SB bombers in PS-40 and PS-41 versions, converted passenger PS-9 and PS-35 a/c were intensively used for cargo transportation. All said Tupolev airplanes contributed significantly to total amount of cargo transportation and military-transport operations during the World War the second. After the war on the basis of TU-4 serial bomber and its passenger version TU-70 a mid-class military transport and cargo TU-75 a/c was developed in which state-of the-art cargo and equipment loading and dropping system was used for the first time in our country. This system served as a basis for designing of further aircraft of such purposes in our country. Unfortunately for objective and subjective reasons this advanced machine was not launched into serial production and into operation. As military transport and assault a/c Air Force used TU-4DT a/c for a long time (several hundreds of TU-4 a/c were converted), TU-4T version prototype was prepared and tested which had extended transportation and assault capabilities. From the beginning of jet aircraft the DB permanently was given orders for passenger jet a/c and for their cargo versions in parallel. For example, the project of short–haul passenger TU-102 a/c had in parallel a military transport and cargo TO-101 a/c, medium-range TU-104 and TU-110 a/c – respectively TU-107 and TU-117, short –haul TU-124 a/c – TU-127 a/c, long-range TU-114 a/c – military and transport and cargo TU-1125 and TU-114T a/c. Experimental TU-107 a/c was built, tested and approved by Customer as military and transport a/c. A quite effective conversion system of fleet of passenger airliners into military and transport a/c under special circumstances at the expense of relatively minor design activities including manufacturing of additional replaceable tail parts with loading ramps, with rear shooting system and with reinforced cargo compartment floor. Up to 1968 all Tupolev airplanes were provided with replaceable set of equipment to be converted into cargo and ambulance a/c in the course of operation.
For short-haul TU-134 and its version TU-134A several cargo and convertible models TU-134C were developed. Nine TU-154B a/c were produced in cargo version TU-154C. These machines were successfully operated on domestic and internati0nal routes. The newest medium-range passenger aircraft of TU-204/TU-214 family also have cargo versions; a number of such aircraft in cargo version (TU-204-100C and TU-204-120C) showed themselves to advantage carrying various goods within Russia, in Western Europe and in Middle East. TU-334 short-haul aircraft which is currently under certification tests also envisages cargo version. The same situation is in all other advanced “Tupolev” PSC developments.
For recent decade “Tupolev” PSC efforts on purpose cargo aircraft has become more intensive and turned to be one of important trends of its activities. By the mid-90-s the Program “Cargo Aircraft of Russia” has been developed. which provides replacement of obsolete native cargo aircraft of different types by transport aircraft of new generation designed in view of the most advanced achievements of aircraft science and technology. Realization of the Program will result in following:
- more than twice fuel flow rate decrease
- cutting down of cargo transportation prime cost by 40 t 50 %
- general increase of technical level of the aircraft
- increase of flight safety
- increase of competitiveness within local and external market of aircraft services
- significant improvement of ecological indications
- wide use of aircraft means to solve special tasks (building a family of specialized aircraft of various purpose based on baseline version).
The prepared Program provided optimization of standard size of cargo transport a/c at the expense of putting a new mid-class transport a/c TU-204-330 (TU-330), regional transport TU-230 a/c, convertible TU-130 a/c when used on domestic routes (further it was replaced for TU-136 project) into operation. Such systems approach of “Tupolev” PSC to development of technical basis for native cargo aircraft should make it possible to solve most effectively the whole package of tasks of aircraft transport system of Russia and also to solve many tasks of special purpose aviation including special purpose aircraft incorporated into System of Russian Ministry of Defense .
For the time being of most interest is a package of activities made by “Tupolev” PSC on TU-204-330 mid-class transport aircraft. The efforts on on this transport started in early 90-s. From the very beginning the task was put to build high efficient wide fuselage transport a/c on the basis of science And technology and production works already done regarding family of TU-204 and TU-214 serial medium-range passenger aircraft of the last generation. To support TU-204-330 a/c activities Resolution of Government of RF of 23.04.94 a long-term marketing work has been done, engineering and design documentation has been drawn up, which currently has been forwarded to KAPO named after Gorbunov wherein TU-214 a/c serial production has been mastered. In this case 75% level of commonality with baseline TU-204/214 a/c family was reached. which cuts down full-scale serial production preparation and certification dates for TU-204-330 a/c.
To-day “Tupolev” PSC basing on large volume of works done on the transport a/c is offering to potential customers its mid-class transport TU-204-330 a/c as a mass cargo a/c to replace obsolete and aged An-12 fleet and to some extent Il-76TD when Il-76TD a/c operation seems to be not efficient.
Deep unification with baseline TU-204/TU-214 family provides following advantages in comparison with other alternative mid-class transport a/c projects:
- achievement of minimal technical risk when realizing the project (excellent TU-204 aerodynamics, high-efficient wing, tried and tested engine type, tried and ergonomically efficient cockpit, tried and proved to be correct control systems were used);
- two-three times cutting down of development period and costs of experimental and serial production (in case full-scale Program operation of the machine will be possible in four years; one machine cost being 25 to 27 mln. USD expressed in current prices which is significantly less than that of potential competitors);
- smooth adaptation to ATC and existing cargo transportation system in Russia;
- unification of cockpit and avionics with modern passenger airliners at possibility of further development of architecture and set of equipment of flight and navigation system and other special systems;
- relatively simple approach of putting the aircraft into operation since similarity of structure and flight and maintenance crew, because of using the same kits of test instruments, spare appliances and ground maintenance equipment as at current Russian airliners have.
When developing design and layout of versions of baseline TU-330 transport a/c “Tupolev” specialists had to study thoroughly wide range of different tasks to be solved by the aircraft being operated in the interests of Russian economy and RF Ministry of Defense. Possibility of “peaceful” co-existence of An-70 and Il-76MF transport a/c and TU-204-330/ In this case every type of a/c was given its own field of operation in proportion of TU-330 to An-70 as 4:1. Analysis has revealed that for mass air transportation TU-330 a/c is the most preferable since its performance is better, efficiency is higher and adaptivity to ATC system is better (cruise flight speed and altitude is higher than that of An-70).
According to specialists Russian civil air transportation demand is estimated as 100-120 machines, for international routes transportation – 25-30 machines, for foreign delivery – 40 and for former USSR republics – 15-20 machines. Totally it makes 180-215 machines. Total Demand of RF Ministry of Defense in TU-204-330 a/c is 150-200 machines plus 70-80 machines for military authorities of other countries.
TU-204-330 (TU-330) transport a/c building is incorporated into Federal purpose oriented Program “Development of Civil Aircraft in Russia for 2002-2010 and for the period up to the year 2015” – Resolution of RF Government of 15 October, 2001 ¹ 728:”item 13. Building of TU-330 – with lifting capacity of 35 t – 2002-2012,”Tupolev’ PSC”, KAPO. Certification in 2002.”
According to analysis of market and civil and military services demands TU-204-330 a/c are proposed to be produced in different versions as follows:
- TU-204-330 baseline cargo version intended for civil aviation powered by PS-90A engines and having take-off thrust of 16140 kgf;
- baseline cargo version intended for civil aviation powered by NK-93A engines having take-off thrust of 20 000 kgf;
- baseline cargo version intended for exportation powered by Rolls-Royce RB211-535 engines;
- rescue TU-330PS a/c for rescue operations on land and over sea, for patrolling within short- and long-range water area , for reconnaissance of fish shoal and ice condition, for aerial surveying and ecological monitoring;
- TU-330P a/c intended for forest fires suppression;
- long-range radar reconnaissance TU-330RL a/c;
- TU-330R repeater;
- Tanker version for LNG transportation ( liquefied natural gas);
- a/c provided with Power plant operating LNG;
- ambulance-rescue a/c intended for Ministry of Extreme Situations;
- specialized a/c TU-330 “Skalpel” – flying hospital;
- a/c provided with VIP-class compartments;
- TU-330LL a/c – flying laboratory to perform programs of TsAGI, TsIAM etc.;
- TU-330C for transportation of oversized cargo at the top of fuselage under TsNIIMash programs.
Production of following versions are possible for Ministry of Defense:
- for Military and transport aviation TU-330VT (TU-330VTS) version of baseline cargo a/c is proposed provided with advanced communication integrated system currently used in Air Force and with set of equipment designed for loading. unloading and arrangement of standard wheel, caterpillar combat machinery and staff with possibility of dropping the staff and machinery;
- TU-330SE ambulance and evacuation a/c;
- TU-330TZ tanker with “buddy” type and “telescope” type refueling;
- specialized administrative a/c (compartment + two cars);
- repeater a/c;
- long-range radar detection;
- jammer a/c;
- reconnaissance and target indication;
- patrol a/c.
According to “Tupolev” PSC if TU-204-330 a/c is taken as native mid-class transport baseline a/c it is necessary to take into account following pre-conditions of organizational, technological and economical nature:
- Task for aircraft production during special period and for reconditioning of loss Ministry of Defense loss should be given to aircraft manufacturing companies regarding fully native aircraft only. Both the aircraft itself and vendor items should be independent of foreign supplies (especially concerning avionics since state- of- the- art radio –electronics is capable to “insert” in to any very small element a command device that can cause failure of a system or entire aircraft any time necessary to a potential enemy);
- in case of co-operation with some foreign company all new designs, developments, modification and upgrading, airframe , engines, avionics etc. service life extension, will require permanent agreement with leading foreign Design Bureau (even if it is a CIS state - a former republic of the USSR – which will potentially join NATO) which is associated with significant expenses. It will permanently put a Customer in state of financial dependence and all of us will be obliged to invest into foreign aircraft industry for many years while our own aircraft industry will be starving;
- all new military developments of aircraft industry and co-operating enterprises to be installed on foreign aircraft could soon belong to countries not very amicable to Russia;
- it should be taken into account that TU-330 a/c is the most compliable with Air Force and Civil Aviation requirements by parameter “transported cargo – range”: according to Air Force 72% of transportation are made with cargo of 20-25 tones for the range of 3000 km; according to Gos NIIGA IL-76 is currently carrying not more than 25 tones (up to 90% of all transportation);
- according to Russian Military Transport Aviation Command combat training takes not more than 10% of annual flight hours, while 90% are taken by transportation in the interest of Ministry of Defense. In this case demand of different types of Armed Forces and , Air Forces are mostly satisfied by mid-class military transport aircraft. Today it is obsolete An-12, which should be replaced by TU-330 a/c according to their demanded lift capacity and flight range;
- as per ICAO Section 3 requirements Il-76 MF powered by PS-90A engine will be allowed abroad till the year 2004 only, An-70 powered by D-27 engines will come across the same problems if it will be able to overcome the “barrier” of ICAO Section 3 (it is practically impossible to provide D-27 engines with sound-absorbing structures and special ejector). In contrast TU-330 a/c will be able to operate international including European routs without any limitation;
- TU-330 a/c within the niche of mid-class transport aircraft will more perspective having two engines and low cost ( its opponent is an American C-130J a/c which is more complicated and more expensive and obsolete An-12)’ especially for the countries that are traditionally oriented to our aircraft equipment;
- TU-330 a/c was 75% designed on the basis of certified TU-204/TU-214 and reliable serial PS-90A turbojet engines which makes significantly cheaper its development, certification and serial production at KAPO n.a.Gorbunov where TU-214 a/c are being produced in series; this is quite profitable form technological and economical point of view;
- TU-330 a/c is capable to operate with one failed engine at take-off and landing. Successful landing performed recently by TU-204 a/c with two failed engines having passengers aboard has confirmed its high design and aerodynamic cleanness especially in emergency situation;
- besides version of TU-330 powered by PS-90A “Tupolev” PSC is currently developing the aircraft powered by NK-93A engines being more efficient.
They often compare TU-330 a/c with Ukrainian An-70 a/c. However such comparison is not very rightful since these are machines of different classes. But if still to fix a choice upon An-70 a/c than we should realize that Russia could come across the problems as follows:
- even if An-70s will be supplied from Ukraine to Russia and put into operation these two aircraft are of different classes (An-7- could be related to heavy military transport a/c and TU-330 – to mid-weight military transport a/c); Ministry of Defense thinks it is necessary for Russia to have “combined” An-70 and TU-330 a/c fleet (approximately 25-30% and 80-70% of each type of the machines respectively);
- cost of the last version of transport AN-70 a/c (max weight of carried cargo is equal to 47 tones) is estimated within the range of 62-64 mln. USD, cost of TU-330VT a/c is about 25-27 mln USD. An-70 a/c program recoupment is scheduled after production of 60 machines (Russian share of purchases is 165 aircraft for Air Force which is quite hardly probable since departments of Russian Ministry of Defense are saturated by Il-76 and An-124 up to the year 2015, Ministry of Transport is not going to buy the aircraft); for information – TU-330 a/c program will recoup itself at the 12-th a/c production;
- export potential of An-70 transport a/c is quite trifling since in Europe demands in Mid-class Transport Aircraft is currently meeting under FLA program – with A-400M a/c ( Western Military Agencies have ordered 193 machines for the amount of 18 mlrd USD). Heavy Transport Aircraft is not in great demand in Europe for the time being;
- Having many positive characteristics An-70 a/c is rigidly associated with turboprop engine (D-27 of Ukrainian production) – while power plant of TU-330 a/c is more uniform – the following engines can be provided: PS-90A, NK-93A, NK-94 operating LNG, foreign RB211-535FS and PW2240;
- according to TsAGI conclusion (basing on analysis of Omsk incident and on 22 similar preconditions) AN-70 a/c in case of partial or entire failure of one engine or during take-off will require wing blow with turboprop engine flow; two engines failure will cause catastrophic effect (such situations are quite realistic for military aircraft operating under enemy’s fire ). It can not be eliminated since it was laid down into An-70 a/c concept. Problems of D-27 aerodynamic instability could be added. The D-27 engines development will require large additional investment and time;
- An-70 a/c has still some problems about flight and navigation integrated system. ANTK n.a. O.K.Antonov has appealed to Russian NII AO with request to install TU-204/TU-214 a/c Standard Flight Navigation System SFNS on An-70 a/c since the system currently installed does not fulfil the inherent tasks. Again it will take money and time while TU-330 a/c design had said system laid down from the very beginning;
- Developers’ proposals to design An-70 version provided with D-27 engines to replace An-12 or An-70 version provided with four or two PS-90A (in this case ….will loose its quality) seems quite doubtful. In the first case it would be design of a new and again problematic and expensive a/c for said niche which is reasonable to occupy by TU-330 a/c . In the second case it would be a new machine again provided with two engines of the same type similar TU-330 a/c, if with four engines – than it would be something as Il-76MF but it is quite unreasonable.