​"Geophysics" flies to bypass sanctions

Legendary aircraft "Geophysics" will serve as the Europeans, despite sanctions

05.02.2015, 13:57 | Paul Kotlyar

European scientists are in need of unique Russian aircraft "Geophysics" to study the atmosphere at an altitude of 20 km. The joint project will help better predict climate change and Russian aviators - save the legendary car.

Two high-altitude aircraft - the legendary American U-2 and the unique Russian M-55 "Geophysics" - have a long history in which the fate of both cars were intertwined with each other. Today, M-55, the brainchild of the Cold War, must unite scientists at a time when relations between Russia and Europe cooled off as ever over the past decade.

When in 1954 in Washington knew about the presence of Soviet strategic bomber M-4 (Myasishchev) First, the ability to deliver nuclear weapons to the United States, immediately there was a question - how many of them actually in the USSR - the units, tens or hundreds?

To answer this question, in the United States to urgently develop a high-altitude spy plane U-2, which was inaccessible to fly on airplanes interceptors record altitude of 20 km and photographing sensitive sites.

It became clear that the number of M-4 tens, and strategic advantages in the Soviet Union has no bombers. However, after the Soviet anti-aircraft missiles S-75 and shot down in 1960 over Sverdlovsk pilot Powers U-2 flights over the Soviet Union ceased.

Then the US began to run over the USSR altitude balloons carrying 50 kg intelligence apparatus. Balls were a real headache for the Soviet military: using the prevailing wind rose, they could with impunity fly over the European part of the USSR, and keep track of everything that you want. To deal with them was extremely difficult - thousands of slow-moving purposes flew to the ceiling opportunities interceptor that simply slipped past them, and if the shells fell and then pierced through the thin shell, without exploding. Then Vladimir Myasishcheva tasked to develop a Soviet high-altitude aircraft to combat balls - low-speed and able to reach a height of 20 km.

So in 1978, was created by single-engine aircraft M-17 c two-beam scheme and extended wing, equipped with a cannon shell which are extremely sensitive - it explodes from a collision with a drop of rain.

The tests were successful and by the early 80s fly balls stopped. Of high-altitude fighter balloons were asked to scout. Flying along the state border at an altitude of 20 km, a single twin-engine M-17RM could "look" for hundreds of kilometers into the territory of neighboring states. In 1988-1992, was made four year old sample and two samples for static tests, the aircraft passed the stage of factory tests, and state tests were started.

Due to changes in our country in the early '90s unique myasischevsky plane was out of work, but thanks to scientific contacts in Central upper-air observatory plane managed to interest European scientists. The fact that for climate and atmospheric processes requires measurements at altitudes that are available only when TR-1, made by the American U-2. However, two such planes belonging NASA, there was a huge turn and European attempts to use them have been unsuccessful - they performed essentially American experiments. Therefore, in 1993, the Europeans are interested in the opportunity to conduct research in the former Soviet spy plane, which could also climb to an altitude of 20 km.

So on the basis of the fourth flight model in 1996 was created single-seater Laboratory M-55, known as "Geophysics", which was to serve as a non-military, scientific goals.

Russian "Geophysics" was unpretentious American "spy." TR-1, though flying further, requires a special fuel, and landing requires special tricks - it is accompanied by landing the pilot on a sports car, which helps the pilot, but in the end the team must run a special "catch" the plane and set the underwing landing gear, which resets the aircraft during takeoff. In addition, the US aircraft at an altitude of 20 km very low pressure in the cabin, so the flight was comparable to the yield in a spacesuit into space, which prepared a few hours.

All these features M-55 deprived and can be used with any airfield Class 2 refueling conventional jet fuel.

In 1995, a contract was signed, under which the plane was shot unnecessary hardware and installs the Italian scientific instruments. The first expedition took place in Finland. Then, with the participation of many European institutions held about 20 other expeditions: M-55 flew in the Arctic, Antarctica, over the Indian Ocean, Africa, Brazil and Australia. Flying on a certain route, aircraft, equipped with a large set of physical devices, capable of doing "slice" of air flow to obtain a complete picture of the processes.

Transformed for scientific purposes, has become modified and the plane itself: he gained special fairings on the fuselage and underwing nacelles, which housed the measuring instruments. All this has worsened the aerodynamics of the aircraft and fuel consumption increased by 8%. But after that the plane was so "volatile" (aerodynamic efficiency of the order of 21)

that in order to effectively reduce a height of 20 km the pilot has to release the brake flaps and landing gear. Instruments and filled the bow section where the antenna used to be.

Flying at an altitude of 20 km is associated with two major difficulties. Firstly, there is the atmospheric pressure by more than 10 times lower than that of the land. Therefore, from 5 tons of thrust each of the two engines on the 20 km is only 650 kg. Secondly - the air temperature can drop to -90 degrees.

Now Experimental Machine Building Plant im.V.M.Myasischeva, began to prepare the aircraft for a new large-scale European research program StratoClim, which will be held in a joint project with the Commission, the Council of Europe. In this expedition will be attended by scientists from 26 institutions in Europe and Russia. For many years, scientists have created a sophisticated mathematical model of Earth's atmosphere, predicting climate change in the years ahead.

The global objective of the project - making measurements in different parts of the world, to verify the accuracy of these models.

peace scout

During the expedition, which will begin at the end of 2015, the researchers plan to investigate in detail the so-called Asian monsoon - the seasonal movement of tropical air masses that originate in the region of the Philippines, and sent through the Arabian Peninsula in the direction of the Mediterranean. The peak of this phenomenon is observed in India, where he planned to spend the basic surveillance summer 2016.

"From a US aircraft ER-2, Global Hawk, WB57 can climb to such a height, but they are not available to foreign scientists for 15 years. Furthermore, ER-2 plane has only one motor, but it is not able to land and take off in high winds. Global climate change and the processes of their cause - urgent issues to be addressed by the international scientific community as quickly as possible. The political situation may hinder such investigations, but fortunately, so far our cooperation not interfere with political issues, "- said Fred Shtro, head of the research program StratoClim Research Center Jülich, Germany.

During the flight will be studied temperature, chemical composition, ozone, aerosol distribution, electrical and optical parameters of the atmosphere, various contaminants, X-ray and gamma-ray bursts. "Aircraft manufactured in 1991. And now we come to the time when the allied not extend the life of components and the plane needs to be upgraded, "- said the chief designer of EMR them. Gennady V. Myasishev Belyaev.

Therefore, the contract is estimated at several million euros, was entered value necessary modernization of the aircraft. "This is an experimental aircraft, we are moving away from analog technology, and it becomes more modern with the use of digital technologies" - adds Belyaev.

Giving a second life to the legendary aircraft, pilots myasischevskie hope to attract the attention of the Ministry of Defense to "Geophysics", whose special qualities are still waiting for their applications.

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05.02.2015 15:37

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