NI: Tu-144 project failed due to air espionage errors in the USSR

The Soviet Union tried to design its own supersonic Concord - Tu-144. However, the project to create it actually failed due to possible errors in copying the drawings of the British-French liner, which the USSR aircraft designers did not fully understand. About this writes the American edition of The National Interest.

Part of the problems of the project was associated with the high level of the aerospace industry necessary to create a viable design for a supersonic jet airliner. According to one estimate, the design of the Tu-144 was 10-15 years ahead of the capabilities of the Soviet aerospace industry at that time. Perhaps a certain role was played by aviation espionage, since the similarities in the design of the Concord and Tu-144 are striking. However, due to a number of errors in the interpretation of the data, the Soviet supersonic aircraft did not achieve commercial success.

The brainchild of Tupolev made only 102 flights, only 55 of which carried passengers. Compared to Concord, the Tu-144 failed, taking precious time and money away from other projects. The British-French liner also had problems, but they were dictated by market reasons, not constructive flaws.

Thus, the Tu-144 was heavier than the Concord by 20 tons and approximately 360 cm longer. The tires of the Soviet aircraft included synthetic rubber, which was a structurally weak material and failed more often than its natural counterpart. Tu-144 engines were also underdeveloped, and the noise insulation of the cabin left much to be desired.
  • Photos used: Vlad Volkov /
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  1. 123 Offline 123
    123 (123) 3 June 2020 15: 29
    According to one of the estimates, the design of the Tu-144 was 10-15 years ahead of the ability of the Soviet aerospace industry at that time
    Attention! , a certain role was played by aviation espionageBecause striking similarity in design Concord and Tu-144. However due to a number of errors in data interpretation Soviet supersonic plane and did not achieve commercial success.

    The level of analytics is off the charts. belay
    According to one of the estimates, that is, in the opinion of someone there, the Russian designers have not matured yet. Aircraft are similar, unambiguously, espionage. Correct interpretation of data is key to commercial success. Of these shortcomings, I was particularly impressed by the long length of the aircraft. In the original article about engines it is written that they have 2,7 tons more thrust, but they are "less refined".
    Unequivocally, the assistant seller of dates wrote.
    Article in the furnace. negative Professionals from The National Interest warm greetings. smile
    1. Bitter Offline Bitter
      Bitter (Gleb) 4 June 2020 00: 03
      American edition of The National Interest.

      The Soviet Union has not been around for thirty years, but some projects still cause overseas heartburn among partners overseas. Who and why needed to pour another tub of mud on a long-closed project? I think if he continued to fly and improve, then all childhood diseases would be eradicated and his characteristics improved.
      It seems that if the Americans were able to make such a machine at one time, then it would fly and partners would be able to convince the appropriate lanes for it to build and would have handed everyone a couple of pieces to reduce the unit price.
  2. Alexey Grigoryev (Alexey Grigoriev) 3 June 2020 17: 45
    The Tu-144 flew over the country, and since it was supersonic, the rumble stood, even the windows in the houses burst. And Concord flew over the ocean, no one heard him there. And in terms of economics, the Tu-144 was very expensive for people.
    1. goncharov.62 Offline goncharov.62
      goncharov.62 (Andrei) 3 June 2020 20: 01
      A couple of times he sat down in Ust-Kamenogorsk. The glasses have been intact since then. Blah blah blah ... "eksperd" ...
      1. Alexey Grigoryev (Alexey Grigoriev) 3 June 2020 20: 12
        He lands at a speed of 300 km per hour, and not at oversound. Blah blah blah ... "eksperd" ...
        1. goncharov.62 Offline goncharov.62
          goncharov.62 (Andrei) 3 June 2020 20: 16
          So I saw it from my window, darling! And in the country there are statistics of departed glasses from it? The question is not in the glasses, alas. It is a little deeper. The question is the imperfection of the engines - he was landing already with almost dry tanks, and his flight was monitored at the very top minute by minute. And then the arguments are glass ...
    2. Bitter Offline Bitter
      Bitter (Gleb) 4 June 2020 00: 11
      ... the rumble stood, even the glass in the houses burst ...

      Did you work there as a glazier, according to requests from Aeroflot? It can be understood that information is first hand. wink
  3. bear040 Offline bear040
    bear040 3 June 2020 19: 54
    The Tu-144 failed because it was entrusted to the design of the Tupolev Design Bureau ... Not only was Tupolev himself far from a saint and very stubborn, as evidenced by the numerous Tu-104 disasters that happened due to his personal fault, he also pushed the transfer of the project The Tu-144 group, led by his son, who had no experience at that time for such a complex project ... If the Tu-144 project were transferred to the Myasishchev Design Bureau, or Sukhoi, I am sure this plane would still fly ... Sukhoi Design Bureau there was a T-4 missile carrier, on the basis of which it was quite possible to make a passenger plane ... Myasishchev Design Bureau had a perfectly suitable M-50 bomber, on the basis of which a completely reliable passenger aircraft could also be launched.
    1. nov_tech.vrn Offline nov_tech.vrn
      nov_tech.vrn (Michael) 3 June 2020 21: 53
      Supersonic planes were noisy, but they were not killed by design flaws, but because such a plane was not mastered beyond the puddle. And so they adopted standards for airports that Concord did not fit into, so the European plane lost its main market, where, thanks to the time of flight, it had its own iron niche. Economically, supersonic driving was not profitable. On flights to the USSR, the Tu-144 was also unprofitable and, due to the lack of demand on international airlines, the project was closed. Of course, the well-known disaster also played a role.
    2. michael Offline michael
      michael (michael) 4 June 2020 00: 27
      T-4 was never completed, made several flights. Well, look at his midsection, even if the fuselage is freed from the fuel tanks, in a row you get 2, maybe 3 seats, i.e. there will be fewer passengers than in the An-24. Well, and what is the range without fuselage tanks, is there, unlike the Tu-144, a thinner wing, a deltoid, without capacious caissons?
      1. Don36 Offline Don36
        Don36 (Don36) 4 June 2020 04: 49
        The Tu-104 was made on the basis of the Tu-16 bomber and nothing, the passengers were placed ... If Tupolev was less stupid and listened more to test pilots, and there would be no such disasters with him ...
    3. Binder Online Binder
      Binder (Miron) 4 June 2020 20: 49
      Quote: bear040
      Tu-144 failed because it was entrusted to design Tupolev Design Bureau.

      Tupolev Design Bureau has long had the experience of pirated copying of foreign aircraft, and in record time, on the instructions of Stalin, the Tu-4, a copy of the American B-29, was released at the time.
  4. michael Offline michael
    michael (michael) 4 June 2020 00: 22
    The article is completely illiterate, as are the comments. The main mistake in the design of the Tu-144 is that it was made not according to the usual semi-monocoque design, like Concord, with a frame and riveted-glue connection of the skin, but according to the technology positioned in front of the party leadership as super-advanced - milled duralumin brackets were hung on the frame panels. The technology has been tested on the Tupolev Design Bureau, you can google it. But what is suitable for a disposable military product, for a passenger liner, where safety and economy matter, is not suitable in principle. The Central Committee of the CPSU set Tupolev the task of surpassing the Concord in order to fly faster and higher, its cruising speed was about 20% higher, i.e. entered the speed range where aerodynamic heating takes place. Well, since energy costs are equal to the square of the speed, if he had the same engines as Concord, he would have consumed fuel one and a half times more per kilometer. Due to heating, the bolts and panels played, in addition to disturbing the geometry of the aircraft from high-speed pressure, there were fuel leaks in flight from the wing coffer tanks, well, over time, depressurization is inevitable, the sealant ages and dries out. In such a situation, disaster is just a matter of time. Airframe assembly using this technology was carried out using torque wrenches, with a control of the tightening torque of each bolt, there are several thousand of them, then each must be controlled during operation. In general, the designers at the Design Bureau received orders and state prizes and dropped the drawings to the serial plant in Voronezh - guys, do it, and we will ask. At the factory, in addition to having to design a salon, toilets and all the stuffing from scratch, they made about 2.5 thousand changes to the drawings. The chief designer of the plant Sokolov went to Tupolev, they had a long conversation about optimizing the interaction of the serial plant with design bureaus, the latter returned to the plant as the head of the multiplying center. In general, the stupid program turned out, a lot of money was wasted. In my youth I had the good fortune to climb it, I didn’t make an impression, the cabin is narrow, like the Tu-134, but longer and with tiny windows, it’s extremely uncomfortable. It rattled lightly, but no windows were flying out, I can testify, by this parameter it was not much noisier than the MiG-25, somewhere on the same level as the Tu-22M. As for the old Tupolev - when even on the Tu-104 pilots told him that this product had all the problems with handling from the Tu-16 and therefore it was dangerous to carry passengers on it, he replied that the plane was good, they just don’t know how to fly it to fly. Well, the fact that, like Yakovlev, broke the transfer of his chair to his son, mediocrity, says a lot.
  5. Sergey Klyushev Offline Sergey Klyushev
    Sergey Klyushev (Sergey Klyushev) 4 June 2020 20: 27
    Rave. Flights began earlier than the competitor. Tu's maximum thrust was higher than that of Concord. Cruising speed is higher and landing speed is not 300 km / h, but lower. And so on and so forth. Operation has been discontinued due to low profitability. Ticket for 80 rubles. in those years not everyone could afford. In general, authors need to learn materiel.
  6. Egor 7b7 Offline Egor 7b7
    Egor 7b7 25 June 2020 08: 18
    American edition of The National Interest.

    You can not read further.