What is remarkable about the project of the Russian heavy aircraft "Elephant"


To date, the heaviest and most cargo-lifting aircraft in Russia is the Soviet An-124 Ruslan, whose production base is Ukraine. However, the need to update the aircraft fleet and switch to domestic products is long overdue.


In 2015, Kiev refused to cooperate with Moscow in the field of aircraft construction. It was not possible to establish the production of An-124 Ruslan in Russia, which prompted the Russians to independently resolve the issue. So in 2016 a very remarkable project appeared under the code "Elephant", which is being developed by the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute. N.E. Zhukovsky (TsAGI) by order of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The new heavy aircraft should be based on modern of technologies and work experience in transport aviation. In 2017, a concept project was presented with the initial appearance and characteristics of a promising transport vehicle. "Elephant" will be able to take on board 150-180 tons and deliver cargo at a distance of 4,9 thousand km to 7,7 thousand km at a speed of 850 km / h.

Subsequently, TsAGI regularly published reports and reported on the phased progress of the project. For example, about carrying out purging of an aircraft model in wind tunnels, as a result of which recommendations were given to designers who were to be embodied in the technical part of the project.

In January 2019, an improved aerodynamic model of the aircraft appeared, designed for research and various tests (pictured above). In November 2019, TsAGI announced the start of work on aerodynamic blowing of a scale model of the climbing apparatus. In March 2020, the first cycle of aerodynamic tests was completed there.

But the final appearance of the aircraft may change several times, however, not cardinally. The "Elephant" should be built according to a normal aerodynamic configuration, have a high-sided wing of a caisson structure of large aspect ratio and a single-fin tail.

Almost the entire length of the fuselage of the aircraft under development should be occupied by the cargo compartment. The giant will have a bow and aft loading ramps with pressurized functions, as well as a second deck for transporting additional "payload" and people. The "Elephant" should be equipped with four powerful by-pass turbojet engines. The glider will be made using composite materials and special metal alloys.


Fuselage "Elephant" in its layout and design will resemble "Ruslan", but this is only at first glance. It will have a cross section formed by the intersection of circular arcs. Due to this, it will be possible to keep the width of the cargo compartment floor at the required level, while the ceiling height will grow to 5,2 m (with the lifting of the load by the crane beam up to 4,01 m).

There are two configurations of the cargo compartment with two different fuselage widths. In the first one - 5,3 m wide for transportation of standard containers and pallets. In the second - with a width of 6,4 m for the transportation of various equipment with its two-row arrangement. The cockpit will be located in the forward fuselage, above the cargo hold behind the lifting fairing. Behind her, it is proposed to equip a room for a replacement crew. There should also be a room for personnel accompanying the cargo. The pressure in rooms with people will be maintained at a higher level than in the cargo hold.

The wing of the "Elephant" should have a sweep in ¼ chords of 27,5 °, an aspect ratio of 10,34 m and a narrowing of 4 m. The relative thickness is from 10 to 14%. The total wingspan will be 87-88 m. It will have folding tips, and the trailing edge is equipped with mechanization. This will simplify the operation from the runway to 2,5-3 km.

Power units should be developed PD-35 with a take-off thrust up to 35000 kgf. They will be installed on pylons under the wing. The first prototype of the aircraft engine should appear by 2023. The development is promised to be completed in 2025, and mass production will begin in 2028.

The landing gear of the aircraft will be in the form of two bow steerable supports and 14 main ones, 7 on each side. The design of the struts should provide amortization, as well as a change in ground clearance, including the inclination of the aircraft in the desired direction.

The overall dimensions, weight and other characteristics of the aircraft depend on what kind of cargo it will have. According to calculations, an empty aircraft with a "narrow" fuselage should have a mass of 214,31 tons, with a "wide" one - 222,3 tons. The payload mass is determined at 150 tons. The fuel reserve is 124-125 tons. The maximum mass for two aircraft variants reaches 490,2 tons (with a narrow cabin) and 499,14 tons (with a wide one).

Aircraft development is a lengthy process. A number of proposals still need detailed elaboration. Only then will the project be able to move to the stage of creating the first flying prototype. The Elephant project is of great interest, therefore it will develop further, there is no doubt about it.
  • Photos used: TsAGI
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  1. boriz Offline boriz
    boriz (boriz) 5 December 2020 15: 12
    +2
    "It was not possible to start production of An-124 Ruslan in Russia, ..."

    Do not need. Ruslan's plane is not very young, during his life too many new things have appeared.
    1. orange Offline orange
      orange (ororpore) 6 December 2020 10: 52
      -1
      It was not possible to start production of An-124 "Ruslan" in Russia

      And who tried to set up production? Where does this information come from? There were conversations in the media, but this does not mean that there were attempts to establish production, it was just conversations.
      Such words have a shameful subtext! They said they tried to establish it, but it did not work, they could not, there was no competence .... And such unfounded statements are provocation and disinformation. Where are the buttons, put a minus to the author?
  2. Dmitry S. Offline Dmitry S.
    Dmitry S. (Dmitry Sanin) 5 December 2020 15: 32
    +2
    And the engine? Where is the engine?
  3. Dmitry Donskoy Offline Dmitry Donskoy
    Dmitry Donskoy (Dmitry Donskoy) 5 December 2020 15: 45
    0
    Its uniqueness is that it is a project) one thing is a project, another is the production technology of certain parts.
  4. beeper Offline beeper
    beeper 5 December 2020 16: 45
    0
    My opinion is that it is just such a traditional "Ruslan" aerodynamic scheme (and even with a single-fin tail unit, initially flawed, because it does not allow "to carry" unique "single" loads on the hump!), Used for a multipurpose " truck of a "obviously limited" series (maximum - several dozen cars) ", the stock of" further development "is very small and, by and large, it is unpromising (if expressed in generalized" philosophical categories ", then this" quantity WILL NOT grow into quality " !) ??! what
    So, (IMHO) re-mastering, in the "captivity of stereotypes" An-124 ÷ 225 and S-5 ÷ 17, the lost former "competencies", Russian aircraft designers should now think and work for the future, lay the foundation for the future, think innovatively. it is unconventional, to put forward advanced concepts and not be afraid to make reasonable adjustments even to these "ossified" current "future projects of the past," so that later you do not have to sadly drag along the tail of the world aircraft industry with your "novelties", trying to "quantitatively" "catch up and overtake "qualitatively" competitors who have gone ahead! yes
    А at this stage, post-regressive "getting up... from the lying position of a ten-year-old 3/4 corpse ", one can only rejoice at the signs of recovery, albeit at an approximately" Ruslan-dreamy (mriya-dream) "level, of Russian competencies in heavy transport aircraft construction! good
    With genuine Interest, impatience and sincere Hope, I look forward to the successful completion of the design and construction, the soonest factory roll-out of the finished aircraft and the successful first test flight of the new Russian "Elephant", in order to enjoy this Aviation Event together with the Russians! yes
    1. faiver Offline faiver
      faiver (Andrei) 5 December 2020 19: 11
      +2
      not allowing to "carry on the hump" unique "single" cargo!

      - I would not particularly worry, they made a two-keel Mriya on the basis of Ruslan, and before that Atlas was blinded from Myasishchev's bomber, so they will make one or two specialized aircraft on the basis of the finished Elephant ... hi
      1. beeper Offline beeper
        beeper 5 December 2020 20: 16
        +1
        Quote: faiver
        not allowing to "carry on the hump" unique "single" cargo!

        - I would not particularly worry, they made a two-keel Mriya on the basis of Ruslan, and before that Atlas was blinded from Myasishchev's bomber, so they will make one or two specialized aircraft on the basis of the finished Elephant ... hi

        hi I know that the tail unit can then be redone with an additional "budget cut"! After all, even in his first "design place", he faced such a deliberate "laying of planned ratsuh" into the future "product" and their "contractual distribution among the departments of the design bureau"! request
        As well as I know that , on occasion of a forced necessity, The "reworked design" of the aircraft is by no means as "complete" and organic as the original one!
        I must note that the An-225 "Mriya" is a completely new aircraft, and not a "converted" An-124 "Ruslan"! With all the resulting "costs and time"! yes
        Alas, trudging along the track beaten by the Ruslans,
        the current Russian aircraft designers, one way or another, lose sight of the obvious trends in the construction of future "heavy bomber carriers" and "military- civilian transport workers ", and not only them! request
        So skat, handicraft work with "quantity", and not creatively, with "quality", design "development" - well, yes, I understand, the coveted "tit in hand", after all, "better than pie in the sky!" wink
        1. faiver Offline faiver
          faiver (Andrei) 5 December 2020 20: 23
          +4
          not creatively with "quality"

          - why work with quality? "effective managers" pay modestly, without depriving "genius" themselves, there is no ideology in the country, as long as the management has accountants who believe that they are the most important wheel in the cart, so it will be ... hi
          1. beeper Offline beeper
            beeper 5 December 2020 21: 10
            +1
            Quote: faiver
            not creatively with "quality"

            - why work with quality? "effective managers" pay modestly, without depriving "genius" themselves, there is no ideology in the country, as long as the management has accountants who believe that they are the most important wheel in the cart, so it will be ... hi

            hi Well, yes, you are absolutely right!
            This is also according to Rogozin's, completely "blue-eyed", self-righteous "reasoning about salaries in Roscosmos" and public "complaints about the negligent subordinates of the" chief designer "Ilyushin residents" about unexpectedly (for a priori "experienced and competent" Chief Designer !!!) the discovered "constructive overweight" of the military transport Il-112V more than TWO TONS, understood very well! request
        2. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 6 December 2020 18: 46
          +2
          In general, why do we need "Elephant", there is a piece "Mriya", and that is not always loaded. There is still no necessary small aircraft, An-2 is still flying, although it should have replaced this "Anushka" for two generations ... Not to mention medium-haul superjets and others have never "degenerated" so that they can fly serially ... So about what pink elephants are fairy tales from the "rolgozins" ...
          1. beeper Offline beeper
            beeper 6 December 2020 19: 19
            +4
            Quote: Vladimir Tuzakov
            In general, why do we need "Elephant", there is a piece "Mriya", and that is not always loaded. There is still no necessary small aircraft, An-2 is still flying, although it should have replaced this "Anushka" for two generations ... Not to mention medium-haul superjets and others have never "degenerated" so that they can fly serially ... So about what pink elephants are fairy tales from the "rolgozins" ...

            hi So you, Vladimir, probably understand yourself that when designing small aircraft, replacing the short-haul "Annushka", so "you can't cut so much dough" ?!
            "Demand" from designers, "terms" and "conditions" will not be the same as "declare" on a grandiose project of a whole "Elephant", which can be "sawed" for years, saying that "everything is so complicated and ambiguous"! winked
            And after all, they also manage to "promise" and "weld" on the project of the "improved" An-2 for many years, but things are still there!
            There is no one to demand from the rogues for the spent state "kosty" ?!
  5. ODRAP Offline ODRAP
    ODRAP (Alexey) 7 December 2020 00: 43
    -2
    It is noteworthy that the dates were announced.
    PD-35, will go into series production in 2028, and even if it is not shifted to the right, it will first go to the remotorization of Ruslans, the engines of which came out two resources each without proper repair. That was clearly shown by the accident in Novosibirsk.
    However, I'm not sure that the Russian Ruslans live up to the twenty-eighth.
    And the Elephant ... "Russia is the homeland of the elephants" (c)