Russian DPLA Tupolev Voron


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12 August 2006
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Hi Friends,

I am search Photos, pictures and tecnical pecifications the Russian DPLA Tupolev Voron.

Thank you in advance.

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Length: 13.06m
Wing Span: 5.08m
Height: 2.08m
Wing area: 37 sq m
Launch weight: 6,300kg
Launch weight with solid propellant motor: 14,120kg
Empty weight: 3,450kg
Fuel: 2,850kg
Speed: 3,500-3,800km/h
Range: 4,600km
Altitude: 23,000-26,400m

I have a decent article from Air Fleet magazine, can post a summary.

Thank you overscan!!

you can post a summary the article from Air Fleet magazine, or scanner the article??.

Thank you in advance!!

It was a Russian copycat, to say more correctly.
It was closely related to a nearly intact D-21 recovered from Kazakhstan in 1969. In April 1970 the D-21 (designated Object "R" for secrecy) was transferred to Tupolev for evaluation. After an exhaustive evaluation, Tupolev developed a project (Voron) rather similar to D-21, using a Tu-95 as a launch platform.

It didn't make it to production, obviously, but it probably fed technology into Tupolev's drone designs.
There was also a proposed Tu-160 design that would have acted as a Voron carrier. Bear in mind that this was an iteration of Tupolev's original Tu-144 inspired Tu-160 design.


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Leonid Kulikov & Vladimir Rigmant

Here narrower several years in the the domestic to literature appear the publications, dedicated to the program of creation in THE USSR in the beginning 70- X the years of Soviet analogue to American super-fast pilotless reconnaissance aircraft D -21. In detail, in the book “Americans in Russia” of this the small section, which, is dedicated to theme it is appropriate to bring without the changes: “Lockheed D -21”.

In 1966 g. began the flight tests UAV single-time use Lockheed D -21. Executed according to diagram “tailless aircraft” with the the frontal air duct and by direct-flow ramjet Of Marquard RJ43, D-21 it was designed for the flight at a velocity, which corresponds to the number Of M=4. In the construction of reconnaissance aircraft the radio-transparent and radar transmitter materials widely were used and other means, which decrease its radar distinctness and infrared radiation.

Starting D -21 was accomplished by a mass about 5400 kgf from the carrier aircraft SR -71 and B-52. In 1969 g. in the territory of Mongolia (on others data, in Central Asia) was found pilotless reconnaissance aircraft D -21, which completed successful landing after the consumption of fuel. He obtained in THE USSR is nickname “black cat”, apparently, after the colour of its coating.

They say, that with the attempt to evacuate machine during the external suspension of helicopter it began to strongly swing and, to avoid emergency, “black cat” it was necessary to throw out. As a result D -21 obtained stronger damages than with the planning landing. That not it is less, reconnaissance aircraft they evacuated from the point of impact, having preliminarily dismantled to the aggregates. The novelty of aviation equipment they supplied in NII $$RTNII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE VVS, and then transmitted on [MMZ] “experience”, where the hearth by management a. a. of Tupolev it thoroughly was studied. However, to duplicate not steels, although it is possible that a number of the overseas technical solutions was used in the domestic industry. Detailed acquaintance with the the pilotless by reconnaissance aircraft it showed that D -21 does not have special advantages over the domestic machine of analogous designation “hawk”, and the report with the results of studying this model of foreign technology they put to the archive ".

In 2003 g. the publication on this theme was in the periodical “aviation and cosmonautics yesterday, today, tomorrow… “ in a series “under the signs ANTA and TU”, it was mentioned about this event and in the periodical “the wings Native lands " in the article on D -21. However, now, on the basis documents and the recollections of the participants program, appeared the possibility to reconstruct the course of events in the part of works on MMZ

“Experience” (at present - JOINT STOCK COMPANY “Tupolev”). In to its basis - recollection of the chief designer OF JOINT STOCK COMPANY “Tupolev” on BPLA Leonid Tikhonovich Kulikov, the long years of that actively participated in to development, to finishing, tests and accompaniment in a series and in the operation [BPLA] of types Tu-123, Tu-139, Tu-141, Tu-143, Tu-243 and Tu-300, and in the last decade of that heading works on to this direction in JOINT STOCK COMPANY “Tupolev”. Under it they brought by management to the active operation complex Tu-243 tested multipurpose [BPLA] Tu-300. In the beginning 70- X of years a. a. Tupolev was designated l. T. Kulikov by coordinator according to the study program D -21. This allows for it it is reliable after the decades and it is objective to describe about events 30- of summer remoteness, connected with the investigations “captured” D -21.

Thus, word to a direct participant in those events.

“During April of 1970 g. our OKB charged somewhat uncommon, but sufficiently interesting and the significant work - joint with a number OKB and the institutes of industry and ministry the defence of the investigation of American BLA D -21.

At that time we in OKB nothing knew about this article never in the documentation they met designation D -21.

According to the unofficial information, at the end 1969 g. in the steppes of Kazakhstan found by that lying on the earth, outwardly practically not injured damaged, despite to the absence of the special landing means, the pilotless aircraft of the uncommon aerodynamic layout. LA had black painting, for which immediately was called unofficial name “black of crows”. After the inspection
military specialists recognised that “the black of crows” is of definite interest not only because of the fact that it contrived to fall on our territory not identified by the means PVO $$RTPVO - AIR DEFENCE, but also on many construction-engineering solutions, used by potential enemy for his creation.

As a result was made the decision to evacuate it on territory of one of the institutes VVS. For D -21 the helicopter of the corresponding load capacity arrived flying, successfully hooked it and detached away from the earth. But with transport occurred unforeseen: to the definite velocity of the field that of helicopter with so uncommon a load are everything it was normal; however, with its increase in D -21 it began to manifest its “flying” qualities and to fly upward. It began to properly stir helicopter with the load. Pilot did not clearly expect helicopter this quickness from the suspension and did not begin to risk as machine and by crew, after making the decision to emergency throw out “black crow”.

Now D -21 already twice completed rigid, the not planned touchdown and, naturally,acquired still more than damages. But also afterward these troubles, when it they supplied to us in OKB, was explained that it is possible accurately to determine its initial dimensions, aerodynamic layout, to investigate construction, and basic aggregates, besides section with [razvedoborudovaniem], were preserved sufficiently well. Everything that it was in this section D -21, as it is placed, destroyed the demolition charge of self-destructor at the moment of the first embarcation of reconnaissance aircraft on our territory. The special order of the chairman of interdepartmental commission with S OF THE USSR determined the circle of works on the study object “R” (this designation officially was obtained D -21) and program was affirmed.

Main enterprise for theme “R” was designated our OKB.

In the operation with “the trophy”, together with the visual inspection, weighed, measured, drew units, the aggregates and systems, into laboratory investigated equipment components, studied the physico mechanical and chemical properties materials, were determined those radar absorbent properties of the elements of glider, evaluated the originality of constructive solutions and technologies. Calculations made it possible to estimate the flight-performance data and other technical characteristics of American reconnaissance aircraft.

In our OKB to the works on “the American” they drew specialists with the large experience development LA of a similar class. By that time they after the arms had design, testing and introduction into a series of the pilotless reconnaissance complex Tu-123 ([DBR]-1 “Hawk”), work on its completely that recovered modification Tu-139 ([DBR]-2 “hawk -2”). Both machine by the, being immediate strategic by reconnaissance aircraft, were executed their missions in the prolonged cruising flights, corresponding [M]=2,5-2,7, so that by object “R” were occupied specialists, who knew sense in systems and the capable of estimating, of thoroughly studying and of using the newest American operation time in the region of high-speed reconnaissance [BPLA]. In the same period we experienced and prepared for the transfer in a series and for the armament of army tactical subsonic pilotless completely recovered reconnaissance aircraft Tu-143, they projected operational-tactical Tu-141.

Thus, after the arms of specialists and the association OF OKB there was the necessary experience on [BPLA] different designation, and it it was on the forces to be dismantled at the American “miracle of technology”, in literal sense fallen down to our head. On to the separate directions of work they headed:

V.A. Andreev - heat shielding and thermal

load; A. i. of shackles - on entire complex

equipment; D. A. Antonov - REO the questions RAP;

V. I. Bliznjuk - overall design, the determination OF [LTKH], combat employment;

I. l. Of Golovin - construction materials;

S. a. the whig [dorchik] - technology of manufacture;

N.T. Kozlov - the construction of glider;

Malyshev - propellant system;

B. A. Peshekhonov - materials of heat shielding and the nonmetallic elements of construction;

G. a. Sterlin - cooling system;

Yu. K. Khrjapov - system and equipment components

Yu. S. Shumilov - control system.

In the works a number of others participated the specialists OF OKB for single systems and to aggregates, and also many specialists of the adjacent enterprises for concrete systems (power installation, control system and the rest).

Organisation and the coordination of investigations on to theme “R”, and so connexion with others by enterprises it was entrusted with the management OKB to me. It should be noted that the investigation of American BPLA they used great interest in all specialists. They worked very actively. Complex questions decided clearly, operationally and, as a rule, for several hours.

However, which was uncommon in this LA, which, objectively saying, did cause the lively interest of all, who were drawn to this work?
First of all, his basic [LTKH]. According to preliminary calculations, we estimated its velocity flight into 3600 km/h, ceilings into 25.000 m, flying ranges in 4500 km with starting mass 6000kg. our “Jastreb”, transmitted into a series in 1964 g., in ceiling and flying range it approached by these given, but throughout the velocity and the starting mass D, lost.

In the second place, uncommon aerodynamic layout. “Bobtailed aircraft” with the thin delta wing of large sweepback, order 75°. Machine was executed on the the integral to the diagram, with which fuselage and wing were the single permanent aggregate, form and construction of which they ensured high perfection LA as a whole.

Thirdly, on D -21 there were many original and of the technically substantiated for this specific objectives design and technological the solutions by heat shielding of aggregates, units, sections and routes. Thus, for instance, the basic aggregates of the system of control and navigation in the the propellant tanks constantly they were found in the kerosene. In the nose section of aircraft was located pressurised compartment equipment, from below - the rescue section, in which was located reconnaissance and other special equipment.

Fourthly, technology of manufacture and assembly of glider was sufficient simple and did not require the special preparation for production.

In spite of application in the construction of the glider of titanium heavy in the processing, basic elements connected with the aid of the spot welding overlap. Glider assembled from the large-dimension aggregates, autonomously prepared; therefore general erecting fixture presented basic difficulty in the equipment.

Construction over the external surface had “it is far from aviation” form. Is many unevennesses, steps, which come out by several millimeters, and the rest outwardly welded and assembled glider in the metallic execution without the external coating appeared very unusually for aviation eye. But further, before the installation equipment, entire external surface of glider covered with inorganic type porous mass with thickness of up to 10 mm, and then - elastic by a layer of film.

Fifthly, this wide application on D -21 nonmetallic materials. Special impression remained from the elements of heat shielding fuselage. It was a layer of the elastic the porous mass with a thickness of 8-10 mm, which consists of glass hollow microspheres with diameter 60-120 microns, connected together with the lung by inorganic composition. The high heat-resistant film on top covered heat insulation black colour.

As far as radioelectronics is concerned, in spite of the self-destructor, which operated in the section, our specialists in the fragments to the apparatus obtained a certain representation about it. In of detail, with the high portion of probability it is possible to confirm that into the composition of photo-equipment entered the panoramic aerial camera for the multi-route photographing of the earth's surface with the aid of the being rocked mirror (tentatively focal length of objective - 400-600 mm, the pull-in range of the angle of view - on the order of 2,5 N).

During the study the attention of specialists in essence was accentuated to:

- basic [LTKH], to layout and combat employment;

- equipment and, first of all, [PNK] and special-reconnaissance equipment;

- construction materials;

- thermal loads and thermal insulation materials;

- technology of the manufacture of single aggregates and to their assembly.

Specifically, on these questions in essence the specialists OF OKB worked and were prepared 2TGP 0N news story for the report, their [soglasuja] by cooperating enterprises and NII $$RTNII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE. Before the completion of report they decided to report and to finally discuss all themes with Andrey [Nikolaevichem] Tupolevs. They were prepared thoroughly for the reports to it, with a large quantity of footnote, which gave there is much new useful information. First report on basic [LTKH] and on LA itself Tupolev made a. a. This it was the very good report, which gave the general concept on the object “R”, its special features and technical possibilities. The composition of those being present during the considerations in it was strictly [reglamentirovan] and it was personally determined by a. a. by the Tupolevs. Depending on theme the appropriate specialists were selected. On each collection there was not more than 8-10 man. With me it was brought to be present on all reports; therefore in the memory they remained sufficiently the bright moments of considerations. All considerations on to theme they occurred in the office a. n. of Tupolev.

In the course of their a. n. Tupolev was not only by the owner of its office, but also active by the leader of the process of considerations and the preparation of the report of our specialists (by the way, to it went then 82-[j] year). Since the beginning of the report it it occupied the pose of the [poludremljushchego] man, after supporting by one hand chin after squinting eye. It seemed that it not how much disturbs that, about which they speak. But this was deceptive impression. A. n. Tupolev was located in of a constant readiness and as tiger on the hunting, it is ready it was at any moment attack victim. In its to lighthearted pose it was located exactly to that second, until everything went normally: the information it was on business, corresponded poznavatelnomu content it was useful.

As soon as someone moved away from the theme, it reported clear or unessential components, Andrey Nikolayevich here interrupted speaker and he made for began modest observation. And if everything are further it went normally, it occupied its initial pose.

At the termination of the report a. n. Tupolev compulsorily requested several participants in the consideration to express his considerations, and so to Potikhonku began small discussion. Afterward what a. n. Tupolev compulsorily summed up the sums, noting positive constructive and uncommon solutions, i.e., those moments, on which we had to be concentrated, also, into the distance [nejshem] to use in its work. It very clearly saw and stimulated the attention specialists on new constructive nonstandard solutions, technologies and materials.

It did not fear to speak, that do the Americans have it is better, and that we should make tomorrow precisely thus.

It very highly estimated basic [LTKH] D -21 - the combination of flight speed is more than [M]=3, flying ranges are more than 4000 c.c. with the starting mass only is more ' T. the main thing, on what it turned attention - low mass and dimensions of equipment and purposeful load ([PNK], radio equipment, [razvedoborudovanie] the rest), exactly those most unhealthy moments, which so frequently impeded the development of domestic aviation engineering.

Very uncommonly passed the report s. a. Vigdorchika, our chief technologist, largest specialist in this region not only in OKB, but and in the entire branch. Specifically, in the the technological plan D -21 it was in many respects innovative article, in it there was the mass of the uncommon solutions as simple, so complex. First of all, the apparatus it was made from titanium, it they distinguished the uncommon external coating, effective heat shielding, the large-dimension aggregates, whose manufacture was complicated, and the process of the final assembly it simplified. Glider was designed by high load ratio per unit of area, with the set of original design decisions. And all this it had to be connected not only in the design study, but also to be to economical, it is sufficient effective, and also reliable in the production.

On this as to me it seemed it had to be concentrated by s. a. Of [vigdorchik]. But it began report according to standard diagram as lecture for the students: technological articulation, joints, building-slip economy, without being concentrated on the special features and the uniqueness of technology of manufacture and assembly of this LA.

Literally through several minutes a. n. Tupolev “woke up” and said: “Seeds! Give more concretely, to special feature, your outputs”. Vigdorchik, after being disconcerted, continued narration in the same spirit.

A. n. Tupolev by its known shrill by falsetto, already with the evident notes of irritation, it repeated: “Seeds! Give on business - here not fools, and the basis of technology of the aircraft construction to us to teach is not necessary ". S. a. Vigdorchik, still that more disconcerted, continued to report,practically anything changing. After several minutes a. n. Tupolev arose, he matched up Vigdorchiku it sufficiently politely and intelligible asked it to sit down itself began to report on the theme. To it several minutes was sufficient, so that everything is clear and it is clear to describe about the special features and the essence of technology of manufacture D -21, to focus attention on the solutions, which must be taken for the armament.

Those being present were struck by the fact as it was, after glancing at the common drawing of glider, to immediately estimate technological aspects and briefly, intelligible, in the components to express its point of view on this problem. To me it is thought, a. n. Tupolev rapidly read drawings, correctly they were evaluated, recovered entire new, useful, and then it could simply and intelligible bring to audience. All this spoke about the clarity of thinking general, about its high technical to culture, enormous, in spite of years, the creative potential of leader and engineer. On me, the for the first time participating in a similar consideration wide circle of technical questions,

the enormous erudition of this brilliant man produced strong impression. It very well, competently examined practically all questions of aircraft construction. It was added impression, that he intuitively felt everything basic constructive solutions and approaches to to them in LA, was immediately isolated that which noteworthy, and here he recommended, that to make with this priceless information. But, most important, did it this all quietly, without emotions, frequently with the very “bright” revolutions, pouring by them its narration in essence for the cluster of words. Everything in it was simple, even the most complex problems.

Andrey Nikolayevich approved our transactions and it permitted materials placing into the general report.

Was as a result comprised “the report of the investigations American pilotless reconnaissance aircraft "/code “R”/, prepared of the specialist mi of our OKB together with TsAGI, TSIAM, VIAM, LEAHS, NIAT, MIEA and NII $$RTNII - SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH INSTITUTE MO. Signed it design project leader A. N. Tupolev, and affirmed the chairman of the interdepartmental commission D. A. Kozarev.

In the report there was given following conclusion:

American distant pilotless supersonic reconnaissance aircraft possesses the high by the technical flight characteristics:

- velocity - 3500-3800 km/h;

- height -23.000-27.000 m;

- distance - 4000-4600 km;

- starting mass - 6100 kg.

Its design and technological execution - at the high technological level, is characterised by perfection, and also application a number of the effective, but simple technological processes on the construction materials (titanium) and the external coatings.

The special features of reconnaissance aircraft are of significant interest for the domestic industry: - the reconnaissance equipment has the limited composition and can decide only special tasks of reconnaissance;

- the level of the development of domestic industry gives the possibility to reproduce reconnaissance aircraft with analogous LTKH.

The investigations of American reconnaissance aircraft were completed on this. They helped us to solve number of questions concerning the articles of the development OKB. Further by the resolution of the government of the country in March 1971 g. and by indication [MAP] in AP of relay 1971 g.

to our OKB with the participation of another preliminary [prijatij] and organisations [MAP], MRP and MOP they assigned the development of the preliminary design of the distant pilotless supersonic reconnaissance aircraft (code “Voron”). It confirmed the possibility to create in USSR LA of the type of American reconnaissance aircraft D -21, but with the wider technically mi by possibilities as on the the technical flight given, so in composition [razvedoborudovanija].

Besides the panoramic aerial camera, on to the board of our machine was established the equipment RTR with the wide trapping range and registration of all radio-emitting means of the serviceman designation. Panoramic aerial camera also possessed higher indices as on to the width of pull-in range, so on that solving ability. We had more for that period the high level in the developments of the optical the means of air and space reconnaissance ".

As the illustration of capacity and high the quality of the work OF OKB, other enterprises and organisations of domestic OPK on this theme let us give some materials on the project the distant pilotless reconnaissance aircraft “Voron”.

Distant supersonic pilotless reconnaissance aircraft “Voron” and carrier aircraft, from which it it starts, was complex the strategic and operational aerial reconnaissance.

By its vital difference from other means aerial reconnaissance (including promising the strategic manned reconnaissance aircraft) appears significant superiority over them along the total radius operation and the high efficiency of overcoming BPLA “Voron” of the systems of potential enemy.

Possessing high detail and reliability of intelligence data, and also by the possibility to conduct reconnaissance not only into the serviceman, but also into the peaceful period, BPLA “Voron” it was possible operationally to use for refining the data of space reconnaissance. Possibility to select the flight course of carrier aircraft out of the zones the operation of the air defence systems of enemy and large flying range BPLA ensured mobility and variety of the possible the immediate strategic directions of the combat application.

Pilotless reconnaissance aircraft “Voron”, ensuring aerial reconnaissance practically in any it gave by the special features, which limited its possibilities. Use of the panoramic- cadre aerial camera it made it possible to conduct photographing objects only in the day time in PMU, and RTR gave the comparatively low capacity information. Absence in industry into that the time of the special reconnaissance equipment, which ensures effective air all-weather reconnaissance from high altitudes, it did not make it possible completely to realise in that period high LTKH “Voron”. This was one of reasons, why program did not be further developed. Furthermore, the constantly improved means of the space reconnaissance was brought into question the expediency of the development of strategic means on the base of aviation media. Nevertheless, it was noted, that the creation of such a LA in THE USSR can become with significant step in the building of supersonic [BPLA], and also in the mastery of the domestic by the aviation of high supersonic flight speeds and the creation of preconditions for the transition to the hypersonic speeds.

Proposed complex of strategic and operational reconnaissance was included:

- the distant supersonic pilotless reconnaissance aircraft “Voron”;

- carrier aircraft [BPLA] (during the first stage was provided for aircraft Tu-95K with the modernised regular suspension system, in the second stage - promising Tu-160). Together with air were evaluated the possibilities also of the ground-based start, which they recognised the inadvisable because of the unwieldiness and low maneuverability complex, which decreased the combat capabilities systems raised as a whole its vulnerability;

- the means of ground-based engineering technical support;

- the means of method and information processing.

[BPLA] “Voron” functionally included:

- glider;

- the march and starting power plants


- onboard aircraft systems;

- onboard system for navigation and control

by aeronautical complex and by astroinertial system;

- the recoverable container with the set of reconnaissance equipment in the versions of change instrument container with the panoramic- cadre camera or with the equipment of general [RTR].

Basic technical flight given

[BPLA] “Voron”

Length, m 13,06
Span of wing, m 5,08
Height, m 2,08
Wing area, [m]2 37,0
Starting mass, kgf 6300
Starting mass with PRD, kgf 14120
Mass of empty aircraft, kgf 3450
Mass of fuel, kgf 2850
Flight speed, km/h 3500-3800
Flying range, km 4600
Flight altitude, m 23.000-26.400
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The entire story is rather astonishing. But there is more. Remember, Lockheed was on steath since the U-2 early days and the D-21 was part of the path toward HAVE BLUE.
Hence the Soviets got an early stealth drone... yet they still didn't cared about P. Ufimtsev work ?!
What I mean is that lost D-21 could have derailed Lockheed getting their hands on that infamous report that kickstarted the stealth craze, circa 1971... whatif they retained it ?
If you say so, I'm ready to believe it.

So, do we know whether Tupolev 123 / 139 benefited from Ufimtsev theories ? or was the timing all wrong ? lack of supercomputing capabilities ? just being curious...
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