Russia’s Defense Ministry Discussing Development of VTOL Plane for Advanced Aircraft Carrier
(Source: TASS Defense; published July 20, 2017)
ZHUKOVSKY, Moscow Region --- Russia’s Defense Ministry is currently in talks with aircraft makers to discuss the development of a promising vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane for a future aircraft carrier, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said.

The fighter jet will derive from a group of vertical take-off and landing planes manufactured by the Yakovlev Company, he added.

"The Defense Ministry is planning to launch the construction of an advanced aircraft carrier in the distant future, at the final stage of the 2018-2025 state armament program. Of course, the production of new-generation aircraft will begin by that time," Borisov said at the MAKS 2017 international airshow.

"Today, the Sukhoi Su-33 [NATO reporting name: Flanker-D] and Mikoyan MiG-29 [Fulcrum-D] fighter jets are the basic planes for aircraft carriers, in particular, the ship Admiral Kuznetsov. The Defense Ministry is planning to develop a promising reduced take-off and landing or, probably, vertical take-off and landing plane and we are discussing this issue with aircraft producers," he added.

"The plane will be a derivative of vertical take-off and landing aircraft developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau, which are no longer produced. There are such plans and we are discussing them. The groundwork laid may be used to develop a new plane for aircraft carriers," the deputy defense minister said.

The Yakovlev Design Bureau started developing the Yakovlev Yak-141 (Freestyle) multirole supersonic VTOL fighter jet in the mid-1970s.

The plane performed its first flight in 1987. The Yak-141 aircraft were planned to make part of the air wing of the heavy aircraft carriers, the Novorossiysk, Baku (the future ship Admiral Gorshkov), Tbilisi (currently known as the Admiral Kuznetsov), Riga (the future ship Varyag) and Ulyanovsk.

The Yak-141 plane landed on an aircraft carrier for the first time in 1991. The production of the aircraft was ceased in 2003. -

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Vertical Takeoff Aircraft: Time to Let Go Or Revisit?
(Source: Pravda; posted July 19, 2017)
By Anton Kulikov
Russia's Defense Ministry considers a project to design a vertical takeoff aircraft on the basis of the Yak fighter jet. It is assumed that the aircraft will be used for aircraft carriers. So far, however, there is neither the aircraft nor the aircraft carrier. Plus, there are serious doubts that such an aircraft is needed at all.

According to Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov, aircraft-makers discuss projects to create short take-off and landing aircraft or vertical take-off and landing aerial vehicle. "This will be the continuation of the Yak line of aircraft," deputy defense minister said on the eve of MAKS-2017 airshow.

According to him, such aircraft will be designed for a new aircraft-carrying vessel, the construction of which will start as early as in 2025. Currently, the Russian navy has only one aircraft-carrier - the Admiral Kuznetsov, which currently undergoes repairs. Yuri Borisov also said that the construction of the new ship of this class will begin when the "new generation of aircraft" appears.

In the Soviet Union, it was the Yakovlev Design Bureau that was developing vertical take-off and landing aircraft. The Yak-36 was the first such aircraft (tested in 1996). Afterwards, the Yak-141 followed, although the new aircraft was being developed at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The project was shelved, although the Yak-141 was demonstrated at the air show in Farnborough in 1992, unlike the Yak-201, which remained only on paper.

Clearly, vertical takeoff aircraft are convenient primarily because they do not need a runway for takeoff and landing. However, such aircraft require utmost piloting skills from pilots. In addition, vertical takeoff aircraft are vehicles of lower payload and smaller flight range, let alone the fact that they consume more fuel and require more expensive maintenance.

On the one hand, the work to build this kind of aircraft evidences a high level of technological development of a country. On the other hand, given the above drawbacks, the game may not be worth the candle.

Military expert Victor Murakhovsky said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that the Yak-141 project was closed because no vertical take-off aircraft can be comparable to conventional aircraft in terms of efficiency and performance.

According to the expert, the USA designed a variant of such an aircraft on the basis of the state-of-the-art F-35 fighter for naval use. Yet, the new aircraft was considerably inferior to the conventional F-35.

"One can't fool physics. A conventional aircraft provides lift speed due to long takeoff or the aerodynamic quality of the wing. If these aerodynamic qualities are removed to ensure lift due to the jet engine thrust, one will have to either increase fuel reserve to maintain an acceptable flight range or reduce the combat load. These are conventional laws of physics that were discovered during the times of Isaac Newton," the expert concluded.

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