Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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Centenary of Russian Civil Aviation: TsAGI for Territorial Coherence

9 February 2023

The centenary of Russian civil aviation is celebrated during rough times. At the same time, however, they stimulate economic growth, business initiatives and research-and-technology potential. Despite the unprecedented pressure by the Western competitors, Russian aviation industry remains today a most high-tech industry in the world. A strategic task today is to shift rapidly to domestic aviation technologies. Development programs of MC-21 and SSJ-100, the national aircraft industrial leaders, are implemented prodigiously; the destination network is kept and expanded; and airline fleets are replenished with new aircraft and rotorcraft.

High results in civil aircraft engineering are achieved successfully due to intensive work of defense enterprises and national research centers. Mobility, the readiness to answer the newly emerging global challenges, and taking prompt and right decisions allow the state to achieve a new technological level and economic independence. A major role in strengthening national industrial strength is played by TsAGI (a part of NRC “Zhukovsky Institute”), the world’s largest center for aviation science.

Not coincidentally, it was TsAGI that ‘gave birth’ to the first aircraft used for passenger and post freights—the all-metal Tupolev ANT-2, the creation of outstanding aircraft designer Andrey Tupolev and the pioneer of domestic metal aircraft engineering. Its creators focused on good aerodynamic performance, simple structure and the compromise between strength and smaller mass. Then, another aircraft was created—Tupolev ANT-9, one of the first multi-seater passenger aircraft; in Summer 1929, Mikhail Gromov’s crew and eight passengers flew with this aircraft on the following route: Moscow — Berlin — Paris — Rome — Marcelle — London — Paris — Berlin — Warsaw — Moscow. The Soviet civil aircraft technologies often had a double purpose; nevertheless, some aircraft engineering masterpieces are known well, such as Maksim Gorky ANT-20, the giant airliner and the world’s record-breaker in lift capacity; Tupolev ANT-25, which had the first-ever non-stop flight from the USSR to the USA via the North Pole; Rodina (‘the Motherland’) ANT-37, remarked by the world’s record on flight range by female crew, etc.

Soon after the Great Patriotic War, the first Ilyushin Design Bureau’s Il-12 aircraft took to the skies; it had been tested at TsAGI. In 1948, the famous Antonov An-2 Kukuruznik (‘Corn Crop Duster’) was commissioned. In the 1950s, the epoch of jet aircraft started; it was opened by Tupolev Tu-104, the world’s first passenger jet. The fuselage of the jet was tested in TsAGI towing tank, which had been built especially for that. The experience of joint work on implementation of Tupolev Tu-104 by Tupolev Design Bureau and Aeroflot was successfully used afterwards for creating such airliners as Tu-114, Tu-124 and Tu-134. Joint creation by TsAGI and Tupolev, the Tu-154, became the widest-spread Soviet aircraft in its class. Other well-known domestic aircraft were Ilyushin Il-86 and Il-96, Yakovlev Yak-42, Antonov ‘Ruslan’ An-124, Tupolev Tu-204, and, certainly, Tu-144, the world’s first supersonic aircraft.

The contemporary conditions dictate new technological challenges. MC-21 and SSJ100 are the examples of civil aircraft implemented in our days. In 2022, TsAGI—Irkut joint activities allowed for static test verification of calculation methods providing MC-21 strength; the activities have been carried out up to date within lifecycle tests. From late 2024-2025, it is planned to provide larger series deliveries of the fully domestic airliners.

As for the Superjet program, import independence of this aircraft is to be provided in the nearest future. The share of domestic production in the import-substituted SSJ-NEW is expected to range from 90% to 100%.

TsAGI is actively involved into projects of import substitution of engines within the aircraft, and into work on recommendations on improvement of aircraft aerodynamics and propulsion integration.

Regional aircraft, such as Baikal, Ladoga and L-410, are also to take to the skies. New passenger and transport airliners are being developed: light cryogenic tiltrotor, Slon (‘the Elephant’) heavy-payload aircraft, etc. The scientists focus on advanced future configurations, such as flying wing, VTOL aircraft, and hybrid electric propulsion aircraft. A priority task is to create a next-generation supersonic transport. Currently, TsAGI is working on the key technologies of supersonic transport, whose maiden flight is planned for 2028.

Today, our life is unimaginable without aviation. We believe that its future is based on the solid basis of technological achievements by Russian scientists. Russia has an exclusive capability of implementing large-scale scientific ideas and becoming a truly unrivalled aviation country.

TsAGI Press Service
+7 (495) 556-40-38

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