Russia announces new supersonic passenger plane project

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Russian Ministry of Industry announced that Russia’s United Aviation Corporation (UAC) will develop a new supersonic passenger jet starting in 2022. The last Russian supersonic travel project was launched fifty years ago with the Tupolev Tu-144 jet.

The flight simulator demonstrating the new jet’s capabilities should be developed within three years, said Denis Manturov, the head of the ministry.

He added that research studies will be conducted to improve the aircraft’s aerodynamic characteristics and increase the load ratio.

“Serious work will have to be completed during the same period to prepare a package of documents aimed at regulating the processes of assessing conformity for ultrasonic passenger jets,” Manturov said.

Russia’s first supersonic passenger plane, Tupolev Tu-144, made its maiden flight in 1968 and began passenger service in 1977. However, it operated for only a year and was deemed economically unfeasible and potentially unsafe. The same eventually happened to the only other similar aircraft, the British-French Concorde, which made its last flight in 2003.

Last year, while watching a test flight of Russia’s new Tu-160 strategic bomber, Russia’s President Putin ‘suggested’ that a civilian passenger version of the supersonic aircraft could be a ‘viable commercial prospect.’

Designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the Soviet Union, the Tu-160 is the largest and heaviest Mach 2+ supersonic aircraft ever built, and second only to the comparable XB-70 Valkyrie in overall length.

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