Technical data
Type RSR (R-020)
Function Reconnaissater
Year 1957
Crew 1
Engine(s) 2*D-21
Takeoff Power 5000kg
Cruise Power 2200kg
Length 28m
Wingspan 10.36m
Wing area 58.4m2
Empty weight 9200kg
Loaded weight 21000kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 360
Maximum Speed Mach 2.8
Cruise Speed Mach 2.65
Landing Speed 220km/h
Landing Roll 1200m
Range 3760km
Flight Endurance ?h
Cruise Ceiling 27000m
Dynamic Ceiling 42000m
Fuel 12000kg

RSR (R-020), P.V.Tsibin

When the 'RS' bomber project failed under ICBM 'assault' and internal design problems, P.V.Tsibin quickly converted it into high altitude supersonic reconnaissance aircraft. TTT was approved on January 15, 1957 and six months later preliminary design was ready.

RSR size, weight and performance were almost exactly reproduced much later by the SR-71 'Black Bird' aircraft. For late 50's they sound as a science fiction: cruising speed Mach 2.65 at sustained altitude 26 to 28km, with 'dynamic' ceiling of 42km. To achieve this goal number of novelties were introduced, among them - first Soviet supersonic bypass jet engines D-21 designed by P.Soloviev. Fuel was a kerosine, while propane was used for cooling the optical systems.

Low-aspect ratio tapered wing with sharp leading (58° sweep angle) and trailing edges carried engines on the tips. This was an effective way to enhance the wing lift at both supersonic and low speed regimes (traditionally achieved by using fences).

Tailplanes and tailfin controls were of single-piece slab-type. Fuselage construction was similar to the space/ballistic missiles, including stressed by excessive internal pressure. Bicycle landing gear was a novelty. Despite expected high heat loads, designers managed to make most of the airframe of light aluminum alloys.

For easy access avionics was located in the aircraft nose, mounted on two thin wall struts and covered with easy-to-remove nose cone of ogival shape. RSR carried four photo cameras and electronic sensor for gathering necessary data. Unique active electronic countermeasures system (designed by V.Kazakov) in combination with speed and ceiling allowed aircraft to penetrate any air defence system.

To test performance and handling of such an unusual aircraft, smaller prototype NM-1 was built at Dubna aircraft factory. This aircraft performed 32 flights, proving right choice of the RSR layout.

In parallel with NM-1 trials wing of the RSR was modified. Root section was extended forward, and leading edge got a classic ogival shape (improving airdynamic quality from 5.3 to 6.7). Five airframes were assembled, but no one took off...

Several follow-up designs were considered, including passenger version with four engines and hydroplane RGSR.

Despite success of the prototype tests, change in strategic planning in favour of ISBMs killed the RSR program. In October 1959 OKB-256 was closed and personal was assigned to Myasichev OKB-23, which was working on similar projects. Not for a long time - in the Fall 1960 this OKB was closed. Formally it was joined with OKB lead by V.N.Chelomey (rocket thematic), who cancelled the RSR and other Tsibin's projects in April 1961.

RSR airframes were scrapped (one was used at MAI for educational purposes in 1961 - 1965 and also scrapped). What was left from the advanced program? One wing and stabilizer.

Predecessor Prototype Modifications

Passenger supersonic airliner
  • P.V.Tsibin at 'True Supersonics'
  • R-020/RSR/NM-1 Page
  • 'Ahead of Time'
  • Yunnyj Techinc, September 1995, pp63,64
  • RSR at 'True Supersonics'
  • information about Soviet reconnaissance programs
  • R-020, Tsibin
  • RSR, Tsibin

  • Created March 1, 1996
    Modified November 04, 1999
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