May 2000 (MD JSF) Home July 2000 (SM.55)
The A.90.150

Aircraft of the Month for June 2000

by Alex Stoll

The Orlyonok, or Eaglet, was designed by TGKB (Central Hydorfoil Design Bureau) and Sukhoi as a naval assault craft and troop transport. Known to NATO as Casp B, its cruise engine, a NK-12M turboprop, was mounted in the tail and two NK-8-4K turbofans were mounted in the nose for extre thrust on takeoff, acceleration, and landing. A five sectioned flap/aileron is fitted on the wing's trailing edge and the leading edge sports takeoff screens near the wingtips. Located under the fuselage are two hydroskies: one at the CG and one near the front. On at least one of the Orlyonoks, the entire nose aft of the cockpit could be swung open sideways to allow vehicles to be driven up a built in ramp onto the cargo deck. Service entry with the Soviet Navy was in 1979. In 1974 one Orlyonok crashed during a VIP demonstration and was rebuilt with a new alloy; another Orlyonok and its crew were lost in a 1992 crash.

Originally 120 Orlyonoks were to be built as troop transport and assault vehicles but only four were completed (one used only for static tests) before funds dried up. The last flight was in October 1993; now the three remaining Orlyonoks rest in Kaspiisk Naval Air Base. A cargo version could carry a 30-metric ton (33 ton) payload over 1000 km (540nm) with 15 tonnes (16.5 tons) of fuel. There are plans to convert one of the Orlyonoks into a transport which could carry up to 150 passengers with a single deck layout or up to 350 passengers with a twin deck layout, and ASW and SAR variants were proposed, but these may never be funded as a result of Russia's current economical status.

Other Photos
Coming Ashore
Front View
In cruise, rear view
Drawings of SAR version

PowerplantOne Kuznetsov NK-12MK 11,000kW turboprop driving two contra-rotating propellors and two Kuznetsov NK-8-4K turbofans with 10.5 ton thrust each
ArmamentOne gut turret mounted above the fuselage
First FlightFall 1973
Service EntryOctober 1979
Length58m (190ft 3in)
Width31.5m (103ft 4in)
Height16m (52ft 6in)
MTOW110,000-125,000kg (242,291-275,330lb)
Max Payload15,000-28,000kg (33,040-61,674lb)
Cruise Speed400 km/h (215kts)
Range2000km (1079nm)

*All photos courtesy of The WIG Page*

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