Heres another interesting article from our friends at Aviation Week that I thought was worthy of a comment or two. Its a great example of how internet journalism/blogging can bring some value added to readers interested in defense issues and technology.
Bill Sweetman ran across a series of entries at the Secret Projects blog, which yours truly occasionally takes a look at, and found some really cool pictures clicked at a Russian aeronautics lab that shows some intriguing technology being developed there.
Aside from the whiz bang of it all, this sort of post tugs at my Cold War heart strings being a student of Soviet foreign policy and Cold War diplomacy, theres still a part of me that looks at Russia as this dark, closed place where crazy science experiments are allowed to run amok. Revelations of a variety of weapons development programs that went on behind the iron curtain revealed only as the wall fell have kept those embers smoldering.
This post comes a day after an equally interesting show was broadcast on the History International Channel titled Secret Superpower Aircraft. This series was like manna from heaven for someone like me who still yearns for the kind of Cold War rivalry that drove aerospace technology to its limits. The Avro Arrow? The F-103 Thunder Warrior? Hmmmm, yummie.
The invaluable Secret Projects website carries frame grabs from an early-2000s Russian TV documentary, filmed at the vast TsAGI wind-tunnel complex at Zhukovsky. While wind-tunnel models are not equivalent to real hardware, and while known sensitive material wouldn't have been shown, the models are a real indication of Russian industry and government thinking.
First is a flying-wing aircraft, looking (from the inlet and exhaust shape) like a four-engine bomber.
There is also a stealth fighter design that superficially resembles the Lockheed YF-22.
Significant differences from the US fighter include prominent leading-edge root extensions and a different wing and tail planform. This may be the rumored Sukhoi design nicknamed Big Ears, a precursor to the T-50 PAK-FA.