Tupolev Tu-160 aircraft overflying Moscow. Photo: Alex Beltyukov.

MIAMI – The Russian Federation plans to build a supersonic passenger aircraft. Under a federal grant, it will also establish a scientific center to support the project.

The project not only involves the designing of the aircraft, but also the development of certain studies driven by the Russian Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute. These include material strength, acoustics, vibrations, emissions, fuel efficiency and artificial intelligence use.

According to flightglobal.com, the aim of the new center is to obtain breakthroughs in new aircraft technology. The project will be led by the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education, founded in 2018 by President Vladimir Putin.

Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber at MAKS 1997. Photo: Kobel.

Project Scope

The project focus is also broader, said the General Director of the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute, Kirill Sypalo. On the one hand, the center will work out the fundamental problems and the viability of future supersonic aviation. On the other hand, it will measure the environmental impact of this industry.

So far, the Russian government has received 60 applications to get the US$205m funding given to participants in the project.

The Tupolev Tu-144 was the world’s first commercial supersonic transport aircraft. It was in operation from 1968 to 1999. Photo: Lev Polikashin.

Supersonic Aircraft Design

The new aircraft design would be based on the Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber. The Tu-160 is the largest and heaviest Mach 2 supersonic military aircraft ever built.

Last year, Putin said the Russian Federation needed to go back to researching supersonic passenger travel. The President of Russia added that the Federation should also develop a new plane.

According to Putin, the Tu-144 supersonic aircraft developed in the past century was too costly at the time. Now, the country has companies capable enough of operating a Russian-built supersonic commercial aircraft.

Apart from the intelligent transport systems, fields such as robotics, healthcare, energy efficiency, social studies, and agriculture would benefit from the research program.

Featured photo: Tupolev Tu-160 aircraft overflying Moscow. Photo: Alex Beltyukov.