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Buran missile
Buran missile - M-42 and M-44 Buran trisonic ramjet missiles were considered in both manned and unmanned versions.

Credit: Khrunichev. 14,138 bytes. 351 x 190 pixels.

Family: Russian Ramjets. Country: Russia. Status: Cancelled 1957.

A government decree on 20 May 1954 authorised the Myasishchev aircraft design bureau to proceed with full-scale development of the Buran trisonic intercontinental cruise missile. The competing Burya design of Lavochkin was launched in July 1957, but the development of unstoppable ICBM's had made intercontinntal cruise missiles oboslete. The equivalent American Navaho project was cancelled ten days later. Korolev's R-7 ICBM completed its first successful test flight in August. Buran was being prepared for its first flight when Myasishchev's project was cancelled on November 1957.

A final government decree on 20 May 1954 authorised the Lavochkin and Myasishchev aircraft design bureaux to proceed in parallel with full-scale development of trisonic intercontinental cruise missiles. Both missiles would use ramjet engines by Bondaryuk, astronavigation systems by R Chachikyan, inertial navigation systems by G Tolstoysov, and aerodynamics developed by TsAGI (Central Hydrodynamics Institute). Myasishchev's Buran would use rocket booster engines built by Glushko. While both missiles were to deliver a nuclear warhead over an 8,500 km range, rhe warhead design specified for the Myasishchev missile had a total mass of 3,500 kg, two thirds heavier than that specified for the Lavochkin.

The TsAGI configuration for the cruise stage was of conventional layout, with a thin profile 70 degree swept arrow wing mounted at mid-fuselage. The fuselage itself was cylindrical and area-ruled, with the classic ramjet shock cone in a nose intake. The astronavigation and guidance systems were mounted in a dorsal fairing. The star scanners of the system looked out through quartz windows.

Myasishchev had began work in April 1953, before the official authorisation, on his RSS-40 (RSS= rocket-aircraft system), code-named Buran (snowstorm). The RSS-40 would consist of two stages, a four-rocket boost stage (the M-41) and a ramjet cruise stage (the M-42). The RSS-40 would be launched vertically from an ingenious transporter-launcher, designed by V K Karrask. The RSS-40 was 24 m long, had an 11.6 m wingspan, a total mass of 125 tonnes, and cruised at 3000 to 3200 km/hr. The ramjet intake cone was canted 3 degrees downward, which represented the pitch angle of the missile in cruise.

Several variants of the Myasishchev M-42 cruise stage were studied. Some were related to improving the missile guidance, including an auxiliary communications package for providing en-route navigation and targeting updates, as was planned for the competing Burya. Another laid out a piloted version, with a cockpit installed in the cruise stage. The pilot would eject and be recovered by parachute at the conclusion of the mission. Myasishchev planned several manned flights to explore the psychology of human flight on the edge of space.

Buran missileBuran missile

Credit: © Mark Wade. 2,517 bytes. 183 x 376 pixels.

By 1956 Myasishchev was just completing project design, while Lavochkin was already completing construction of the first missile. Burya was launched first, in July 1957, but exploded in its first launch. But events now conspired against the project. The US Navaho was cancelled ten days later. Korolev's R-7 ICBM completed its first successful test flight in August. Buran was being prepared for its first flight when Myasishchev's project was cancelled on November 1957. The Soviet leadership did not see any need for continued development of a parallel ramjet design.

Liftoff Thrust: 219,850 kgf. Total Mass: 125,000 kg. Core Diameter: 2.4 m. Total Length: 28.0 m.

Buran Chronology

- 1949 October -
1949 Dec 7 -
1950 Jan 1 -
1950 Dec 4 -
1951 Mar 24 -
- 1953 January -
- 1953 April -
1954 Mar 17 -
1954 May 20 -
- 1956 During the Year -
- 1957 November -


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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