Russia Discusses the Return of Supersonic Commercial Aircraft

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15 years after the Concorde was retired, and some 50 since the launch of the ill-fated Tuplov TU-144, Russia is again looking at providing supersonic passenger aircraft services. The move comes following the successful introduction of the new Tu-160 M2 strategic bomber to the Russian air force, following which President Vladimir Putin suggested that a civilian passenger version of the supersonic aircraft could be a viable commercial prospect.

The new commercial-use design, with a flight simulator demonstrating the new jet’s capabilities should be developed within three years, said Denis Manturov, the head of the Russian Ministry of Industry. He added that research studies will be conducted to improve the aircraft’s aerodynamic characteristics and increase the load ratio.

Russia’s TU-144 proved both economically unfeasible, and suffered reputation during a spectacuar crash at the Paris Air Show in 1973.

“Serious work will have to be completed (between now and 2022) to prepare a package of documents aimed at regulating the processes of assessing conformity for ultrasonic passenger jets,” Manturov said.

Russia’s aviation industry is in the ascendency and the country has joint ventures to produce military and commercial aircraft with both China and India.

Russia also wants to reduce dependency on Airbus and Boeing and is developing its own new passenger jets for domestic flights and the international export market.

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