by Yevgeny SHAKHIDZHANOV, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), Chief Scientific Worker of R&D "Region",
Anatoly RODIONOV, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), Chairman of the Research Council for the Problems of Fundamental and Applied Hydrophysics, St. Petersburg Research Center, RAS,
Vasily POLCHENKO, Cand. Sc. (Tech.), Head of the FSI Department of the Ist Research Institute of RF MP
Thirty years ago our country, the first in the world, created unique samples of underwater weapons, which ensured a breakthrough in military technical competition at sea. Owing to target-oriented politics of the state in the sphere of science and technology, self-sacrificing work of scientists, engineers and military sailors, the Navy received underwater missiles with the speed of about 200 knots (over 100 m/sec).
Back in the second half of the 20th century, the rapid growth of tactical and technical characteristics of atomic submarines (speed, depth of submergence, range of hydroacoustic indication of the target, etc.)*
resulted in the fact that efficiency of torpedo weapons and bombing which had been applied earlier to destroy submarines, proved to be insufficient. This served as a spur to design new types of combat weaponry, which guarantee sharp reduction of time to deliver a charge to the target and an increase of fire accuracy. However, to create such
* See: Zh. Alferov et al., "Main Strike Force of Russian Navy", Science in Russia, No. 1, 2006. -Ed.
high-speed underwater missiles, it was necessary to cope with a number of fundamental problems in the sphere of hydrodynamics and power supply of long steady controlled movement at cavitational flow of the body.
The employees of the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute Branch (Moscow) started a search in late 1940s under the guidance of Academician Leonid Sedov (1907 - 1999), as well as Navy specialists and, first of all, Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Georgi Logvinovich. They proposed unique theoretical, experimental and design solutions to substantiate hydrodynamic diagrams of cavitating missiles with underwater control elements of variable geometry, performing the functions of cavity formation (gas envelope around a missile) and the charge movement control at the areas of complete, combined and cavitational flow.
To reach high technical characteristics of units at underwater speed of more than 100 m/sec, it is necessary to ensure not only multiple reduction of resistance to movement, but to create a high performance jet engine on ecologically pure, safe in operation, energy-consuming fuel. A ram jet engine, as a power plant, more completely meets all requirements: its specific impulse is 2.5 - 3 times higher than that of the missiles, which were known earlier, due to the use of outboard side water as a working body and an oxidizer, and hydroreactive metals as fuel.
The works to create such a unique engine were started in the 1960s on the initiative and under the direction of the State Prizewinner Mikhail Merkulov (chief designer of the Research Institute of Applied Hydromechanics, Votkinsk, Udmurtiya) and completed in the 1970s by the group headed by chief designer, the Lenin Prizewinner Yevgeny Rakov (R&D "Region", Moscow). At the same time exclusive solid hydroreactive fuels were developed based on light metals. The Lenin Prizewinner Ivan Safonov (chief designer of the works named after G. Petrovsky, Kiev) and his colleagues proposed an autonomous control system, which has a variable structure (depending on the movement mode on the trajectory) and uses a fundamentally new control method of underwater speed of the missile at a depth taking into account the presence of cavity.
When a missile moves at 200 knots and more, its body experiences significant hydrodynamic loads. In their turn, they provoke vibrations of the construction elements of the latter and control apparatus. Rakov and his group managed to substantiate methods of design and construction of the elements of such a complicated unit taking into account the operating factors. By the end of the 1950s, the obtained results allowed to take a science-based decision to create a high-speed underwater cavitating missile. The competent support was rendered by Navy Commander-in-Chief, Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Sergei Gorshkov, academicians Anatoly Alexandrov* and Vadim Trapeznikov, Vice-Admiral Boris Kostygov.
On the basis of a number of subsequent studies, carried out by Navy and industrial institutes with the assistance of the USSR Academy of Sciences, experimental-design works to create the first combat missile model called "Shkval" (Squall), had commenced. The group headed by Rakov managed to complete them in 1977. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, Lenin Prizewinner Logvinovich supervised the project. A large group of scientists and experts of industrial enterprises and institutes of the Navy, including Lenin Prizewinners Yuri Fadeyev, Cand. Sc. (Tech.) (R&D "Region", Moscow) and Yuri Ilyin, Cand. Sc. (Tech.) (Navy Research Institute of Arms, Leningrad), State Prizewinners: Genrikh Uvarov, Dr. Sc. (Tech.) (R&D "Region", Moscow), and Vladimir Ivashkov, Cand. Sc. (Tech.) (Research Institute of Applied Chemistry, Sergiyev Possad, Moscow region), Mikhail Lisichko, Cand. Sc. (Tech.) (R&D "Region", Moscow) and many others took an active part in the work.
Creation of the first cavitating high-speed underwater missile proved to be a breakthrough in national science, cleared the way to creation of prospective models of underwater arms of this type with superb tactical and technical characteristics.
Further increase in underwater speed runs against difficulties of fundamentally physical nature. The point is that at large flow velocities comparable to acoustic velocity in water, equations of classical hydrodynamics of viscous liquid do not allow to correctly calculate the characteristics of interaction of the body with the environment and, accordingly, rationally solve technical problems of securing a movement. To overcome this difficulty, a new theoretical approach is required, which takes into account the effect of non-equilibrium processes on hydrodynamics of flow of high-speed bodies. Such models are being designed by experts of RAS, higher schools and industry. This inspires hope of achieving speeds of the body movement close to the acoustic speed under water.
* See: N. Ponomarev-Stepnoi, "At the Head of the Nuclear Branch", Science in Russia, No. 2, 2003. - Ed.
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