P.V.Tsibin started development of heavy jet-propelled missile (later term 'cruise'
or 'winged' missile will emerge) RSS, intended for long-range strategic bombers. As a result, several project of supersonic
heavy bombers emerged in mid-50s. Of course, revolutionary-thinking R.L.Bartini
could not stay away of the contest, and in 1955 he presented his concept
of... supersonic tailless high-swept wing flying boat, on which he was working since
Typical aircraft projects at the time were based only on basic calculation, while final choice of aircraft configuration
was determined after wind tunnel experiments. A brilliant mathematician, Bartini
performed enormous amount of calculations. Among the results was compound-sweep (S-shaped) 'self-balancing' wing of variable
airfoil section, providing minimal inductive and wave-induced drag. Later
S.P.Korolev helped to check those calculations in a wind tunnel.
Integration of the aircraft is very high even for 90's - it was practically impossible to draw a line marking border of
the wing and fuselage. Five afterburning turbojet engines were installed between twin inward-tilted fins, providing up to
130,000kg of trust. Wheel gear was missing completely. For landing on the water (or ice) retractable ski was planned.
For takeoff from land bases special dropable 'cart' was designed.
All services of the aircraft were routed to the upper surface, allowing service and refueling at open sea. The flying
boat concept allowed to omit huge, expensive (and vulnerable in wartime) concrete-paved airfield. Operating in conjunction
with tanker submarines (like A.N.Tupolev '504'), A-57 could be dispatched anywhere
in the world. Complete set of naval equipment was planned.
Planned navigation and avionics equipment was state-of-the art for mid-50's: SVR-1 radar system, 'Roza' and 'Venik'
('Rose' and 'Broom') active jammers, TRS-45 foil dispenser, navigation system 'Veter' ('Wind'), communication system
'Planet' and hydro gyro for communication with 'Okhotsk'-class submarines.
In addition to the RSS missile, A-57 had internal bomb bay capable to accommodate 3,000kg thermo-nuclear (fusion)
bomb. Amusingly, to control this wealth of equipment in long-lasting missions crew of 3 was found sufficient.
In April 1957 Bartini was
delegated from SibNIA (Novosibirsk) to OKBS MAL (Moscow).
TsIAM and TsAGI teams joined the project.
Takeoff and landing on water surface were studied in details, as well as continuous operation in the 'ship' regime. Expert
group, including V.M.Myasichev (one of competitors!) produced a positive
conclusion on A-57 and submitted it to government, but no decision followed 'from the top'.
period R.L.Bartini presented several projects based on A-57 (supersonic flying
boat of integrated design), different in size and function. Designs were (and are now!) too futuristic, and none of them
long range reconnaissater
front-line supersonic bomber