Transport aircraft development prospects

Design, construction and manufacturing of flying vehicles


Arutyunov A. G.1*, Dydyshko D. V.1**, Endogur A. I.2***, Kuznetsov K. V.1****, Tolmachev V. I.1*****

1. Volga-Dnepr airlines design center, 35, Usacheva, block 1, Moscow, 119048, Russia
2. Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University), 4, Volokolamskoe shosse, Moscow, А-80, GSP-3, 125993, Russia



At present, three extensive areas of the transport airplanes, encompassing various types of cargo exist:

— Standardized aircraft containers and pallets transported by freighter aircraft, such as Boeing B-747-400F or Airbus A310-200F;

— Unique cargoes transported by special cargo planes (e. g. Boeing B-747 LCF or Airbus A300-600ST);

— Non-convential industrial cargoes, mechanisms and vehicles transported using airlifters with cargo ramp such as Antonov An-124-100 or Lockheed C-5M.

Specifics of ramp cargo aircraft are as follows:

  1. Special cargo hatches facilitating access to the cargo compartment, but having complicated and weighty structure;

  2. Large fuselage midsection area — about 25 ... 30% greater than that of a passenger aircraft;

  3. Necessity of cargo floor and other airplane parts reinforcement to carry concentrated load;

  4. Necessity of loading height minimization for mobile machinery transportation. Thus, the majority of ramp airlifters are of high-wing monoplane type;

  5. Degradation of the aerodynamic cruise performance as well as the desire to improve takeoff and landing characteristics lead to cruise speed reduction;

  6. Turboprop engines are implemented more often on airlifters than passenger aircrafts to improve their takeoff and landing characteristics;

  7. Transportation of cargoes of various size and functions entails the presence of cargo-handling equipment on board (e. g. cranes, hoists) increasing an airplane weight.

  8. It is advisable to consider development of airlifters in the intermediate-range (6-15 years) and long-range (16-30 years) perspectives.

Specifics of an intermediate-range airplane will be as follows:

— Classic aerodynamic scheme with fuselage, wing and empennage;

— Supercritical wing with a thick airfoil (with average relative thickness of 12 to 13%);

— High aspect ratio (λ ≈ 8.5 ... 9) and moderate sweep angle ( χ ≈ 23 ... 250);

— Relatively simple high-lift devices (e. g. single-slotted or fowler flaps with slats).

For heavy lifters maximum L/D ratio will be about 18...19. Cruise speed of such aircraft will be about 800 km/h. Turbofan engines with high bypass ratio m ≈ 10 and low specific consumption Cp = 0.5 kg/kgf∙h will be used as the power plant of intermediate-range heavy lifters. Airframe weight can be reduced through wide using of composite materials. For intermediate-range aircraft, designers can consider implementation of the unconventional empennage (for example V-tail).

The follwing features probably will be typical for long-range transport aircraft:

— Hybrid wing-body aerodynamic scheme with maximum L/D ratio about 23...24;

— Distributed power plant with low specific consumption about 0.4 kg/kgf∙h;

— Implementation of boundary layer ingestion systems increasing L/D ratio by about 3...5 units.


transport aircraft, cargo ramp, cargo airdrop, cargo compartment, unique oversized cargo, general cargo, ramp cargo plane, special transport aircraft


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