032661 - MYASISHCHEV M-50 and M-52: The First Soviet Supersonic Strategic Bomber
By Yefim Gordon & Dmitriy Komissarov
Reborn in 1951, the Myasishchev design bureau made its mark by creating the M-4 strategic bomber. Yet, this subsonic aircraft was soon made obsolescent by supersonic fighter technology—any new strategic bomber would need supersonic performance to avoid being intercepted. Hence in 1952, Myasishchev started work on supersonic bomber projects, which led to the M-50 of 1955. Designed for sustained supersonic cruise, the Mach 1.7 four-turbojet bomber had many innovative features, including automatic flight control and pitch trim systems, and the most powerful jet engine of the day. When the air force rejected the M-50 on the grounds of inadequate range, Myasishchev suggested building it as a technology demonstrator for the much-improved M-52 missile strike aircraft. First flown in October 1959, the M-50 made only 11 flights before the Myasishchev OKB was closed again a year later. Yet, it did have its moment of glory at the Tushino air show on July 9, 1961. This is the only work on these planes in English, featuring about 400 previously unpublished or rarely seen images.
|Pictures||400 colour and b/w photos, aircraft profiles, line schemes|