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Soviet "flying saucer" CREW ("Ecology and progress")

Added Thu, 28/09/2023
Дата публикации
Thu, 28/09/2023

In the early 1980s, a unique project of a multifunctional aerodrome-free aircraft appeared in the USSR, called the CREW ("Ecology and Progress").

Invented by engineer L. N. Shchukin, the CREW was a flying wing with a disc-shaped fuselage and an air cushion instead of a landing gear. This device belonged to the class of screens and had the potential for use for both civilian and military purposes.

The main feature of the crew was the use of the "carrier wing" scheme, which made it possible to provide a significantly larger useful internal volume compared to other aircraft of equal payload capacity. Such a body not only increased the comfort and safety of flights, but also significantly saved fuel, which reduced operating costs.

Both civilian modifications of passenger transport equipment capable of accommodating up to 1,200 people and military models, including amphibious assault vehicles and anti-submarine patrols, were envisaged. The crew was conceived as a means for transporting heavy bulky cargo over long distances at a speed of 500-700 km/h at an altitude of 8 to 13 km.

In addition, the devices could move on an air cushion at a speed of up to 160 km / h and fly in the screen-flying mode at a speed of up to 400 km / h. The use of carbon fiber made it possible to significantly reduce the acoustic, thermal and radar visibility of the device.

However, despite all the potential advantages and prospects, the CREW project has remained unrealized. The creator of the device Lev Shchukin was worried about his fate and made numerous attempts to continue the development at his own expense. It did not work out, and then the director of the Saratov Aircraft Factory, Alexander Ermishin, proposed the implementation of the project to the Americans.

The USA was interested, but in exchange for financing they demanded all the developments, drawings and production in the USA... Russia refused.

Unfortunately, in 2001 Lev Shchukin died of a heart attack, without waiting for the realization of his dream.

Why did the CREW project remain on paper? One of the reasons was the lack of funding. At the time when the project was under development, the USSR was experiencing an economic crisis and could not allocate sufficient funds for its implementation. In addition, there were other technical and organizational problems that made it difficult to promote the project.

Incredibly, a new type of aircraft that exists not just in drawings, but even in prototypes and has proven its effectiveness has not replaced conventional aircraft. Since 2003, work on the creation of the crew at the Saratov aircraft factory has been stopped due to lack of funds.

Innovative development (Transportation of 40 to 1200 passengers over a distance of up to 6000 kilometers at a speed of 610 kilometers per hour, despite the fact that you can use water-emulsion fuel, which costs a penny, and abandon airports). According to the calculations of economists, a new type of aircraft could bring significantly more profit than a modern aircraft. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned.

Nevertheless, the idea of the CREW did not go unnoticed. In recent years, new projects and concepts based on the principles laid down in the CREW have appeared.

For example, Airbus has introduced a concept aircraft called "Airbus Maveric", which has a similar shape to the crew and has the potential to improve the environmental performance of aviation.

The CREW project remains an important historical monument in the development of aviation. He demonstrated an innovative approach to design and technology, and also opened new horizons for the future development of aircraft.

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