Sukhoi T-60S Stealth Bomber

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Sukhoi T-60S Project
Joint Continental Bomber
     The T-60S project was initiated by the Sukhoi bureau in 1984 and originally it was supposed to enter service in 2003. Very little information is available about technical characteristics of this aircraft, which remains to be classified by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The project was briefly mentioned in the OKB Sukhoi - the semi-official history of the design bureau and its aircraft. The book was first published in English in 1996. The text reads (OKB Sukhoi, p. 277):
"T-60S Intermediate Range Bomber (Project)
     Various sources indicate that Sukhoi, since the late 1980s, has had an advanced, supersonic intermediate range "Joint Continental Bomber" under development. Information that has surfaced to date indicates the aircraft is to replace the Tupolev Tu-22M during the first decade of the next century. It apparently incorporates low-observables technology and is powered by two state-of-the-art turbofan engines in an aft mounting above the fuselage (ala Tupolev Tu-22 Backfire).
     The aircraft is quipped with canards, just ahead of a chined delta wing. Little else has surfaced concerning this aircraft. The status of the full-scale development is unknown."

The T-60S was briefly mentioned here and there with a few artist impressions appearing in the press, but factual information remains scarce. Recently an interesting article about T-60S and other perspective Russian bomber designs appeared in the Air International (Nov. 1998, pp. 274-278). The article suggests that the T-60S may be a high-altitude, high-speed bomber with a lifting body fuselage design and a swing-wing construction. It was also suggested that the aircraft is capable of supercruise at Mach 2 and its engines are equipped with two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles.

"Although no photographs of the T-60S are available, Piotr Butkowski (Air International correspondent on Russian aviation) believes that the T-60S features a variable geometry wing, flat lifting fuselage and two engines, equipped with two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles. The engine air intakes are believed to be shoulder mounted, slightly forward of the wing root. Armament is understood to include up to six Kh-101 stealthy cruise missiles, as well as AS-15 and AS-16 missiles, free-fall nuclear weapons and precision guided conventional munitions."

     Looking at the two illustrations to the left it is difficult not to notice that the two configurations have absolutely nothing in common. The early configuration, with canards and the chined delta wing, however, is very similar to the early S-37 fighter design (not to be confused with the latest S-37 Berkut technology demonstrator.) The chined delta wing and canards also remind of the T-4 bomber design back from the 1970s and the S-21 business jet project which was design in co-operation with Gulfstream. The resemblance, however, is very general. So, where did this idea about a wide lifting fuselage and a variable geometry wing came from?

     Sukhoi is not a traditional Russian bomber designer - this role was usually reserved for Tupolev. However, Sukhoi does have considerable expertise in designing ground strike aircraft (such as Su-22, Su-24, Su-25, Su-34). The design bureau also had one very promising bomber project in the works during the 1960s and early 1970s. This project was the T-4 supersonic, intercontinental bomber developed to counter the American XB-70 Valkyrie bomber. The aircraft was completed and successfully test-flown but then the program was abruptly terminated in 1973. The reasons for the termination are not very clear, some suggest that it was due to the termination of the XB-70, others - that it was a political decision. In any case, I think that it would be logical to look back on T-4 and its derivatives when considering a possible configuration of T-60S.

     After seeing the  Air International illustration I immediately remembered one visually similar development of the T-4 - the T-4MS (also known as "200".) As you can see from the illustration, there are some considerable similarities between this aircraft and the illustration from Air International - a variable geometry wing, a wide lifting fuselage, internal placement of weapons and auxiliary systems. The idea, that Sukhoi may be drawing on its past experience with bomber design, does not seem unreasonable.

     A lifting fuselage design is not a very common feature in aviation, especially in Russian aviation. It would be reasonable to suppose that the idea of such a fuselage for the T-60S did not appear in the vacuum. It just so happens that the Myasishchev Design Bureau recently unveiled its new design for a high-altitude passenger/cargo/surveillance aircraft, featuring a wide lifting fuselage with two high bypass ratio turbofans installed side by side above the rear part of the fuselage. The aircraft is the M-60 (with a proposed GP-60D Katun *** cargo version) and was originally designed in 1980s and, therefore, is a contemporary of the T-60S project. The aircraft will be powered by two Perm PS-90A turbofan engines. It can cruise at 50,000ft (and can reach 65,500 ft) at Mach 0.7, has a range of between 5,000 and 15,000 km and can carry a load of up to 20 t. The GP-60 is a long way from being T-60S, nevertheless, there are some undeniable similarities.

     Below is the table of T-60S estimated characteristics. To come up with this numbers I assumed that the T-60S is a flat lifting fuselage design that uses turbofan engines.

Sukhoi T-60S estimated characteristics

Type intermediate-range strike/interdiction aircraft
Powerplants two 23,500 kg (51,800 lb) turbofans
Max speed Mach 2.04
Cruising speed Mach 2.02
Max altitude 20,000 m (65,500 ft)
Cruising altitude 15,000 m (49,000 ft)
Max range 6,000 km (3,250 nm)
Range with max load 2,200 km (1,200 nm)
Weight (empty) 32,000 kg (70,500 lb)
MTOW 85,000 kg (188,000 lb)
Max load 20,000 kg (44,000 lb)
Wing span (extended) 37 m (121 ft)
Wing span (swept) 24 m (79 ft)
Wing angle (extended) 70 deg
Wing angle (swept) 30 deg
Length 38 m (125 ft)
Height 10 m (33 ft)
Armament maximum of 20,000 kg (44,000 lb) of free fall nuclear and conventional bombs, guided munitions, up to 8 cruise missiles, including Kh-101, Kh-55MS (AS-15 Kent) ALCM*, Kh-15P (AS-16 Kickback) SRAM**.

*ALCM - air launched cruise missile
**SRAM - short range attack missile
***GP - gruzo-passazhirsky (cargo/passenger)

T-60S early configurationSukhoi T-60S early configuration


T-60S later configuration
t60s.jpg (4738 bytes)


The early S-37 fighter projectSukhoi early S-37 configuration



Sukhoi T-4 bomber
Sukhoi T-4 bomber


XB-70 Valkyrie
XB-70 Valkyrie


Sukhoi S-21
Sukhoi S-21 business jet
T-4MS ("200")
Sukhoi T-4MS bomber



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