Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute Tests Slon Heavy Aircraft Model
Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute Tests Slon Heavy Aircraft Model

Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute Tests Slon Heavy Aircraft Model

The Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) completed the first stage of aerodynamic trials of a model of the heavy Slon airlifter in T-106 wind tunnel. TsAGI determined the concept of the future aircraft and produced a metal model. At the initial stage, the scientists studied the aerodynamics of the model in a range of Mach 0.2 — 0.85. The trial stage will include visualization of the model flow at cruising regimes to optimize aerodynamic design components. The work is ongoing since 2015, it took specialists two years to determine the wing shape and the total appearance of the biggest airlifter in the world with a carrying capacity of 150-180 tons.

The project was first presented under PAK TA designation with goal to develop a blended wing body, super-heavy transport plane being able to fly at supersonic speed while carrying up to 200 tons of cargo, and partially using renewable electric energy. 80 aircraft were planned to be built by 2024. In 2016, General Director of Ilyushin Company Sergei Velmozhkin reported the project was officially named Il-106, designation previously applied to a cancelled Ilyushin transport plane of the 1990s. On 5 November 2019, TsAGI released pictures of a wind tunnel Il-106 model, showing that, contrarily to what was previously thought, the design of the new cargo plane will not be based on the Il-106 project of the 1990s.


The Russian aircraft industry boasts an unprecedented level of new alloys creation. Directional stability and altitude rudders were researched. The carrying and speed features of the wing were tested. The results confirmed calculated characteristics. It designs new materials and creates them. The work is important for the prospective airlifter, as various combinations of composite materials and metal parts result in different behavior of the aircraft in an airflow. only four countries can produce the necessary power plants, as it takes 20-30 years of uninterrupted work of a big number of aircraft engineers to take off the new aircraft. The long-range aviation knowhow is available in Russia, the USA, France and the UK.

The Ilyushin Il-106 Slon (Elephant) is a Russian next-generation heavy military transport aircraft, not to be confused with the cancelled Ilyushin Il-106 of the nineties. The aircraft is intended to replace the Antonov An-124 heavy airlifter in Russia’s Air Force service. The Slon is to replace An-124 Ruslan airlifter. It can carry large cargoes to 7000 km at a speed of 850 km/h. Maximum commercial payload is 180 tons (An-124 — 120 tons). The airstrip has to be three kilometers long. Slon is to be powered by Russian PD-35 engines. The Russian Volga-Dnepr Airlines operates Ruslan also for the United States. The Russian aircraft industry has no equals in the market segment, Slon will continue the tradition.

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