Valery Solozobov, deputy director general for design and R&D at Tupolev, has told Sputnik that the company is working on its new supersonic plane design with leading Russian scientific institutes in the fields of aircraft materials, engine design, and aero/hydrodynamics.
According to the official, further work will include studies on how to reduce sound exposure levels, practical experimentation, and construction of a demonstration aircraft for preliminary flight testing.
At the moment, the prospective business jet is expected to have seating capacity for about 30 passengers, a takeoff mass of 70 tons, and a flight speed ranging from Mach 1.4 to Mach 1.8 (for comparison, the Soviet Tu-144 and British-French Concorde airliners had cruising speeds of about Mach 1.6 and Mach 2, respectively).
"Considering the Tupolev Design Bureau's considerable experience in the design of supersonic long-range passenger and military aircraft, as well as the technical and technological capacity gained through the production of the Tu-160, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, two basic versions [of a new aircraft] have been created – one a fixed wing and the other with variable-sweep wing design, like the Tu-160 and the Tu-22," Solozobov said.
The variable sweep wing design has tremendous potential for improving the plane's take-off and landing characteristics, the company official noted.
Earlier this year, during a visit to the Gorbunov Aviation Factory in Kazan to watch the test flight of an upgraded Tu-160 heavy supersonic strategic bomber, Russian President Vladimir Putin pondered the practicality of creating a civilian version of the Tu-160 for business travel.