Tupolev Tu-300

Tu-300 unmanned combat aerial vehicle

Work on a tactical unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) began in 1982 when the Sukhoi OKB was ordered to design one under the designation Korshun (Kite, the bird) for use in a theatre-tactical system. The Sukhoi OKB prepared an initial project, but after some deliberation by senior officials at MAP in 1983 it was decided to hand the project over to MMZ ‘Opyt’ which had considerable experience in designing and developing drones of all types.

In the Tupolev OKB the project was given the number ‘300’ (Tupolev Tu-300) but was known officially as the Korshun-U. The OKB began design work again from scratch, drawing on experience gained in designing the Tupolev Tu-143 and Tupolev Tu-141 subsonic tactical reconnaissance drones. Only the name Korshun remained from the Sukhoi project.

Flight testing began in 1991. For the Tu-300 the OKB chose the tried and tested tailless layout with canards (‘destabilisers’), cropped delta wings with elevons, an air intake mounted above the fuselage (with an S-duct) and the engine buried in the rear fuselage.

Tupolev Tu-300A recovery parachute is housed in the rear fuselage above the engine nozzle and launch is effected with the assistance of two solid-propellant RATO boosters. Special mission equipment or ordnance is carried in the nose, but can also be carried in the fuselage weapons bay or on a pylon under the fuselage. The Tupolev Tu-300 has been shown on more than one occasion at the MAKS airshows at Zhukovskiy.