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PICTURE: Windtunnel beckons for An-124 successor

Russian researchers have constructed a scale model of the proposed 'Slon' outsize freight transporter, put forward as a potential successor to the Antonov An-124.

Moscow's Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute has shown off the model ahead of windtunnel testing.

It states that the aircraft is designed to be powered by the Aviadvigatel PD-35 engine, a high-thrust version of the PD-14 for the Irkut MC-21.

The institute's model is 1.63m in length, with a wingspan of nearly 1.75m, and built primarily from aluminium alloys – although load elements are made of steel – with a weight of some 120kg.

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Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute

When it unveiled the four-engined concept aircraft two years ago, the institute indicated that it would be capable of transporting 150t of freight over 7,000km – and have the ability to carry 180t.

The model has removable wing-tips, a removable horizontal stabiliser and vertical fin with elevators and rudder sections.

"Work on the wing – which has a complex spatial form to ensure high aerodynamic characteristics in cruise – was the most time-consuming," says technological department deputy chief Andrei Sidorov.

He says the model is convertible enabling it to be tested in various configurations, and with a range of aerodynamic layouts – including amending the shape of the nose, tail, wing-tips and landing-gear fairings.

Testing will begin "in the near future", the institute states, with the model being used in two windtunnels in 2020 to analyse take-off and landing aspects. "It is also planned to visualise flow around the model," it adds.

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