These hangers are quite limited when it comes to space but let's see when they roll out the new ship-born helicopter. No point in speculating the same point over and over again with no real prototype in hand.
The last time it happened it was actually a few years before they realised the Ka-25 Hormone had been replaced by the Ka-27 Helix family... the look didn't change very much at all... the engines were much more powerful and the cabin got longer and became more volumnous... if that is a word.
The point is that the Helix is not a bad aircraft, just making a new helicopter with a better shape with more internal space and perhaps an n tail like the Ka-226 design which allows a rear ramp door on some of the modular rear pods it can carry is all it really needs.
Retractable gear of any kind would add a lot of weight to the helicopter - something the designers are looking to avoid in official statements.
I mean retractable gear in the sense of foldable rotors. The gear only needs to stick out and form a wide ground base during landing and takeoffs for stability. Just like the blades need to be deployed and spinning when taking off, flying and also landing, but when putting it away in a hangar you can fold the blades and shift the widely spread position of the main gear closer to the body of the aircraft so it will fit into a smaller area that is a hangar.
The idea is to fit the helicopter with more powerful engines but also make it much lighter than the Ka-27 by using composites.
Giving it undercarriage that can spread out or fold inwards means better stability for take off and landing... which is critical on a ship, but also means it can operate from smaller hangars, which is important too. Worth a little extra weight... it might only need a pivot point near the top to move the wheels closer to the fuselage while on the ground.
Later Mi-24 versions have non retractable landing gear in order to just that - significantly reducing weight.
It was also because it was found that survivability improved when the wheels were deployed in heavy landings because it helped spread the impact to reduce injuries...
Russians and Soviets seems to prefer using the side door for entrance and exit of troops - even in simulated combat situations.
Mi-17s have doors on both sides and a rear ramp...
And the aircraft used by the CIA and Russian forces have doors on both sides and door gunners quite often too:
CIA bird with what appears to be a gatling door gun in the side door...
And a through view to show both side doors open at once...
(sorry for the size...)
The rear clam shell door seems to be reserved for vehicles only. You are welcome to prove me wrong with some photographic evidence on the Mi-8 or even the old Mi-4.
The clam shell door was used for vehicles... can you guess why they changed to a ramp door... for use in new armoured vehicles and Mi-17 helicopters?
Not really - he just tells it as it was - problems included.
I thought it was terribly generous... it seems to suggest the Yak-141 was hard done by, when it was probably a lucky escape from a terrible money pit that had no potential to ever get better than the already available and cheaper and safer MiG-29 family of aircraft.
Bollox! There was nothing experimental about the Yak-41 - it was set to replace the Yak-38's.
The Yak-38 could have been replaced by a Ka-52... in fact a Ka-52 would be orders of magnitude better than the Yak-38.
The Yak-41 was never going to be better than a MiG-33.
It was a dead end design.
The Yaks could take off vertically from the Kiev carriers with an interval of 5-7 seconds, while the British could only lift 4 aircraft into the air per minute. Thus, in a minute 6-10 Yaks would have been in the air against 4 Harriers.
Statistics bullshit is just bullshit... for it to be important the British carrier and the Soviet carrier would need to be sailing around with their eyes closed waiting for someone to say go to start launching planes.... and in that case the Yaks might get airborne faster than the Harriers, but considering they operate in the real world any enemy force of aircraft will be detected at significant ranges and a suitable number of fighters will be sent up to intercept them... in that case it is not launch rate, but carrier capacity that matters, and there were vastly more Harriers made and used than Forgers.
The low takeoff rates of British aircraft were associated with the design feature of starting the engine through the APU whilst the Soviet Yaks were launched from the ship's onboard power supply.
Unless there were power points at each takeoff spot on their carrier, that would mean the Yaks needed engine starting trucks to come out and start their engines for them.... there are not many aircraft in this day and age that don't have their own APU even just so they can run diagnostics and start systems that take longer to start up like navigation system gyros... Having built in APUs is an advantage... not a disadvantage... and launching from the ramp greatly improved takeoff weight performance so the rate of launch for the Yaks would be compromised by the fact that they likely couldn't take off vertically with full fuel and weapons... which might mean getting up faster but reduced flight range...
The Yak was also able to use air to surface missiles - something the early Harrier could not do.
All the Yaks only ever had four wing pylons.... Harriers had rather more...
Another significant advantage of the Yak was the unique SK-3M pilot rescue system, which allowed the pilot to be automatically ejected when things went pear shape.
Saved a lot of pilots but also crashed a lot of planes that might not have actually been in trouble... it had a fixed envelope setting and if an angle went slightly too far it would automatically eject the pilot.
Since the introduction of the Sea Harrier FRS2 and the other Harrier II's it became clear that a replacement for the Yak-38M was urgently needed.
Nahh, it was when they realised the Yak-38M with a more powerful engine improved acceleration and load potential but reduced range and endurance without increasing top speed which was mach limited, they realised further improvements in the current aircraft and current engine was a dead end.
The Yak-41 had a much more powerful avionics kit consisting of a pulse-Doppler radar , a laser rangefinder and electronic warfare equipment located in the wingtips and fuselage of the aircraft.
It got things the MiG-29 had had for quite some time.
Huge step up from the Yak-38M, but not so much better than the MiG-33 to make all the time and money seem worth it.
The R79V-300 thrust vectoring engine became the first engine in the world that allowed the use of afterburner both in horizontal and vertical flight modes. Thanks to the unique design of the main engine, the Yak-41 became the second aircraft after the French experimental Dassault Mirage IIIV, VTOL flying at supersonic speed.
It was the vectoring engine nozzle for the 18 ton thrust main engine that works in full AB even at 95 degree deflection that the Americans bought the technology for for the F-35.
The Yak-41's weapons systems was also much more diverse and more powerful than the Yak-38M and even the Harrier II. It was created as an all-weather multi-role aircraft for the Air Force (Yak-43) and Navy aviation. The Yak-43 differed from the Yak-41 in that it had a shorter takeoff (with a run-up length of 120 meters) and had a longer combat radius. The Yak-43 was also a more stealthy design with internal weapons.
The Yak-141 never achieved operational status and most of its stats were purely statistical. The Yak-43 was never more than a paper project.
In fact in the 1990s the Yak-43 was a more stealthy design but it used a thrust vectored version of the 25 ton thrust NK-32 from the Blackjack bomber.
It was mostly considered crazy talk even then.
Armament included the GSH-30-1 cannon, R-27, R-60, R-73 and R-77 air-to-air missiles and the Kh-25, Kh-31 and Kh-35 air-to-surface missiles on its four under wing hard points.
Four wing points was very limiting and the design of the lift engines meant belly pylons were simply not an option.
It was a true multi-role fighter.
Its armament capacity was no better than the MiG-21 which at least could carry an external fuel tank on the centreline position.
Most importantly, these tests demonstrated complete superiority over the Harrier in all major aspects.
Except the most important things like getting into serial production and numbers actually produced.
The Russian Navy had experimented with the little Kiev carriers and then went to the bigger Kuznetsov and then the even bigger Ulyanovsk... the trend was bigger carriers with more capacity, so VSTOL fighters were no longer needed... an unnecessary complication to the design.
A few days later the first take-off was performed but it ended in a heavy crash on the landing approach. The pilot ejected safely. Accidents like these are not uncommon during development
Such accidents are not uncommon, but this one was serious. It wasn't just the rear main engine that operated in full AB during landing and takeoff, the front two lift jet engines operated in full AB too so as the aircraft came in for a landing and was about 15-20m in the air as it slowed down to the hover all the hot exhaust gas from all three engines was being blasted into the deck and it rose up around the aircraft and got sucked in to the air intakes... jet engines work by sucking in cold oxygen rich air... compressing it which heats it up and then injecting fuel in the combustion chamber which burns and generates thrust and then further fuel is injected in the exhaust to burn in the after burner... the obvious problem is that when hot air that has most of the oxygen replaced with carbon monoxide because it has had aviation fuel burned to get it this hot, then the fuel in the combustion chamber and the afterburner doens't burn because there is no free oxygen and you get an engine stall... and from 10-15 metres... well it ripped open the belly of the aircraft which contained a large fuel tank which spilled burning fuel all over the deck and burned the aircraft...
The solutions are not obvious and would require radical changes in the design like a main engine powered lift fan so the air blown at the front is still oxygen rich and wont cause an engine stall, but lift fans are too big and bulky and ruin the coke bottle shape of the supersonic design making its aerodynamics really bad...
Perhaps electric jet engines for lift engines?
If they blow cold oxygen rich air you could have the in the wing roots able to rotate 90 degrees so you can use them in forward flight, so they are not dead weight most of the flight... have forward swept wings and put them on the wing tips and you could vector their thrust in normal flight giving you amazing manouver potential...
Despite this the then renamed Yak-141 was displayed at the Farnborough-1992 exhibition in all its glory. This resulted in the Yakovlev OKB's participation in a joint project with Lockheed to develop the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) program.
They were looking for some foreign company to throw them some development money and they got some...
Since 2017 rumours have surfaced that the Yakovlev OKB is planning the next generation VTOL fighter for the Russian Navy and it may well be based on the Yak-201. It looks a lot like the VTOL aircraft depicted on the pictures I posted of the Varan. We'll see?
In MAKS2021 we saw MiGs twin engined carrier based aircraft model, and a land based cheap light 5th gen fighter... no mention of a Yak equivalent AFAIK so don't hold your breath.
If anyone can make a decent VSTOL fighter it would be Russia, but I think there will need to be a few breakthroughs in exotic materials and engine technologies before that happens.
There is an improved R79 engine with 22 tons of thrust... Honestly I think using that and modifying it like the British Pegasus engine with cold oxygen rich air used for front lift nozzles with fully articulated nozzles so the wing tip and tail and nose high pressure puffer systems for stability in the hover become unnecessary... would greatly simplify the design.
Expecting supersonic speed was always a problem with VSTOLs... I would say on Russian carriers they will use these VSTOLs for close point defence so rapid launch and good payload are important... top speed not so much... have Su-57s and MiG-35s or their replacements on the carriers for long range and numbers respectively, while the VSTOLs could be a couple on helicopter carriers or something.
Electric engines could be another step forward too.. the key is for the front lift engines to not burn oxygen and be able to be rotated to be useable in forward flight so they are not dead weight for the entire trip.