Orthographically projected diagram of the Tsybin RSR
Role Reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Tsybin OKB-256
Designer P. V. Tsybin
First flight 7 April 1959
Status Prototype/project
Primary user USSR

The Tsybin RSR (Reactivnyy Strategicheskiy Razvedchik, Cyrillic Реактивный Стратегический Разведчик, Russian for "jet strategic reconnaissance") was a Soviet design for an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft.

Development and design

In 1954, the design bureau headed by Pavel Tsybin started development of a ramjet-powered supersonic strategic bomber, the RS. This design proved impracticable, and a smaller derivative, the 2RS was proposed, which would achieve intercontinental range by being air-launched from a modified Tupolev Tu-95 bomber.[1]

This too was unsuccessful, with the aircraft unable to return to base if used on an intercontinental mission,[1] while being incapable of carrying a thermonuclear bomb.[2] The design was therefore revised again to a reconnaissance aircraft capable of operating from conventional runways, the RSR. As ramjets could not be used for take-off, they were replaced by turbofans.[1]

The RSR was primarily of aluminium construction, with a long circular-section fuselage, which housed a pressurized cabin for the pilot together with cameras and fuel, with thin, low-aspect-ratio trapezoidal wings. The engines, two Soloviev D-21 turbofans, were mounted at the tips of the wings. The aircraft had a bicycle undercarriage, with outriggers under the engine nacelles. It was planned to cruise at greater than Mach 2 at a height of 20,000 m (65,600 ft) giving a range of 3,760 km (2,340 mi).[3]

A simplified, full-sized aerodynamic prototype for the novel layout, the NM-1 was built in 1957. Intended for low-speed handling tests, the NM-1 had a steel-tube fuselage with duraluminium and plywood skinning.[4] This aircraft, powered by two Mikulin AM-5 turbojets first flew on 7 April 1959.[3] Based on the results of these trials, the RSR was redesigned (as the R-020) to make it more manoeuvrable at high altitude (it was proposed to carry out barrel rolls to avoid surface-to-air missiles).[5] More conventional Tumansky R-11 turbojets (the engine used in the MiG-21) replaced the unavailable Soloviev turbofans. Five R-020 airframes were virtually complete, only awaiting engines by April 1961, with another 10 planned, when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev cancelled the program.

Specifications (R-020)

Data from Soviet X-Planes,[6] The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995[7]

General characteristics


See also

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era



  1. ^ a b c Butowski 1998. p. 39–40.
  2. ^ Gunston 1995, p. 376.
  3. ^ a b Gunston 1995, p. 377.
  4. ^ Air International February 1977, p. 98.
  5. ^ Tsybin R-020. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  6. ^ Gordon, Yefim; Gunston, Bill (2000). Soviet X-Planes. Hinkley: Midland. pp. 191–192. ISBN 978-1-85780-099-9.
  7. ^ Gunston 1995, p. 378.
  8. ^ a b Tsybin NM-1. Retrieved 28 February 2008.


  • Butowski, Piotr. "Steps Towards 'Blackjack': Soviet supersonic intercontinental bombers before the Tu-144". Air Enthusiast. No. 73, January - February 1998. Stamford, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing. Page 36-49. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Gunston, Bill. The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875 - 1995. London: Osprey, 1995. ISBN 1-85532-405-9.
  • "Plane Facts:Soviet strategic reconnaissance". Air International, February 1977, Vol 12 No 2. Bromley, UK:Fine Scroll. p. 98.