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Burya La-350
Buran RSS-40

A design for an experimental cruise missile (EKR) with a cruising speed of Mach 3 and a range of 1,300km was developed at the OKB of S. Korolev in 1951-53. It was to consist of a booster with [liquid-fueled rocket engines (derived from the R-11 rocket with storable fuel) and a cruising stage with a supersonic ramjet engine (SPVRD) developed by the OKB of M. Bondaryuk. The technical challenges of intercontinental cruise missiles (MKRs) were not as great as those for ballistic missiles of such long range. A celestial navigation system could provide adequate accuracy for hitting targets.

On 20 May 1954 a ministerial decree authorized the development of two parallel projects. The Burya was assigned to the OKB of S. Lavochkin [which had experience in supersonic fighters], and the Buran was the project of the OKB of V. Myasishchev [which was established to develop long-range bombers]. Myasishchev's Buran was designed for a larger warhead than the Burya, and had a large takeoff mass and thrust. The work of the Lavochkin on the Burya OKB moved quickly, and by 1956, when the Myasishchev OKB was finishing the design engineering of the Buran, the first models of Lavochkin's Burya had already been created.

The flights of the Burya began in July 1957, at the same time as the flight testing of the R-7 ICBM developed by the Korolev OKB. The Soviet leadership decided soon afterward to curtail the work on the Buran. The final flight of the Burya was conducted on 16 December 1960, following which further work was discontinued.

Although the source of the information is uncertain, American publications beginning around 1960 made reference to a "large winged antipodal T-4A bomber under development in the USSR," and even included drawings. However, by the mid-1960s all references in the open literature to such projects vanished, suggesting that such projects were merely Cold War rumors. The fact of the existence of these projects was not confirmed in the open literature until the end of the Cold War, and the provenance of the early reports remains obscure.


Characteristics NavahoBuryaBuran
Launch mass, tonnes66.296125
Mass of warhead, tonnes2.252.193.50
Total length of system, meters25.119.924.0
Length, meters23.118.919.1
Diameter of body, meters1.831.451.20
Thrust at launch, tonnes of force128.452 x 68.614 x 55
Fuel Components:
oxidizerliquid oxygennitric acidliquid oxygen
combustibleethyl alcoholamineskerosene
Cruising Stage:
Length, meters20.718.023.3
Diameter of body, meters1.832.202.40
Wingspan, meters8.727.7511.6
Wing area, meters238.96098
Number of SPVRDs211
Diameter of SPVRDs, meters1.221.702.00
Cruising thrust, tonnes of force2 x 3.947.6510.6
Maximum range of flight, km5,4008,5008,500
Cruising altitude of flight, km22-2418-2018-20
Cruising speed of flight, Mach3.253.103.10
Start of development195019541954
Date of start of flight testing6 Nov 561 Jul 57
Total number of launches1117
of which, failed103
Date of end of flight testing18 Oct 5816 Dec 60
Shutdown of projectJuly 1957December 1960

Sources and Resources

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