Ground-Attack Aircraft Proposal
The Moskalev SAM-23 of 1943 was drawn up as a potential dedicated ground-attack platform armed through machine guns, cannon, and rockets.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Alexsandr A. Moskalev never found the level of success that his Soviet World War 2-era (1939-1945) peers found - most of his forward-thinking designs ended their days as mere "paper airplanes". Plenty of contributions were apparent, however, and these ranged from the SAM-1 sesquiplane monoplane fighter of 1930 to the SAM-28 motorized glider of 1943. In-between there lay a plethora of design forms that included the "SAM-23", a single-seat, single-engine ground-attack aircraft of unique design form appearing during the fighting of World War 2 in 1943.
NOTE: The "SAM-23" designation was also used for a later troop-carrying glider of 1944. While incorporating a twin-boom layout, it held a boxy fuselage and was its own design apart from the SAM-23 ground-attack platform detailed in this article.
The aircraft was given a centralized nacelle making up the fuselage and housing the avionics, cockpit, and propulsion system while the tail section was made up of a twin-boom configuration. The single-seat cockpit was positioned just aft of the rounded nose section and covered over in a framed canopy. Views to the rear were obstructed by the raised dorsal spine as well as the wing mainplanes, which were shoulder-mounted atop the fuselage. The engine was seated aft and above the pilot's position in "pusher" configuration and set to drive a simple two-bladed propeller unit - pushing air between the two tail booms. The booms were joined at the aft-end of the aircraft by a single horizontal plane which, rather interestingly, mounted only a single vertical tail fin (two outboard planes were typical of such designs). The undercarriage was fixed and of a tail-dragger arrangement, incorporating two large main wheels forward and a small single wheel aft.
Drive power was to come from 1 x Mikulin M-11 series engine offering 150 horsepower.
One of the more interesting aspects the aircraft was a retracting tail wheel skid that is explained as a rudimentary terrain-following device, lowered and raised as needed.
The aircraft was proposed with armament comprised of 2 x 20mm ShVAK autocannons as well as 2 x 7.62mm ShKAS machine guns to go along with support for up to 4 x RS-82 air-to-surface rockets. This would have given it considerable killing power for the period, certainly suitable for ground-attack sorties against German convoys and static postions.
Like other Moskalev designs of the period, the radical SAM-23 proposal was not advanced.