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Tupolev Tu-95 & Tu-142


tu95ms01.jpg (21878 bytes)

Country of origin: Russia
Type: Strategic bomber (Tu-95) and maritime patrol platform (TU-142)

Powerplants: Tu-95MS - Four 11,035kW (14,795ehp) KKBM Kuznetsov NK-1 2MV turboprops, driving eight blade counter rotating propellers.

Performance: Tu-95MS - Max speed at 25,000ft 925km/h (500kt), at sea level 650km/h (350kt), cruising speed 710km/h (385kt). Ceiling 39,370ft. Radius with a 11,340kg (25,000lb) payload 6400km (3455nm). Weights: Tu-95MS - Empty 120,000kg (264,550lb), max takeoff 187,000kg (412,258lb).

Dimensions: Tu-95MS - Wing span 50.04m (1 64ft 2in), length 49.13m (161ft 2in), height 13.30m (43ft 8in). Wing area 289.9ml (3120sq ft). Accommodation: Seven crew - two pilots, comms operator, nav/ defensive systems operator, flight engineer, navigator and tail gunner.

Armament Tu-95MS - Up to six Kh-55 (AS-1 5A 'Kent') cruise missiles on a rotary launcher in the bomb bay.

Operators: Tu-95 - Russia, Ukraine. Tu-142 - India, Russia.

History: The massive Tu-95 was first developed in the early 1950s when the turboprop offered the best compromise between speed and range.

The Tu-95 (NATO reporting name 'Bear') was developed around the 8950kW (12,000shp) Kuznetsov NK-12 turboprop and the fuselage cross section originally introduced on the Tu-4 'Bull', the USSR's unlicensed copy of the B-29 Superfortress. The engines deliver their power through eight blade counter rotating propellers, while the wings, unique for a propeller driven aircraft, are swept. The Tu-95's unique powerplant/airframe combination gives it a top speed over Mach 0.8, while its massive internal fuel capacity and the relative efficiency of the turboprops gives intercontinental range.

The prototype Tu-95 flew for the first time on November 12 1952. Initial production was of the Tu-95M 'Bear-N high altitude freefall nuclear bomber (now withdrawn from use). Some were converted as Tu95U crew trainers. Tu-95Ms were converted to Kh-20 (AS-3 'Kangaroo') cruise missile launching Tu-95K-20 'Bear-B' standard with a nose mounted radar. The Tu-95KD was similar but had an in-flight refuelling probe. The similar Tu-95KM 'Bear-C' (thought to be new build aircraft) had an in-flight refuelling probe, Elint antennas and some reconnaissance sensors. The Tu-95K-22 'Bear-G' had a revised radome profile and carried two Kh-22 (AS-4 'Kitchen') missiles, one under each wing root. The final bomber variant was the Tu-95MS 'Bear-H', developed specifically to carry the Kh-55 (AS-15A 'Kent') and based on the Tu-142's airframe, and was built from 1983.

Surplus Tu-95M bombers were converted to maritime reconnaissance Tu-95RT 'Bear-D' and Tu-95MR 'Bear-E' configurations. The Tu-95RT has an undernose radome and was used for missile mid course guidance and reconnaissance duties, while the Tu-95MR has various cameras in the bomb bay.

The Tu-142 is a dedicated ASW platform developed from the Tu-95. The Tu-142 'Bear-F features a slight fuselage stretch and a maritime search radar in a ventral radome. It carries sonobuoys, torpedoes and mines. The later Tu-142M 'Bear-F Mod 2' introduced a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD) on top of the tail. The Tu-142MR 'Bear-Y is used as a submarine communications relay."

(source: International Directory of Military Aircraft 1998-1999)

" Long range bomber

Developed as the Tu-95, placed in service as the Tu-20 but now known universally as the Tu-95, the plane known to NATO as the "Bear" was designed as a strategic bomber. Planned as a technically less demanding fallback in case the Myasishchev M-4 failed, it has proved far more successful through its combination of a high-speed airframe and four turboprops.

The massive Tu-95 is powered by four turboprop engines driving eight-blade, contra-rotating propellers. First flight was in 1954 and it entered the Soviet Strategic Air Force in 1955. Naval use began in 1961 with the B version. Production continued into the 1990s, and there were 200+ in use in 1990.

Long life

In spite of its seeming obsolesce, the Tu-95 has been a first-line aircraft for many years and has been constantly updated. The first maritime version, the "Bear-B", was fitted with a large search radar and carried a "Kangaroo" anti-ship missile. Later versions were fitted with updated avionics, refuelling probes and were armed with different kinds of missiles. The "Bear-H" is a derivative of the Tu- 142 but with the short fuselage of the "Bear-B" model, and the "Bear-J" appears to be a naval communications/command model.

Principal versions

Tu-95 "Bear-A" strategic bombers; Tu-95 "Bear

B" (maritime strike); Tu-95 "Bear-C" (maritime reconnaissance); Tu-95 "Bear-D" (maritime reconnaissance and missile support); Tu-95 "Bear-E" (maritime reconnaissance); Tu-142 "Bear-F" (anti-submarine warfare); Tu-95 "Bear-G" (maritime reconnaissance and strike); Tu-142 "Bear-H" (cruise-missile carrier with eight missiles); Tu-95 "Bear-J" (communications relay).

Principal Users

India, USSR


Type: Tu-95 "Bear-A" 10-seat long-range bomber and reconnaissance plane.

Engines: four, 14,800 shp ( 11,035-kW) Kuznetsov NKI 2MV turboprops.

Performance: maximum speed 575 mph (925 km/h) at 24,335 ft (7,500 in); climb to 16,405 ft (4.000 m) in 13 minutes; service ceiling 44,290 ft (13,500 in); unrefuelled radius 4,600 miles (7,400 kin).

Weight: empty 189,694 lb (86,000kg); maximum take-off 339.947 lb (154,200kg)

Dimensions: span 167 ft 7.75 in (51.10 in); length 155 ft 10 in (47.50 in); height 39ft 9.2 in(12. 12 in); wing area 3,342.3 sq ft (310.5 m2)

Armament: six 23-mm cannon, in three turrets and up to 44,090 lb (20,000 kg) of bombs or other disposable stores."

(source: Translation and adaptation of an unreferenced Russian source by Edito-Service SA, Geneva, 1988, 1990)

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