Tu-95 Bear Bomber

The Tu-95 is the world's only swept-wing turboprop ever to enter service. Its distinct engines, each with two counter-rotating propellers, also make the Bear the fastest propeller-driven airplane ever built.

The original Tu-95 was designed to carry two nuclear bombs to targets in the continental US.

Later versions carried cruise missiles for long-ange stand-off missions. The Bear has also been used for reconnaissance, especially by the Soviet/Russian Navy which used the aircraft to locate US aircraft carrier task forces.

A specialized variant of the Bear is the Tu-142 dedicated to maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare. Over 300 Bears were built.
  Related Aircraft:
Chinese J15, Chinese J20,
F-35 JSF, F/A-18E/F, F-22

The significance of the Soviet era Kh-55SM should not be underestimated. This is the most capable strategic cruise missile in service globally, other than the US AGM-86B ALCM and BGM-109B Tomahawk. It is the backbone of the Russian air launched nuclear deterrent, equipping the Tu-95MS Bear H and Tu-160 Blackjack A bombers. Russian sources claim that Raduga's early work on these weapons was opposed by many Russian experts who were deeply sceptical of the viability of such a complex new weapon.

The Kh-55 family of weapons most closely resemble the early US BGM-109 Tomahawk in concept, using a cylindrical fuselage with pop out planar wings, unfolding tail control surfaces, and a ventral turbofan engine, with guidance provided by a TERrain COntour Matching (TERCOM) aided inertial navigation system.

Jul 8, 2011, 11:03 GMT Moscow - The Japanese air force scrambled jet fighters to intercept a pair of Russian naval bombers patrolling over the northeast Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, Russian officials said Friday. The two Tu-95 turboprop bombers remained in international air space for their entire 11-hour flight, according to Defence MInistry spokesman Vladimir Drik. Japan sent two-fighter pairs of F-15 and F-2 aircraft to intercept and then escort the Russian bombers over portions of the flight, and there was no conflict between the two sides, Drik said, the Interfax news agency reported.
8 Sep 2011, Japanís defense ministry said two Russian long-range bomber TU-95 bomber, at 6:00 on the 8th around Nagasaki Prefecture, Tsushima Strait from the east close to Japanese airspace, the western Kyushu, Okinawa flying north to south towards the Pacific Ocean surrounding the Northern Territory, around the whole Japanís airspace airspace around the circle, the flight time up to 14 hours. Japan Air Self Defense Force for fear of its violation of Japanese airspace, was scrambled to intercept. After the bomber near the island in the country with two aerial refueling convergence, and then toward the northeast Hokkaido training airspace. After refueling in the air, through the Soya Strait, flying south to east and then turn on the horse, flew to the island country after the second after at Eight oíclock flight back.
In July 2007, two Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft headed towards Scotland and were met by UK RAF Tornado aircraft. In August 2007, two Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft flew towards a US air and naval exercise near the US military base at Guam. That same month, two UK RAF Typhoon aircraft were scrambled to intercept a Russian Air Force Tu-95 over the North Atlantic.

Tu-20 Original designation for the Tu-95/Tu-142 aircraft
Tu-95/1, Tu-95/2 Prototypes
Tu-95M 'Bear-A' First production model carrying two nuclear bombs
Tu-95U 'Bear-A' Trainer version based on the Tu-95M
Tu-95K Experimental model used to drop MiG-19 aircraft in flight in order to test systems for the Kh-20 missile
Tu-95K-20 'Bear-B' Updated version armed with the Kh-20/AS-3 'Kangaroo' missile and featuring a large, flat nose radar
Tu-95M-5 Model armed with the Kh-26/AS-6 'Kingfish' missile
Tu-95KD Armed with the Kh-20 missile and equipped with an in-flight refueling probe on the nose
Tu-95KM 'Bear-C' Similar to 'Bear-B'
Tu-95RT 'Bear-D' Maritime reconnaissance model with multi-sensor pallets; 45 built
Tu-95MR 'Bear-E' Maritime reconnaissance model with seven cameras located in the weapon bay
Tu-95K-22 'Bear-G' Re-built 'Bear-B' and 'Bear-C' airframes with new avionics and armed with the Kh-22/AS-4 'Kitchen' missile
Tu-95M-55 Missile carrier, details unknown
Tu-95MS 'Bear-H' Armed with the Kh-55/AS-15 'Kent' cruise missile
Tu-95MS-6 Armed with six Kh-55 missiles
Tu-95MS-16 Armed with 16 Kh-55 missiles
Tu-95MR 'Bear-J' Believed to be a communications relay aircraft
Tu-96 High-speed development aircraft, details unknown
Tu-119 Experimental design to test a nuclear-powered engine, converted from a Tu-95M
Tu-142 'Bear-F' Maritime version introduced in the late 1960s with a longer fuselage and improved engines; 50 built
Tu-142M 'Bear-F' Maritime version exported to India; 11 built
Tu-142 Mod 1 Tu-142 variant with a slightly different external shape
Tu-142M Mod 2 Model with a longer fuselage and a new infrared probe
Tu-142M Mod 3 Model with a new magnetic anomaly detector (MAD)
Tu-142M Mod 4 Model with multi-sensor antennae and electronic warfare equipment
Tu-142LL Test aircraft converted from a Tu-142M Mod 3 and used to test engines

Appearance of Tu-95 at July 1955 Aviation Display at Tushino put western observers at a loss. A combination of propellers and swept wing and tail surfaces seemed to be inappropriate and early analysis of Bear's performance resulted in unrealistically downplayed bomber's performance. Western experiments with supersonic propellers flown on XF-84H and XF-88B have shown considerable loss in performance of the high-rotating propeller when tips were reaching supersonic speeds.
First DoD estimates shown that Bear was not capable of exceeding 400 mph with range of 7,800 miles. Appearance of Tu-114 (demilitarized version of bomber with slightly greater fuselage diameter) force DoD to review its numbers on Bear: 460 mph and max. range of 6,000 miles. In April of 1960 Tu-114D set a speed-with-load record at average of over 545 mph round 5,000 miles.

In 1975 the figure for range changed to 7,800 miles and currently it is believed to be 9,200 miles with 25,000 lb load. Level speed was admitted to be 570 mph (Mach 0.82) at 25,000 ft and 520 mph (Mach 0.785) at 41,000 ft. Cruising speed of Tu-95 is 442 mph (Mach 0.67). Later versions with more powerful engines have higher performance.

Max. speed at 25,000 ft 575 mph, at S/L 404 mph, nominal cruising speed 442 mph, ceiling 39,370 ft, combat radius with 25,000 lb payload 3,975 miles, with one in-flight refueling 5,155 miles.

It is rumored that Bear is known to be able to out accelerate contemporary western interceptors. This hard to believe fact can be accounted by use of variable-pitch propellers of NK-12M turboprops. Modern jets need to use afterburners to keep up with accelerating Bear. In fact, one of the photo showing Panavia Toronado using reheat on one of the engines while pursuing this remarkable bomber.

Presumably, Bear holds an unofficial speed record for a prop-driven aircraft...

Continue reading: Tu-95 bomber / Tu-142


Related airplanes:

B52 bomber
B2 bomber
Tu160 bomber


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