The aircraft we present today is the Tupolev Tu-95 with NATO Designation Bear. The Tupolev Tu-95 is serving the Russian Air Force as their large-sized and for the engine, turboprop-powered bomber and missile aircraft. The aircraft first flew back in 1952 and entered the service of the Soviet Union back in 1956. The magnificence of the aircraft’s design is evident from this very fact that it is expected to serve Russia’s Aerospace Forces well into 2040.
A variant of the Tupolev Tu-95 was created as a maritime patrol bomber which was given the designation Tu-142 whereas one variant for serving the role of passenger airliner was also created and was named as Tu-114.
The Tupolev Tu-95 is equipped with 4 of the Kuznetsov NK-12 engines along with its contra-rotating propellers. This marks the Tupolev Tu-95 to be the only bomber aircraft in the world to be propeller-powered and also the loudest of any military bombers in the world. The reason for the loud sound of the Tupolev Tu-95 is that its propellers rotate faster than the speed of the sound.
For our readers, we have compiled a list of many amazing facts about the Tupolev Tu-95 aka the Bear.
Design that serves even today:-
The Soviet Union first created the Tu-4 but it was nothing more than a cheap and unlicensed copy of the American made Boeing B-29 Superfortress, one of which Soviets captured when it fell on their soils back during the World War II after suffering a Japanese raid.
Soviet Union engineers were able to dissect the B-29 that they had to come up with their own version of a strategic bomber and made the very first Tu-80; a conventional propeller-driven aircraft which then led to birth of Tu-85. Still, none of these two earlier models could compare with the power of the Tupolev Tu-95. The abilities of this turboprop-powered bomber are evident trough the fact that it is still serving the Russian Air Force.
The very first flight for the prototype of Tupolev Tu-95 occurred back on 12th November 1952. The prototype featured a design with a lengthy and tubular fuselage that had high mounted swept-back wings. Each of the wings had a pair of these turboprops which drove 2 of the 4-blade propellers.
As for the cockpit, it was built in a fashion that the pilot was able to see all of the 4 engines while sitting. As for the nose of the Tupolev Tu-95, it was glazed to assist the bomber crew. This aircraft was powered by 3 of the Kuznetsov 2TV-2F turboprops that gave it enough lift to carry with it an ordinance load of 20000 lbs.
The Tupolev Tu-95 passed through Covet Union’s all of the requisite evaluations and testing to enter the mass production as well as an introduction into the Soviet Union’s Air Force back in 1956. The mass production for the Tupolev Tu-95 started back in 1952 and it went on until 1994. Between this time span, nearly 500 of the Tu-95s were manufactured both by the Soviet Union and later by Russia. After getting its proper recognition from NATO, the aircraft was designated with nickname Bear.
Trainer and Reconnaissance Variant of Tupolev Tu-95:-
Tupolev Tu-95 was a large and expensive piece of aviation technology. This is why it required for its training platforms dedicated aircraft in order to train future generations for the Bear’s crewmembers and pilots. This allowed for the creation of the Tupolev Tu-95U trainer aircraft that was made from the prototypes of Tu-95 and the Tu-95M. These two airframes were sued due to them losing their weapons delivery and the bombing bays.
In addition to the creation of a training variant, the Soviet Union also created a variant that was dedicated to the Maritime Reconnaissance which was designated as Tu-95MR and the NATO Designation of it was Bear-E. The designing of the model started back in 1960 when a need for such an aircraft arose and the testings started back in 1961. The bombing bay of the Tupolev Tu-95 was replaced by the equipment like Photographic camera along with various other electronic equipment specialized for data collection. This airframe also had on its tail the faring and a probe and it entered the service officially for the Soviet Union back in 1964.
Ukraine Gave back the Tu-95s to Russia in debt compensation:-
After the Cold War ended and with it also the Soviet Union, the large stock of the Tupolev Tu-95s fell into the hands of Ukraine. Still, all of these Tupolev Tu-95s were then returned back to Russia in exchange for debt compensation which arises from the gas deliveries to Ukraine from Russia. At the current moment, the Russian Air Force is operating nearly 50 of the Tupolev Tu-95 Bears in ready status. There is a belief that nearly 60 more of these bombers are also available in secrecy. As for Ukraine, it no longer operates any Tupolev Tu-95.
Tu-95 transformed to Tu-142:-
The design of the Tupolev Tu-95 allowed for the Russian Aeronautical engineers to develop a new variant that is currently serving the Russian Navy as their maritime Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft. The aircraft has the name Tu-142 while its NATO designation is Bear-F/-J.
This Tu-142’s production was started back in 1972 and since then nearly 100 of these have been created so far. They are currently in service of the Russian Navy, Indian Navy and at one time they also served for the Ukrainian air force.
It has been fitted with 4 of the Kuznetsov NK-12MP turboprop engines that allow it to have 14795 HP.
Speed and Range:-
As for the standard Tupolev Tu-95 aircraft, it is powered by 4 of the Kuznetsov NK-P 12M turboprop engines. These engines allow its contra-rotating propeller to create a force of 15000 HP. This much power is able to propel the aircraft for a top speed of 531 mph while flying at an altitude of 36089 feet for a range of 7456 miles.
A standard Tupolev Tu-95 is equipped with 1 or 2 of the 23 mm AM-23 cannons in its tail unit. As for the additional ordinance carrying capacity, the aircraft can easily hold in about 20000 lbs worth of weapons.
The Tupolev Tu-95 has been made to provide the support for the air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles launchers as well as underwing hardpoints. Another weapon that the Tupolev Tu-95 can carry and deploy includes are the anti-ship missiles along with precision-guided munitions.