by Tim Wing
The Tupolev Tu-95 (UEDF reporting name: “Bear”) was a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the Soviet Union in 1956 and all the way through to the Invid Invasion. A development of the bomber for maritime patrol was designated Tu-142.
The aircraft had four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines, each driving contra-rotating propellers. It was the only propeller-powered strategic bomber to serve in the post war period. The tips of the propeller-blades move faster than the speed of sound, making it one of the noisiest military aircraft ever produced. Its distinctive swept-back wings are at a 35° angle. Though obviously not suited to low altitude penetration, the Bear excelled as a long range, high endurance missile carrier.
After the First Robotech War, the majority of the surviving Bear fleet were converted to be powered by protoculture fired reflex furnaces. This gave the both the bomber variant (Tu-95RP, RP standing for the Russian word for reflex furnace: рефлекс печи/reflex pechi) and the maritime variant (Tu-142RP) a range limited only by the endurance of the crew and certain sub-systems. These planes were a common sight in the skies over the arctic regions and the world’s oceans where they were on station almost constantly.
- Role: Strategic bomber, missile carrier, airborne surveillance
- National origin: Soviet Union
- Manufacturer: Tupolev
- First flight: 12 November 1952
- Introduction: 1956
- Status: In service
- In service dates: 1956-2031
- Primary users: EBSIS (Soviet Air Forces, Soviet Navy, Cuban Air Force)
- Produced: 1952–1994
- Number built: 500+
- Variants: Tupolev Tu-114 passenger airliner, Tupolev Tu-142 maritime patrol, Tupolev Tu-95RP reflex furnace-powered
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Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing