Tupolev Tu-4

The Tupolev Tu-4 (Russian: Туполев Ту-4; NATO reporting name: Bull) is a piston-engined Soviet strategic bomber that served the Soviet Air Force from the late 1940s to mid-1960s. It was reverse-engineered from the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress.

Tupolev Tu-4 at Monino Central Air Force Museum, Moscow
Role Strategic bomber
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Tupolev
First flight 19 May 1947
Introduction 1949
Retired 1988 (China)
Status retired
Primary users Soviet Air Force
PLA Air Force
Produced 1949–1952
Number built 847
Developed from Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Variants Tupolev Tu-80
Developed into Tupolev Tu-70
Tupolev Tu-75
Tupolev Tu-85

Design and development

Toward the end of World War II, the Soviet Union saw the need for a strategic bombing capability similar to that of the United States Army Air Forces. The Soviet VVS air arm had the locally designed Petlyakov Pe-8 four-engined "heavy" in service at the start of the war, but only 93 had been built by the end of the war and the type had become obsolete. The U.S. regularly conducted bombing raids on Japan, from distant Pacific forward bases using B-29 Superfortresses. Joseph Stalin ordered the development of a comparable bomber.

The U.S. twice refused to supply the Soviet Union with B-29s under Lend Lease.[1][2] However, on four occasions during 1944, individual B-29s made emergency landings in Soviet territory and one crashed after the crew bailed out.[3] In accordance with the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact, the Soviets were neutral in the Pacific War and the bombers were therefore interned and kept by the Soviets. Despite Soviet neutrality, the U.S. demanded the return of the bombers, but the Soviets refused.[4] Three repairable B-29s were flown to Moscow and delivered to the Tupolev OKB. One B-29 was dismantled, the second was used for flight tests and training, and the third one was left as a standard for cross-reference.[5] The aircraft included one Boeing-Wichita −5-BW, two Boeing-Wichita −15-BWs and the wreckage of one Boeing-Renton −1-BN – three different models from two different production lines (respectively Wichita and Renton factories). Only one of the four had de-icing boots as used on the Tu-4.[6] The fourth B-29 was returned to the US along with its crew with the end of the Russo-Japanese entente following the Soviet declaration of war against Japan two days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, in accordance with the Yalta agreement.[7]

Stalin told Tupolev to clone the Superfortress in as short a time as possible instead of continuing with his own comparable ANT-64/Tu-10.[8] The reverse-engineering effort involved 900 factories and research institutes, which finished the design work during the first year; 105,000 drawings were made.[9] By the end of the second year, the Soviet industry was to produce 20 copies of the aircraft, ready for State acceptance trials.[10]

The Soviet Union used the metric system, so sheet aluminium in thicknesses matching the B-29's imperial measurements were unavailable. The corresponding metric-gauge metal was of different thicknesses. Alloys and other materials new to the Soviet Union had to be brought into production. Extensive re-engineering had to take place to compensate for the differences, and Soviet official strength margins had to be decreased to avoid further redesign,[11] yet despite these challenges, the prototype Tu-4 weighed only about 340 kg (750 lb) more than the B-29, a difference of less than 1%.[12]

The engineers and suppliers of components were under pressure from Tupolev, Stalin, and the government to create an exact clone of the original B-29 to facilitate production and Tupolev had to overcome substantial resistance in favor of using equipment that was not only already in production but in some cases better than the American version.[13] Each alteration (and every component made) was scrutinized and was subject to a lengthy bureaucratic process. Kerber, Tupolev's deputy at the time, recalled in his memoirs that engineers needed authorization from a high-ranking general to use Soviet-made parachutes.[5] Differences were limited to the engines, the defensive weapons, the radio (a later model used in lend-lease B-25s was used in place of the radio in the interned B-29s) and the identification friend or foe (IFF) system – the American IFF being unsuitable.[14] The Soviet Shvetsov ASh-73 engine was a development of the Wright R-1820 but was not otherwise related to the B-29's Wright R-3350[15] The ASh-73 also powered some of Aeroflot's remaining obsolescent Petlyakov Pe-8 airframes, a much earlier Soviet four-engined heavy bomber whose production was curtailed by higher priority programs. The B-29's remote-controlled gun turrets were redesigned to accommodate the Soviet Nudelman NS-23, a harder hitting and longer ranged 23 mm cannon.[16] Additional changes were made as a result of problems encountered during testing, related to engine and propeller failures[17] and equipment changes were made throughout the aircraft's service life.[18]

The Tu-4 first flew on 19 May 1947, piloted by test pilot Nikolai Rybko.[19] Serial production started immediately, and the type entered large-scale service in 1949. Entry into service of the Tu-4 threw the USAF into a panic, since the Tu-4 possessed sufficient range to attack Chicago or Los Angeles on a one-way mission, and this may have informed the maneuvers and air combat practice conducted by US and British air forces in 1948 involving fleets of B-29s.[20] The tests were conducted by the RAF Central Fighter Establishment and co-operative US B-29 groups, and involved demonstration of recommended methods of attack against B-29/Tu 4-type bombers using RAF Gloster Meteor and de Havilland Vampire jet fighters. The Russians developed four different midair refueling systems to extend the bomber's range, but these were fitted to only a few aircraft and only a small number of the final design was installed on operational aircraft before the Tu-4 was superseded by the Tu-16.[21]

First public appearance

The aircraft was first displayed during a flyover at the Aviation Day parade on 3 August 1947 at the Tushino Airport in Moscow. Three aircraft flew overhead. It was assumed that these were merely the three B-29 bombers that were known to have been diverted to the USSR during World War II. Minutes later a fourth aircraft appeared. Western analysts realized that the Soviets must have reverse-engineered the B-29.[22] The appearance of an obviously Superfortress-derived Tu-70 transport over the crowd removed any doubt about the success of the reverse-engineering.

Operational history

A total of 847 Tu-4s had been built when production ended in the Soviet Union in 1952, some going to China during the later 1950s. Many experimental variants were built and the valuable experience launched the Soviet strategic bomber program. Tu-4s were withdrawn in the 1960s, being replaced by more advanced aircraft including the Tupolev Tu-16 jet bomber (starting in 1954) and the Tupolev Tu-95 turboprop bomber (starting in 1956). By the beginning of the 1960s, the only Tu-4s still operated by the Soviets were used for transport or airborne laboratory purposes. A Tu-4A was the first Soviet aircraft to drop a nuclear weapon, the RDS-1.[23]


Tu-4 at China Aviation Museum
main production version, originally designated B-4
Tu-4 Variants without special designations:
Tu-4 ELINT and ECM[24]
Tu-4 mothership for the DFS 346A.[25](Note:other DFS346 prototypes were carried by one of the Boeing B-29s interned during the war).[26]
Tu-4 escort fighter mothership (Project Burlaki)[27]
Tu-4 remotely controlled target drone converted from time expired bombers.[25]
Tu-4 fuel carrier[28]
Tu-4 in-flight refuelling testbeds (four different systems were trialled)[29]
Tu-4 radiation reconnaissance aircraft[30]
Tu-4 communications relay aircraft[30]
nuclear capable bomber used to test Soviet RDS-1 RDS-3 and RDS-5 nuclear bombs. The standard Tu-4 was not capable of carrying these weapons.[31]
troop transport (300 conversions).[32] Also known as Tu-76.
anti-shipping version, armed with KS-1 Komet missiles carried between the engines under the wings.[33]
engine testbed for the Mikulin AM-3 jet engine, the Ivchenko AI-20, Kuznetsov NK-4 and Kuznetsov 2TV-2F turboprop engines, the Dobrynin VD-3K radial engine and AV-28 contra-rotating propellers.[34]
drone launcher aircraft with Lavochkin La-17 unmanned aerial vehicles carried underwing[35]
long-range reconnaissance.[36]
paratroop transport (one example only)[37]
liquid oxygen tanker aircraft.[28]
navigational trainer.[38]
testbed for Myasishchev M-4 to develop a bicycle-type landing gear.[25]
testbed for Myasishchev M-4 powered controls.[39]
KJ-1 at China Aviation Museum, Beijing
Chinese prototype with KJ-1 AEWC, "AWACS" radar and powered by Ivchenko AI-20K turboprop engines.[40] Two converted to allow the Chinese to monitor US nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific.[41]
Airliner derivative, never reached mass production.
Cargo aircraft derivative, never reached mass production.
Tu-4 powered by M-49TK engines.
Long-range bomber derivative, never reached mass production.
Long-range heavy bomber derivative, never reached mass production.
Tu-4 powered by Kuznetsov TV-2 turboprop engines.


 Soviet Union

The Soviet Air Force operated 847 Tupolev Tu-4 bombers between 1948 and early 1960.[42] They were initially used as long-range bombers. In 1954 the Soviets began phasing out the Tu-4 as units upgraded to Tupolev Tu-16 bombers and, beginning in 1956, to Tupolev Tu-95 bombers. Tu-4s withdrawn from front line units were used for transport duties.[43]

 People's Republic of China

On 28 February 1953, Joseph Stalin gave China ten Tu-4 heavy bombers,and in 1960 two additional aircraft configured as navigational trainers arrived in Beijing. 11 Tu-4s were refitted with AI-20K turboprop engines between 1970 and 1973. The last PLAAF Tu-4 retired in 1988.

In 1969, China developed its first airborne early warning aircraft based on the Tu-4 airframe. The project was named KJ-1 and mounted a Type 843 rotodome above the fuselage of the aircraft. However, due to clutter noise the KJ-1 failed to meet the PLAAF's requirements. The project was canceled in 1979 although further projects were proposed based on Tu-4 platform.[44] The airframe was already obsolete however and the Tu-4 was ruled out for future developments. The single prototype is displayed at the PLAAF museum north of Beijing.


WuZhen-5 under the wing of an aircraft carrier - 2
China Aviation Museum, Tupolev Tu-4.
Tupolev Tu-4 at Monino
Tu-4 4114 (c/n 2805601), ex-KJ-1 AEWC, "4114"
Stored at Datangshan, China [45][46]
Tu-4 4134 (c/n 2205008), "4134"
Stored at Datangshan, China [47]
Tu-4 unknown (c/n 2805103), "01"
Stored at the Central Air Force Museum, Monino, Russia [48]

Specifications (Tu-4)

Data from Tupolev Tu-4 Soviet Superfortress[49]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 11
  • Length: 30.179 m (99 ft 0 in)
  • Wingspan: 43.047 m (141 ft 3 in)
  • Height: 8.46 m (27 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 161.7 m2 (1,741 sq ft)
  • Aspect ratio: 11.5
  • Empty weight: 36,850 kg (81,240 lb)
  • Gross weight: 47,850 kg (105,491 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 55,600 kg (122,577 lb) – 63,600 kg (140,214 lb)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Shvetsov ASh-73TK 18-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engines, 1,790 kW (2,400 hp) each
  • Propellers: 4-bladed V3-A3 or V3B-A5, 5.06 m (16 ft 7 in) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 558 km/h (347 mph, 301 kn) at 10,250 m (33,629 ft)
  • Range: 5,400 km (3,400 mi, 2,900 nmi) at 3,000 m (9,843 ft) with 63,600 kg (140,214 lb) take-off weight including 3,000 kg (6,614 lb) of bombs and 10% fuel reserves
  • Service ceiling: 11,200 m (36,700 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 4.6 m/s (910 ft/min) at 1,000 m (3,281 ft)
  • Time to altitude: 5,000 m (16,404 ft) in 18.2 minutes
  • Wing loading: 400 kg/m2 (82 lb/sq ft)
  • Power/mass: 0.11 kW/kg



See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists



  1. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.3
  2. ^ "Aircraft Deliveries." airforce.ru. Retrieved: 21 September 2007.
  3. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.8-10
  4. ^ "Soviet Union Impounds and Copies B-29." National Museum of the USAF. Retrieved: 17 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b Kerber, Leonid. "Tu-4 bomber epic". militera.lib.ru: a compilation of articles published in 1988–1990 (in Russian). Retrieved: 29 December 2009.
  6. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.9-10
  7. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.11
  8. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.14
  9. ^ Jelinek, Pauline (25 January 2001). "Report: Soviet Union Copied US Plane". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  10. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.26
  11. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.20
  12. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.24
  13. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.15–25
  14. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.24–25
  15. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.21 & 24
  16. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.25
  17. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.27
  18. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.66–68
  19. ^ Duffy and Kandalov 1996, p. 98.
  20. ^ "Archival RAF film of combat with B-29s." google.com. Retrieved: 29 December 2009.
  21. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.50-53
  22. ^ Dow, James. "Parade." The Arrow. Retrieved: 29 December 2009.
  23. ^ Duffy, 1996, p.98
  24. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.42–43
  25. ^ a b c Gordon, 2002, p.54
  26. ^ Gordon, Yefim; Gunston, Bill (2000). Soviet X-Planes. Hinkley: Midland. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-1-85780-099-9.
  27. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.43–47
  28. ^ a b Gordon, 2002, p.53
  29. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.50–53
  30. ^ a b Gordon, 2002, p.43
  31. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.34–36
  32. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.37&40
  33. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.36–39
  34. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.55–57
  35. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.53, 54 & 57
  36. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.42
  37. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.41
  38. ^ Gordon, 2002, p.42
  39. ^ Gordon, 2002, pp.54–55
  40. ^ "Tu-4." Archived 2008-05-28 at the Wayback Machine simonb6.co.uk. Retrieved: 29 December 2009.
  41. ^ Duffy, 1996, p.99
  42. ^ Nowicki 1994, p. 17.
  43. ^ Rigmant 1996, p. 66.
  44. ^ "Chinese Airborne Early Warning (AEW)." fas.org. Retrieved: 31 July 2011.
  45. ^ Photo of the Tu-4 (c/n 286501) at the FAS.org website
  46. ^ "Photo of the Tu-4 (4114, cn 2806501) AWACS example exhibited in the Datangshan Museum, China." airliners.net. Retrieved: 29 December 2009.
  47. ^ "Photo of the Tu-4 (4134, cn 225008) "missile carrier" exhibited in the Datangshan Museum, China." airliners.net. Retrieved: 29 December 2009.
  48. ^ "Photo of the Tu-4 exhibited in the Central Air Force Museum in Monino, Russia." airliners.net. Retrieved: 29 December 2009.
  49. ^ Gordon, 2002 page 34


  • Bowers, Peter M. Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Stillwater, Minnesota: Voyageur Press, 1999. ISBN 0-933424-79-5.
  • Duffy, Paul and A. I. Kandalov. Tupolev: The Man and his Aircraft. Warrendale, Pennsylvania: SAE, 1996. ISBN 1-56091-899-3.
  • Gordon, Yefim and Vladimir Rigmant. Tupolev Tu-4: Soviet Superfortress. Hinckley, Leicestershire: Midland Counties Publications Ltd., 2002. ISBN 1-85780-142-3.
  • Hess, William N. Great American Bombers of WW II. St. Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International, 1999. ISBN 0-7603-0650-8.
  • Nowicki, Jacek. B-29 Superfortress. Gdansk, Poland: AJ Press, 1994. ISBN 978-83-86208-09-8.
  • Pace, Steve. Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Crowood Press, 2003. ISBN 1-86126-581-6.
  • Rigmant, Vladimir. B-29, Tу-4 – стратегические близнецы – как это было (Авиация и космонавтика 17 (Крылья 4)) (in Russian). Moscow, Russia, 1996.

External links

2K1 Mars

The Mars (NATO reporting name FROG-2, GRAU index 2K1) was a Soviet solid-fuel tactical missile system with a range of 7 to 18 km.

The chief designer was N. P. Mazur.

Weight of launcher: 15 tons, based on PT-76 tank

rocket engine: 3R1

missile diameter: 1.75 m

guidance: by launcher

maximum speed of launcher: 35 km/h

Belaya (air base)

Belaya (ICAO: UIIB) is a significant Long Range Aviation base in Usolsky District, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia located 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of Usolye-Sibirskoye and 85 kilometres (53 mi) northwest of Irkutsk. From 2009 it has sometimes been known as Srednii. It has significant tarmac space and 38 bomber revetments.

The base's bomber fleet, consisting at various times of Tu-16, Tu-22, and Tu-22M aircraft, played a considerable role in Asian strategy. The base was especially important in projecting power against the People's Republic of China following the Sino-Soviet split of the late 1960s.

Berezin B-20

The Berezin B-20 (Березин Б-20) was a 20 mm caliber autocannon used by Soviet aircraft in World War II.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing and flown primarily by the United States during World War II and the Korean War. Named in allusion to its predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the Superfortress was designed for high-altitude strategic bombing but also excelled in low-altitude night incendiary bombing, and in dropping naval mines to blockade Japan. B-29s also dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which contributed to the end of World War II.

One of the largest aircraft of World War II, the B-29 had state-of-the-art technology, including a pressurized cabin; dual-wheeled, tricycle landing gear; and an analog computer-controlled fire-control system that allowed one gunner and a fire-control officer to direct four remote machine gun turrets. The $3 billion cost of design and production (equivalent to $42 billion today)—far exceeding the $1.9 billion cost of the Manhattan Project—made the B-29 program the most expensive of the war.The B-29's advanced design allowed it to remain in service in various roles throughout the 1950s. The type was retired in the early 1960s, after 3,970 had been built.

A few were used as flying television transmitters by the Stratovision company. The Royal Air Force flew the B-29 as the Washington until 1954.

The B-29 was the progenitor of a series of Boeing-built bombers, transports, tankers, reconnaissance aircraft and trainers. The re-engined B-50 Superfortress became the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop, during a 94-hour flight in 1949. The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter airlifter, first flown in 1944, was followed in 1947 by its commercial airliner variant, the Boeing Model 377 Stratocruiser. This bomber-to-airliner derivation was similar to the B-17/Model 307 evolution. In 1948, Boeing introduced the KB-29 tanker, followed in 1950 by the Model 377-derivative KC-97. A line of outsized-cargo variants of the Stratocruiser is the Guppy / Mini Guppy / Super Guppy, which remain in service with NASA and other operators.

The Soviet Union produced an unlicensed reverse-engineered copy, the Tupolev Tu-4.

More than twenty B-29s remain as static displays but only two, Fifi and Doc, still fly.

Boeing B-29 Superfortress variants

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was produced in many experimental and production models.

Dikson Airport

Dikson Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Диксон) (IATA: DKS, ICAO: UODD) is a small commercial airport in Russia located 5 km (3.1 mi) west of the urban-type settlement of Dikson on a small island. The airport is owned by KrasAvia. It primarily services small transport aircraft. Central Intelligence Agency reports from 1952 released under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the USSR was using Dikson as a staging airfield for Tupolev Tu-4 (Bull) aircraft.

Dobrynin VD-4K

The Dobrynin VD-4K was a Soviet six-bank, 24-cylinder, turbo-compound, inline engine developed after the end of World War II. It was superseded by turboprop engines before it could be widely used.

Ilyushin Il-18 (1946)

The Ilyushin Il-18 was a Soviet four-engined airliner designed and built by Ilyushin immediately after World War II. Although the aircraft itself was successful, its Shvetsov ASh-73TK engines were too unreliable for civilian use and were further needed to equip the Tupolev Tu-4 bomber, so it was cancelled in 1948.

Ivanovo Severny (air base)

Ivanovo Severny (also Ivanovo North or Zhukovka) is an air base in Russia located 6 km north of Ivanovo. It is a large transport operation airfield with hangars and significant tarmac space. The runway was built in 1935 and upgraded in 1965. The airfield received the Soviet Union's first Ilyushin Il-76 delivery on June 3, 1974.

US intelligence summaries from 1957 showed 25 Tupolev Tu-4 Bull bomber aircraft and 17 Lisunov Li-2 Cab aircraft operated at Ivanovo Severny.Ivanovo Severny was home to 81 VTAP (81st Military Transport Aviation Regiment) flying Il-76, An-12, and An-22 aircraft. It was decommissioned in 1998. It is also home to 2457 Air Base of SDRLO flying the Beriev A-50.It is not to be confused with the civilian Ivanovo Yuzhny Airport.


The KJ-1 is a first generation Chinese AEW (Airborne Early Warning) radar fitted to a Tupolev Tu-4 bomber. The project was started in 1969 under the code name "Project 926". (KJ is from the first characters of the Pinyin spelling of 空警, (Kōng Jǐng), short for 空中预警 (Kōng Zhōng Yù Jǐng), which means Airborne Early Warning).

KS-1 Komet

The Raduga KS-1 Komet (Russian: КС-1 "Комета", NATO reporting name: Kennel), also referred to as AS-1 and KS-1 (крылатый снаряд - winged projectile) was a short range air-to-surface missile (primarily used for anti-ship missions) developed by the Soviet Union. It was carried on only two aircraft: the Tupolev Tu-4 and the Tupolev Tu-16.

Markovo Airport

Markovo Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Марково) (IATA: KVM) is an airport located in Markovo, in the Chukotka autonomous district of Russia. Starting in the 1940s, Markovo was one of eight stops on the backbone Aeroflot passenger route from Moscow to Anadyr.

Shvetsov ASh-73

The Shvetsov ASh-73 was an 18-cylinder, air-cooled, radial aircraft engine produced between 1947 and 1957 in the Soviet Union. It was primarily used as the powerplant for the Tupolev Tu-4 heavy bomber, a copy of the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress.

Shvetsov M-25

The Shvetsov M-25 was an aircraft radial engine produced in the Soviet Union (USSR) in the 1930s and 1940s, a licensed production variant of the Wright R-1820-F3.

Tupolev Tu-70

The Tupolev Tu-70 (Russian: Туполев Ту-70; NATO reporting name: Cart) was a Soviet passenger variant of the Tu-4 bomber (which was reverse-engineered from the American Boeing B-29 Superfortress) and designed immediately after the end of World War II. It used a number of components from Boeing B-29s that had made emergency landings in the Soviet Union after bombing Japan. It had the first pressurized fuselage in the Soviet Union and first flew on 27 November 1946. The aircraft was successfully tested, recommended for serial production, but ultimately not produced because of more pressing military orders and because Aeroflot had no requirement for such an aircraft.

Tupolev Tu-72

The Tupolev Tu-72 was a proposed Soviet medium bomber of the late 1940s. It was based on the Tupolev Tu-8, but differed by having a slightly longer fuselage, increased defensive armament, and slightly enlarged vertical stabilizers. The first flight of the Tu-72 was scheduled for 1948, but the project was cancelled due to the success of the Tupolev Tu-4 and Tupolev's focus on first-generation strategic jet bombers.

Tupolev Tu-80

The Tupolev Tu-80 (Russian: Туполев Ту-80) was a Soviet prototype for a longer-ranged version of the Tupolev Tu-4 bomber, built after World War II. It was cancelled in 1949 in favor of the Tupolev Tu-85 program which offered even more range. The sole prototype was used in various test programs before finally being used as a target.

Tupolev Tu-85

The Tupolev Tu-85 (Russian: Туполев Ту-85; USAF/DoD reporting name 'Type 31', NATO reporting name Barge) was a Soviet prototype strategic bomber based on the Tu-4, an unlicensed reverse engineered copy of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. It was the ultimate development of the B-29 family, being over 50% heavier than its ancestor and had nearly double the range. Only two prototypes were built before the program was cancelled in favor of the Tupolev Tu-95 bomber which was much faster and had the same range.

Yermolayev Yer-2

The Yermolayev Yer-2 (Russian: Ермолаев Ер-2) was a long-range Soviet medium bomber used during World War II. It was developed from the Bartini Stal-7 prototype airliner before the war. It was used to bomb Berlin from airbases in Estonia after Operation Barbarossa began in 1941. Production was terminated in August 1941 to allow the factory to concentrate on building higher-priority Ilyushin Il-2 ground-attack aircraft, but was restarted at the end of 1943 with new, fuel-efficient, Charomskiy ACh-30B aircraft Diesel engines.

Although designed as a long-range medium bomber it was flown on tactical ground-attack missions during the Battle of Moscow with heavy losses. The survivors were flown, in ever dwindling numbers, until August 1943 when the last examples were transferred to schools. However, the resumption of production in 1943 allowed the aircraft to resume combat operations in April 1945. The Yer-2 remained in service with Long-Range Aviation until it was replaced by four-engined bombers such as the Tupolev Tu-4 at the end of the 1940s.

Tupolev aircraft
Early period
  • Tankers
  • Transports


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.