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Tupolev Tu-95 Bear

Strategic bomber

Tupolev Tu-95 Bear

The Tupolev Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber remains an important part of Russia's air power

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1956
Crew 7 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 49.13 m
Wing span 50.04 m
Height 13.30 m
Weight (empty) 91.8 t
Weight (maximum take off) 185 t
Engines and performance
Engines 4 x KKBM (Kuznetsov) NK-12MA turboprops
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 4 x 14 795 hp
Maximum speed 925 km/h
Service ceiling 12 km
Combat radius 6 400 km
Armament
Cannon 2 x 23 mm twin-barrel cannons
Missiles 6 x Kh-55 (AS-15 'Kent-A') or Kh-55SM (AS-15 'Kent-B') long-range cruise missiles, Kh-35 (AS-20 'Kayak') anti-ship missiles (Tu-142)

 

   The turboprop-powered Tu-95 strategic bomber entered service in 1956 and remains an important part of Russia's long range air power. Its reporting name in the West is Bear.

   The current bomber/missile carrier version is the Tu-95MS (Western designation Bear-H). This entered service in 1984 and was manufactured until 1992. There are two subvariants, both based on the maritime Tu-142. The Tu-95MS16 (Bear-H16) carries 16 long-range air-launched cruise missiles (6 internally and 10 externally). The Tu-95MS6 (Bear-H6) is the more numerous version, with provision for external missile carriage deleted in accordance with the SALT/START treaties. About 60 Tu-95s of both variants are based with heavy bomber regiments at Engels and Ukrainka. This total includes three aircraft formerly held in Ukraine. The air force also operates 11 earlier-model Tu-95KUs as trainers.

   The main weapon of the Bear is the Kh-55 air-launched cruise missile. It is a long-range standoff weapon. There are both conventionally-armed and nuclear versions of this missile. Modernized versions of the Tu-95, including the T-95MS, can also carry newer Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles to improve their conventional long-range precision strike capability.

   The Tu-142 (Bear-F) was designed primarily for anti-submarine warfare and a variety of naval roles. Around 40 examples equip a single Russian naval aviation regiment at Kipelovo, assigned to the Northern Fleet. The major anti-submarine warfare variants are the Tu-142MK (Bear-F Mod.3) and improved Tu-142M-Z (Bear-F Mod.4), the last of which was completed in 1994. The Tu-142MR (Bear-J) is a command post/communications relay platform for communicating with submerged nuclear-missile armed submarines. Such is the importance of the Tu-142 in Russian service, that surviving Bear-F (Mod.4) airframes are likely to be updated with Leninets Sea Dragon system, which includes a new radar, low-light-level TV, forward-looking infra-red, new sonobuoys, revised electronic surveillance measures and magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) systems, and an armament of up to eight Kh-35 (Western designation AS-20 Kayak) anti-ship missiles for an extended ASV/ASW role. The only Tu-142 export operator is the Indian navy which has seven Tu-142 MK-Es at Arrakonam. These are broadly similar to the Bear-F Mod 3, but have certain downgraded systems.

 

Video of the Tupolev Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber

 
Tupolev Tu-95 Bear

Tupolev Tu-95 Bear

Tupolev Tu-95 Bear

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