In recent years, a joke has been circulated in the ranks of the US Air Force: “When my grandfather flew an F-4 Phantom II fighter, he was sent to intercept the Tu-95. When my father flew the F-15 Eagle, he was also sent to intercept the Tu-95. Now I fly on the F-22 Raptor and also intercept the Tu-95. In fact, there is no joke in this. Soviet / Russian turboprop strategic bomber Tu-95 (NATO codification: Bear, "Bear") real aviation long-lived, who has been in the sky for 66 years, which is even more than the planned retirement age for Russian men, who is trying hard to push through the government.
Tu-95 - the plane is really respectable, but at the same time it is still the most useful. In addition, the Tu-95 is the fastest in the world of aircraft with screw engines and the only serial bomber and rocket carrier equipped with turboprop engines on the planet (at the moment). An experienced prototype of a renowned strategic bomber made its first flight on 12 November 1952 of the year. In November, 2018 will mark 66 years from the moment this aircraft first flew into the sky. Outstanding result for aircraft industry.
Today we can say with confidence that the "eternal" Tu-95 bomber has already become a real legend. The aircraft is still in demand and effective, and this is in the era of constantly updated aviation technology. A giant plane with turboprop engines capable of easily traveling more than 10 thousands of kilometers with 12 tons of bomb load on board appeared after the top leadership of the Soviet Union set out to develop a bomber capable of striking American ground targets in 1951. The plane was already ready for 1952, the first prototype took to the air in November 1952. Initially, NATO did not attach much importance to this bomber, considering that in the age of jet aircraft the machine would quickly become outdated.
Everything changed in the 1961 year, when the “Tsar Bomb” was dropped from the Tu-95 bomber. The shock wave from the explosion of this thermonuclear munition with a capacity of more than 50 megatons in TNT easily demolished airplanes, and the nuclear mushroom formed after the explosion rose to an altitude of 60 kilometers. Light radiation from the explosion caused third-degree burns at a distance of 100 kilometers from the epicenter. Observers who were at the station in 200 kilometers from the explosion suffered from cornea burns.
The explosion of this Soviet bomb became an event that shook the world, at the same time the Air Force of many countries paid close attention to the strategic bomber Tu-95. In the Soviet Union, in turn, they intimidated the NATO states, spreading information that Tu-95 planes began to make patrol flights beyond the borders of the USSR. As soon as the Russian “Bear” appeared on the radar, foreign air forces immediately raised planes to intercept and escort them. From 1961 to 1991, this happened so often that the pilots of many armies simply got used to the Tu-95, and the interception of these aircraft became a routine, many even began to be photographed against their background.
Moreover, the potential of the bomber was used not only in long-range aviation, but also on navy. Especially for the USSR Navy, the Tu-95RC (reconnaissance and target designation aircraft), as well as the Tu-142, a long-range anti-submarine aircraft based on the Tu-95RC, were designed and built. This modification was supposed to be responsible for the fight against enemy submarines in the open sea. Specially for him, anti-submarine aviation missiles of the air launch APR-1, 2, 3 were created, and the aircraft was also the carrier of anti-ship missiles X-35.
The Cold War, which ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, left the patrol flights of the Russian “Bear” in the past. NATO air forces again recalled this cumbersome bomber only in 2007, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian armed forces would again conduct air patrols outside their country's borders. So for the veteran Tu-95 began a new round of active military service.
In 2014, the Canadian Minister of Defense said that every year in the Arctic, Canadian Air Force planes intercept from 12 to 18 Russian strategic bombers. To intercept Russian aircraft often rise and Japanese fighters. These flights periodically cause protests from Japan and the United States. The last time the fighters of the Japanese and South Korean Air Forces rose to intercept the Russian Tu-95MS missiles in July 2018. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that the planes made a planned flight over the neutral waters of the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan, as well as the western part of the Pacific Ocean. At certain stages of the route, they were accompanied by F-15 and F-16 fighters of the Air Force of South Korea and Mitsubishi F-2A fighters of the Japanese Air Force, clarified in the Russian defense department. And the 12 of May 2018 of the year to intercept the Russian “grandfathers” over Alaska, the US Air Force already sent its most advanced aircraft at the moment - the X-NUMX-generation F-5 fighters, who were forced to “escort” Russian missile carriers.
For a long time, the most advanced model of the bomber was the version of the Tu-95MS (Tu-95MS-6 and Tu-95MS-16) - the aircraft carriers of X55 cruise missiles were built serially with 1979 of the year. This model is an all-metal monoplane with a mid-wing and a single fin. The aerodynamic layout chosen by the designers of the Tupolev Design Bureau provided the aircraft with high aerodynamic characteristics, especially at high flight speeds. Improved flight performance of the aircraft is achieved due to the large elongation of the wing, which corresponds to the choice of the angle of its sweep, as well as a set of profiles along its span. The T-95MS rocket carrier powerplant includes four NK-12MP turboprop engines with coaxial four-blade AB-60K propellers. Fuel reserves are stored in 8 hermetic compartments of the wing box and in 3's soft tanks located in the rear fuselage and center section. Refueling is centralized; there is also a fuel receiver bar on the aircraft, which allows refueling of the bomber directly in the air.
The Tu-95 was built serially from the 1955 of the year, at the same time it began to enter service with parts of the USSR long-range aviation. Together with the Myasishchevsky M-4 and 3M, the Tu-95 strategic bomber for several years until the launch of the first Soviet-made intercontinental missile systems on combat duty in the nuclear confrontation between Washington and Moscow. The aircraft was produced in different versions: Tu-95 bomber, Tu-95K bomber, Tu-95MR strategic reconnaissance aircraft and reconnaissance and target-targeting aircraft for the Soviet Navy - Tu-95RC. At the end of the 1960-s, after a deep modernization of the design of the Tu-95, the long-range antisubmarine defense aircraft Tu-142 was created, which in 1970-80-s passed a very difficult path of further development and modernization. The plane still remains in service with the aviation of the Russian fleet. On the basis of the Tu-142M at the end of 1970 and the beginning of 1980-s, the Tupolev Design Bureau designed a strategic bomber carrying the carrier of long-range cruise missiles, the Tu-95MS.
According to the 2017, the 48 strategic bombers in the Tu-95MS version and the 12 strategists in the Tu-95MSM version are in service with the VKS of Russia. Airplanes in the Tu-95MS-16 version are being upgraded to the Tu-95MSM version with the engines being replaced with the NK-12MMM modification with AB-60T screws. This version is characterized by a complete replacement of electronic equipment, while the airframe remains the same. A new sighting and navigation complex has appeared on the plane, which allows the use of the latest Russian strategic cruise missiles X-101 (performed with the X-102 thermonuclear warhead). This air-to-surface missile, designed using the technology of reducing radar visibility, is capable of hitting targets at a distance of 5500 km.
According to representatives of the Tupolev Design Bureau, the aircraft in the modification of the Tu-95MSM can be successfully operated up to the 2040-s, and there it is not far to the centenary anniversary. All the more surprising that the plane is still not only relevant, but also sets world records and takes part in combat missions. So 5 July 2017, the Russian strategic missile carriers Tu-95MSM, departing from the Engels airbase, flew to Syria with air refueling and launched a missile attack on the command post and militia stocks of the IG terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation. For the strike used the latest Russian strategic cruise missiles X-101, the attack was made from a distance of about 1000 km to the target.
Earlier, on July 30 2010, the Tu-95MS strategic bomber set a world record of non-stop flight for mass-produced aircraft. Two Tu-95MS, which have long been called “Bears” at NATO, patrolled the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans, and the Sea of Japan for 43 hours. In total, the aircraft flew during this time about 30 thousands of kilometers, four times to refuel in the air. The 40 flight hours were initially announced, which in itself was a world record, but the crews of the aircraft surpassed themselves. In addition to working out the assigned tasks, the Russian military pilots checked another factor - the human one. 43 hours without landing are three full-fledged transatlantic flights, while a military aircraft is far from a passenger liner in terms of convenience and comfort. As a result, neither the technician nor the people failed.
Open source materials
Tu-95 "Bear": 66 years in the sky
- Yuferev Sergey