The Tu-95 Bear is a Russian long-range, strategic bomber designed and manufactured by Tupolev for the Soviet Air Force. It was an icon of the Cold War in the 1960s and 1970s. The Tu-95 first flew in 1952 and was introduced in 1956. “Bear” was the codename given to it by NATO. For a long time, the Tu-95 was known to U.S./NATO intelligence as the Tu-20. While this was the original Soviet Air Force designation for the aircraft, by the time it was being supplied to operational units it was already better known under the Tu-95 designation used internally by Tupolev, and the Tu-20 designation quickly fell out of use in the USSR. In 1961, the Tu-95 carried and dropped the AN602 Tsar bomb, the largest and most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated as part of the Soviet nuclear tests during the Cold War.

The Tu-95 is powered by four Kuznetsov coupled turboprops fitted with eight-bladed contra-rotating propellers, delivering a 8,948 kW (12,000 eshp) power rating. The Tu-95 is fitted with retractable tricycle landing gear with all three gear strut units retracting rearwards. This Russian strategic bomber can be armed with up to 15,000 kg (33,000 lb) of bombs or missiles, which include the Raduga Kh-20, Kh-22, Kh-26, and Kh-55 air-to-surface missiles. The Tu-95 is also fitted with two 23mm AM-23 autocannon in tail turret. Although it has half of the bombload capacity of the American B-52 Stratofortress (31,500 kg), the Bear can fly very long distance without being refueled; during the height of the Cold War, the long range of the Tu-95 was demonstrated weekly as a pair of Tu-95s would fly from the Kola Peninsula to Cuba along the East Coast of the United States, escorted continuously along the way.

Specifications

Type: long-range strategic bomber
Engine: Kuznetsov NK-12M turboprops
Maximum speed: 920 km/h (575 mph)
Range: 15,000 km (9,400 mi)
Length: 46.2 m (151 ft 6 in)
Wingspan: 50.10 m (164 ft 5 in)
Height: 12.12 m (39 ft 9 in)
Crew: 7

Tu-95_Bear

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