Today we’ll talk about Russian long-range bombers Tupolev Tu-95. Now these planes are patrolling the skies on a regular basis once again. And the backbone of the country’s strategic fleet remains the TU-95 “Bear”, an aircraft many consider to be a Cold War legend.
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Like its American counterpart, the B-52 Stratofortress, the Tu-95 has continued to operate in the Russian Air Force while several iterations of bomber design have come and gone. Part of the reason for this longevity was its suitability, like the B-52, for modification to different missions. Whereas the Tu-95 was originally intended to drop nuclear weapons, it was subsequently modified to perform a wide range of roles, such as the deployment of cruise missiles, maritime patrol (Tu-142 Bear-F), AWACS platform (Tu-126) and even civilian airliner (Tu-114). During and after the Cold War, the Tu-95’s utility as a weapons platform has only been eclipsed by its usefulness as a diplomatic icon. When a patrolling Tu-95 appears off the coast of the United States or one of its allies, it may not be the technological menace that it was in its heyday, but it is still a potent and visible symbol of the Russian capability to project military power over great distances.
The Soviet Union did not assign official “popular names” to its aircraft, although unofficial nicknames were common. Unusually, Soviet pilots found the Tu-95/Tu-142’s NATO reporting name, ‘Bear,’ to be a fitting nickname, given the aircraft’s large size, ‘lumbering’ maneuverability and speed, and large arsenal. It is often called Bear in Russian service. An anecdotal story states that it was actually a Russian crew who had the privilege of assigning the NATO reporting name; during the aircraft’s Paris Airshow debut, a Western reporter asked the crew what the plane’s name was. The pilot responded, “it can’t be anything but a bear.”
Have a good day and remember
old does not mean worse
sometimes it means the best! 😉
Svet and Kyle
comments always welcome.