* In the early 1950s, the Soviet Union was determined to keep up with the West, and major efforts were placed on development of advanced aircraft. Development




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The Tupolev Tu-16 "Badger"

* In the early 1950s, the Soviet Union was determined to keep up with the West, and major efforts were placed on development of advanced aircraft. Development of effective bombers was a high priority, leading to the introduction of a formidable, swept-wing, twinjet bomber, the "Tupolev Tu-16 Badger", in the mid-1950s. It was an excellent aircraft that would prove useful in a wide range of roles, and it would have a long service life. This document provides a history and description of the Tu-16, as well as of its "Tu-104 Camel" jetliner derivative, and the scaled-down "Tu-124 Cookpot" jetliner based on the Tu-104.





[1] PROLOGUE: TU-14 BOSUN

* In the postwar period, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin began high-priority programs to develop modern jet aircraft, using captured advanced German jet aircraft designs to give Red engineers a leg up on the task. One line of investigation was of course for a high-performance jet fighter, with this work culminating in the excellent Mikoyan MiG-15; the other line of investigation was for a jet bomber.

The experimental design bureau (OKB in its Russian acronym) under Andrei Tupolev began development of a jet bomber with the "Tu-12", a jet-powered version of their Tu-2 twin-engine piston-powered bomber. It was really nothing but a practice exercise and there was never any serious intent to go into production.

The first attempt to develop a production machine focused initially on the "Tu-73", which was a straight-winged aircraft with a swept tailplane, powered by an imported Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet in a nacelle in each wing and a Rolls-Royce Derwent turbojet in the tail, with the intake at the base of the tailfin. It featured a dorsal remote-controlled dorsal barbette with twin Nudelman-Richter NR-23 23 millimeter cannon behind the cockpit and a similar ventral barbette under the rear fuselage. Initial flight of the Tu-73 was in 1947. A "Tu-78" prototype was also built, being generally similar except for using license-built versions of the Rolls-Royce engines, with RD-45Fs in the wings and an RD-500 in the tail.

Improvements to the RD-45F led to the similar but more powerful "VK-1" turbojet, with 26.5 kN (2,700 kgp / 5,950 lbf) thrust. The VK-1 engines allowed elimination of the clumsy Derwent installation in the tail. Removing the Derwent also meant that a tail turret with twin NR-23s could be fitted. Given good performance, that was seen as adequate defensive armament, and the twin cannon barbettes were eliminated. However, twin fixed forward-firing NR-23s were fitted in the nose. The result was the "Tu-81", which was performed its initial flight in 1949. Prototypes were also flown of "Tu-81R" reconnaissance and "Tu-89" torpedo bomber variants.



The Tu-89 torpedo bomber was approved for production as the "Tu-14T" for the AVMF, the Soviet naval air arm. It could carry free-fall bombs, mines, and torpedoes. Only about a hundred were built, and it does not appear that any Tu-81 standard bomber or Tu-14R / Tu-81R reconnaissance machines were produced beyond the prototypes. The Tu-14T was thoroughly overshadowed by the conceptually similar but far more successful Ilyushin Il-28 medium bomber. The Tu-14T was assigned the NATO codename of "Bosun", no doubt reflecting its naval use, and the type apparently remained in service into the early 1960s.

TUPOLEV TU-14T BOSUN:

_____________________   _________________   _______________________


spec                    metric              english

_____________________   _________________   _______________________


wingspan                21.7 meters         71 feet 2 inches

wing area               67.36 sq_meters     725 sq_feet

length                  21.69 meters        71 feet 2 inches


empty weight            14,430 kilograms    31,812 pounds

MTO weight              25,350 kilograms    55,890 pounds


max speed at altitude   845 KPH             525 MPH / 455 KT

service ceiling         11,200 meters       36,750 feet

range                   3,010 kilometers    1,870 MI / 1,625 NMI

_____________________   _________________   _______________________


A swept-wing derivative of the Tu-14, the "Tu-82", sometimes referred to as the "Tu-86", was also flown in 1949, but never entered production. Sources are very unclear on this machine and it is obscured by a cloud of contrary information. It seems to have been simply a demonstrator for swept-wing technology.

[2] TU-16 BADGER ORIGINS

* The Il-28 did not put the Tupolev OKB out of the jet bomber game. The Soviet Union needed a bigger and more advanced jet bomber beyond the Il-28, and in June 1950 a state requirement was issued to the Ilyushin and Tupolev OKBs for such an aircraft. It was to be a swept-wing machine, powered by Arkhip Lyulka AL-5 turbojets, with high subsonic performance and a range of 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles), a bomb load of 5,000 kilograms (11,000 pounds), plus armament of seven cannon. An option was provided to use more powerful Arkady Mikulin AM-3 engines, the engine development program permitting.

The Ilyushin OKB wanted to conduct the development program in two steps, beginning with what amounted to a scaled up version of the Il-28 designated the "Il-46", and then building a second prototype with swept wings as the "Il-46S". The Tupolev OKB chose to move directly to the swept-wing design, coming up with an aircraft designated "Tu-88", also referred to as "Type N" as a cover. It featured a pencil-like fuselage; all swept flight surfaces, with mid-mounted wings; twin AM-3 engines, with one in a nacelle on each side of the fuselage; a tail gun installation and remote-controlled barbettes for defensive armament; and tricycle landing gear, with main gear in a pod on the inboard rear of each wing.

The initial (unarmed) prototype Tu-88, now assigned the service designation of "Tu-16", performed its first flight on 27 April 1952, with N.S. Rybko at the controls. The Tu-16 went into state trials in November 1952, with the trials extending into March 1953. The original verdict was a "thumbs down", and in fact Andrei Tupolev himself was disappointed in the performance of the machine. In particular, it was obvious that it wouldn't come close to meeting its range specification.

However, the Tu-16 was still an impressive aircraft, and the problems were not regarded as "show-stoppers": approval for full production of the Tu-16 had already been granted, in December 1952. The trials simply indicated issues that needed to be addressed, and the second Tu-16 prototype, which performed its first flight on 6 April 1953 with Rybko at the controls, incorporated such improvements as a lighter airframe, increased fuel capacity, and longer nose. The second prototype was also closer to production spec, with defensive armament and offensive radar system. The second prototype successfully completed trials a year later, in April 1954, with a recommendation for service acceptance issued in May 1954.

The Ilyushin Il-46 program had been halted in the summer of 1953 and the swept-wing Il-46S prototype was never built. The Ilyushin OKB did develop two swept-wing twin-engine bombers, the "Il-30" and the "Il-54", but neither entered service and their histories are obscure. At the same time the Il-46 program got the axe, work towards manufacture of the Tu-16 was begun at State Factory 22 in Kazan. The first production Tu-16 was rolled out at the Kazan factory on 29 October 1953.

A total of nine Tu-16s performed a flypast at the May Day parade in Moscow on 1 May 1954, and 40 performed a flypast at the Tsushino Air Show in August. NATO assigned the type the codename "Badger"; these early machines would acquire the modified designation of "Badger-A" once later versions were introduced.

The Kazan plant built the majority of Tu-16s. Acquisition of the Tu-16 was a high priority for the USSR, and so Kazan production was soon supplemented by manufacture of aircraft at State Factory 1 in Kuibyshev (now Samara). A number were also built at State Factory 64 in Voronezh from 1955. The last new-build Tu-16s were rolled out in 1963.

Tu-16s were produced in large quantity and served in a wide range of roles, flying as bombers, missile carriers, torpedo bombers, antisubmarine warfare (ASW) platforms, reconnaissance and maritime surveillance platforms, electronic countermeasures (ECM) platforms, inflight refueling tankers, search and rescue (SAR) platforms, and trials / experimental platforms. Many were heavily modified during their lives to take on new roles for which they had not originally been built. They generally flew in natural metal finish, though AVMF machines often sported natty maritime colors of dark gray on top and light gray underneath.

[3] TU-16 BADGER-A DESCRIBED / TU-16A & TU-16ZA / TU-16Z

* The initial production Tu-16 provides a baseline for description of the family. The Tu-16 was an all-metal aircraft, built mostly of aircraft aluminum. The Tupolev OKB had built the Tu-4, the Soviet copy of the US Boeing B-29 Superfortress, and the Tu-16's long, slender fuselage clearly reflected influence from that source. While the prototypes and early production Tu-16s were powered by twin AM-3 engines with 66.2 kN (6,750 kgp / 14,880 lbf) thrust each, main Tu-16 production was powered by the considerably uprated AM-3M engine -- known in production as the RD-3M, where the "RD" suffix stood for "Reactivniy Dvigatel", more or less translating to "reaction device / jet engine" -- with 93.2 kN (9,500 kgp / 20,950 lbf) thrust.



The two-spar wings were mid-mounted on the engine nacelles and had a sweep of 41 degrees on the inboard third of the wing, and 35 degrees sweep on the outboard wing. The wings had 1 degree of incidence and 3 degrees of anhedral droop. There were big single-piece flaps and ailerons with trim tabs on the rear of the wings, as well as twin fences on top of each wing; the prototypes and early production had shorter fences than main production machines. The tail assembly was of conventional configuration, with all swept flight surfaces. The wing used an engine-air bleed deicing system, while the tail surfaces were electrically deiced.

TUPOLEV TU-16 BADGER-A:

_____________________   _________________   _______________________


spec                    metric              english

_____________________   _________________   _______________________


wingspan                32.93 meters        108 feet

wing area               164.65 sq_meters    1,772.34 sq_feet

length                  36.25 meters        118 feet 11 inches

height                  14 meters           45 feet 11 inches


empty weight            37,200 kilograms    82,000 pounds

MTO weight              75,800 kilograms    167,100 pounds


max speed at altitude   990 KPH             615 MPH / 535 KT

service ceiling         15,000 meters       49,200 feet

range                   5,925 kilometers    3,680 MI / 3,200 NMI

_____________________   _________________   _______________________


The nose gear was steerable, had twin wheels, and retracted backward. The main gear, with a 2x2=4 configuration, retracted backwards in their wing pods and flipped over to stow, an exercise that must have been interesting to watch. Apparently the Tu-16 was the first production Soviet aircraft with the 2x2=4 main gear arrangement. There was also a small retractable bumper wheel under the rear fuselage to prevent scrapes on high-angle takeoffs. All wheel assemblies were hydraulically actuated. A brake chute could be used to reduce landing roll.

The weapons bay had large volume to allow it to carry a nuclear weapon. It could also carry a FAB-9000 (19,850 pound) conventional bomb, though more usually in the conventional bombing role it carried a number of smaller munitions. Typical bomb loads were up to 16 FAB-250 (550 pound) or 12 FAB-500 (1,100 pound) bombs; in the late 1960s, many Badger-As were modified to increase the maximum bombload to 24 FAB-250 or 18 FAB-500 bombs. The twin weapons bay doors were electrically operated. A radar altimeter was fitted just forward of the weapons bay. There were large fuel tanks fore and aft of the weapons bay, and the wings were full of fuel tanks. A stores pylon could be attached under each wing, though this would not be used for free-fall bombing, instead being employed on the missile carriers and reconnaissance variants described below.

The Tu-16's seven guns were all NR-23 23 millimeter cannon, with one fixed to fire forward in the nose -- presumably the pilot had a gunsight to help with aiming -- and the others mounted in three twin-cannon turrets, including a remote-controlled forward dorsal barbette, a similar barbette in the rear ventral position, and a manned tail turret. The tail gunner could use a gun aiming radar, mounted in a fairing at the base of the tailfin. The NATO codename for this radar was, of course, "Bee Hind", and it was used on other large Soviet aircraft.

The fixed nose gun seems like an odd feature in hindsight -- the Tu-16 was on the big side to be making strafing attacks -- and it would often be deleted in other Tu-16 variants. Later in life, Tu-16s were retrofitted with the SPS-100 Rezeda countermeasures jammer, which was a bulky item that replaced the tail turret with a prominent, bulbous tail extension.

There were six crew, including a bombardier / radar navigator, pilot, copilot, and navigator / gunner in the forward section of the fuselage; plus radio operator / gunner and tail gunner in the rear fuselage. All crew spaces were pressurized. The bombardier / radar navigator sat behind a glazed nose, using an optical bombsight peering through a flat panel under the nose as well as PRS-1AG Argon navigation / bombing radar, mounted in a radome under the cockpit. The bombardier / navigator got into the aircraft through a hatch with a pull-out ladder just under the nose.

The pilot and copilot sat side-by-side on armored, upward-firing ejection seats; the rest of the forward-section crew used downward-firing ejection seats. The navigator / gunner sat behind the cockpit in an avionics bay, using a prominent bubble dome to take navigation shots or control the forward cannon barbette. The dome and dorsal barbette were flanked by long distinctive "towel rack" antennas for HF communications. All three of the forward crew got into the aircraft through a belly hatch in front of the nose gear.

The radio operator / gunner sat in a compartment underneath the tailfin, with a blister on each side of the fuselage underneath the tailplane for observation and aiming the rear cannon barbette. The tail gunner of course sat in the extreme tail; the two crew got inside the aircraft through tandem belly hatches. The tail section crew did not have ejection seats, instead bailing out through the hatches, which opened to serve as windbreaks.

* A total of 294 standard Tu-16 Badger-A bombers were built, with the deliveries split between Long Range Aviation (DA) and the AVMF. At least some were configured to carry the radio-guided 2,240 kilogram (4,940 pound) UB-2F Tchaika radio-guided glide bomb -- one carried under each wing -- or larger 5,100 kilogram (11,250 pound) UB-5 Kondor radio-guided glide bomb, with one carried on the centerline.

These were primitive weapons, with the bombardier tracking the bomb visually using flares in the tail of a bomb and adjusting its path with a hand controller over a radio datalink. The main problem with them was that the aircraft had to maintain a line of sight to the target until a bomb went home, meaning the aircraft was vulnerable during that interval. These glide bombs had a short service life.

A separate variant, the "Tu-16A", was built for nuclear strike, with a total of 394 produced. The Tu-16A featured a heated weapons bay to keep the bomb's sensitive electronics working; pull-down blinds for the crew cockpit; and a special belly finish to tolerate nuclear flash. 59 more of the nuclear bomber variants were built with facilities for inflight refueling and designated "Tu-16ZA". NATO observers couldn't spot much difference with these variants and so they were regarded as "Badger-A" machines.

* Red Air Force Tu-16As -- and Tu-16KSR-2-5s, this variant being essentially a Tu-16A that could carry antishipping missiles and described below -- actually saw a fair amount of combat late in their service lives, performing carpet-bombing raids against Mujahedin insurgents during the Afghanistan conflict of the 1980s. They flew in formations of three or four aircraft, or sometimes eight to ten aircraft; in 1984 one raid featured 24 aircraft, each carrying 24 to 40 FAB-250 250 kilogram (550 pound) general-purpose bombs.

[4] TU-16Z & OTHER TANKERS / TU-16T & TU-16PL

* The Tu-16 proved to be a very reliable and rugged machine, if apparently demanding to fly. It would be the mainstay of the Soviet nuclear deterrent in the late 1950s and early 1960s, though its inadequate range was a troublesome limitation. Once intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) came online in the early 1960s, the Tu-16 was gradually shifted to other roles.

The only way to address the range issue was to provide inflight refueling, Directives were issued in 1953 to implement such a system, with the first "Tu-16Z" tanker conversion tested in 1955. The scheme went into service in 1958. The Tu-16AZ nuclear bombers, mentioned above, were built with the refueling gear, and apparently most or all of the Tu-16 and Tu-16A bombers were retrofitted with it.

The Soviets seem to have had a considerable amount of trouble developing an inflight refueling capability. The Tu-16Z tanker system was clumsy on the face of it: a hose was strung off the right wingtip of the tanker, to hook up with a receiver system on the left wingtip of a receiver aircraft. The right landing gear pod of the tanker had a searchlight system for night refuelings. There were 114 Tu-16Z conversions, including some from Tu-16AZ bombers that were confusingly designated "Tu-16ZA". The Tu-16Z/16ZA tankers were recognizable by tablike wingtip extensions.

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