PATCO LCH

Curious about Bears. TU95 that is.

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Just saw today the Ruskies are still probing our national defenses with the Bear bomber and got my curiosity up with why they stuck with a 65 year old turbo prop for their main heavy- nuke bomber and didn't come up with a counter part to the B52. Wikipedia says it first flew in 1952 (as old as I am)   and will stay in service until 2040. Must be some plane.

I remember many years ago (yes Maverick and  Goose, this really happened) seeing a video taken by one of our interceptors trailing one so close you could see the face of the tail gunner and the dude holds up a Pepsi. Or was it a Coke?

Edited by Jim Young
Removed info that was off-topic

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Ability to carry six KH-55 ALCMs.  Big factor.

Ilya

 

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It's able to launch SLAMs, so its age and speed are less of a factor than might otherwise be the case.

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It's a scary looking plane alright but I don't know if it has ever been used in combat for tactical saturation bombing like the 52. If so seems like it would be easy to bring down, air to air or ground to air.

Any one know any thing of the capabilities of that aircraft?

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crazy sound from those planes! i remember reading somewhere the prop tips go supersonic..

 

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While stationed in Iceland at Keflavik NAS in the late 1980s the 57th FIS would launch almost daily to intercept a Bear flying close to the base.  All the pilots carried handheld cameras and would shoot pictures of them during the intercept and escort.  The 57th FIS Headquarters building had still picture after still picture of the TU-95 as seen from an F-15 cockpit in the foyer to the building.

One developed a problem and since Keflavik was also the international airport requested an emergency landing authority, which was granted.  The way the runways sat and the wind direction forced the tower and ground controllers to taxi it right by all the P-3 Subhunters also stationed at Kef.  Our maintenance facility was situated close by so all of us lined the taxiway to watch "the enemy" taxi slowly by.

Side note, we worked out of an Icelandic National hangar and their bathrooms were unisex.  You'd be standing there minding your own business and in would walk an Icelandic female, nod at you and say good morning, then step into a stall and "mind her own business".  I walked right by the Esso station described by Tom Clancy in "Red Storm Rising" every morning on the way to work that gets "blown up" in the opening chapters.

Randy

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10 hours ago, Ramjett said:

The way the runways sat and the wind direction forced the tower and ground controllers to taxi it right by all the P-3 Subhunters also stationed at Kef.  Our maintenance facility was situated close by so all of us lined the taxiway to watch "the enemy" taxi slowly by.

Don't know if it matters but I guess they got pictures and N numbers of our P-3's. Wonder  if that whole affair could have been a set up.

Reminds me of the night in February 1973 when I left Viet Nam after the cease fire was signed. There was a delegation of NVA and E Germans in uniform keeping a tally of our departure as per the peace accords. Always saw my tour as unfinished after 8 months over there.

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22 hours ago, PATCO LCH said:

why they stuck with a 65 year old turbo prop for their main heavy- nuke bomber and didn't come up with a counter part to the B52.

The Tu-95 *is* a contemporary of the B-52. The two aircraft are very close in performance - the B-52 has a marginally faster cruise speed, but the Tu-95 has a little bit more range and payload.

The current version in service is the Tu-95MS which was built from 1981-93. As such the Bears you see the Russians flying today are actually a lot newer than any of the USAF B-52H.

The Tu-95MS is a cruise missile carrier. Depending on the specific sub-model they can carry up to 16 Kh-55 cruise missiles which can carry a conventional or nuclear warhead up to 200kt and have a range of 1,600nm. Some of the Bears can carry the Kh-101 and Kh-102 which are low observable (stealth) versions of the Kh-55.

Lots of people look at the Bear and see the props and think it's just an old piece of junk. It's not.

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