In the early fifties the Russians needed a long range bomber that could carry atomic weapons to the USA, in case of a #war. The designer Andrie Tupolov was given the task by Josef Stalin the Russian dictator to design one. He set to work and produced a behomoth in the shape of the TU-95, given the code name Bear by NATO. The TU-95 first flew in 1952 and is still flying and as per reports will remain in service with the Russian air force till 2040. The TU-95 is a long range bomber that has a range of 9000 miles without refueling and can carry many weaponsystems including the cruise missile. It is a lethel weapons platform.
The Bear is a 4 engine turbo prop aircraft. The engines of the bear are the most powerful in the world. It is also the biggest bomber in service. The plane is however dated and noisy and as it speeds up, the noise is so great that submarines, even if submerged can hear the approach of the bear.
The TU-95 has many plus points and the first is its range. It is the only Russian bomber that frequently approaches even the California coast. Recently a pair of twin bears even breached close to the Alaskan air defense perimeter. The charm of the bear is its weapon systems. It cannot only carry nuclear bombs but also nuclear tipped cruise missiles. The plane though slow can approach the enemy coast and release the missiles with lethal effect. The plane gives the Russians something to crow about, as it's a weapon platform that can approach the US coast. The Russians take great pride in this plane and about 50 of them are still in service. It remains an important part of the Russian strategic fleet.
The Bear in the future
The plane however is aging and recently 2 bears crashed in Siberia and this led to the entire fleet being grounded for inspection. The Russians as yet are still deveolping their strategic bomber and till then the Bear is indispensible. The Russians also developed a long range maritime survelliance plane the TU-114 which was a modified TU-95. A few were sold to the Indian navy.
The Russians take great pride in this plane which is among the largest heavy bombers in the world. The plane during the days of the cold war frequently flew close to the American coast replete with missiles and bombs. The cold war has gone but the plane still reminds the west that it is a potent weapon system. The Bear remains an engineering marvel and deserves a place in the hall of great aircraft. #military