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Tu-128 FIDDLER

The Tupolev Tu-128 Fiddler, a derivative of the Tu-98 bomber, is probably the largest "fighter" ever built. Tu-128 had a heavy load on the wing, simple operation, high weight and modest maneuverability. The deployment of the TU-128P fighter incorporated a new capability to combat the Hound Dog. The mission of the aircraft to intercept NATO's strategic bombers such as the B-52, rather than keeping the fight with smaller and more maneuverable enemy aircraft. The Tupolev long-range interceptor, the Tu-128P, was selected for production in recognition of the need to kill “missile carriers” before the launch of their weapons.

The Tu-28, which carried the design bureau designation Tu-102, was originally thought by Western observers to be intended for strike and reconnaissance. Adding to the confusion, it was described by the commentator at the 1967 Soviet Aviation Day as being a descendant of the Shturmovik, capable of engaging targets in the air or mobile targets on the battlefield.

When revealed to Western eyes in 1961, the Tu-28 Fiddler-A was fitted with a large ventral blister which was thought to contain, variously, a reconnaissance pack, an early-warning radar, avionics, fuel or weapons. By the time of the 1967 display, however, this bulge had disappeared and the Tu-28P Fiddler-B was revealed as carrying twice the armament, in the form of four AA-5 Ash air-to-air missiles.

The R-4 AAM, known to NATO as the "AA-5 ASH", was a major component of the complex. It came in two versions: the R-4R with semi-active radar homing (SARH) guidance, and the R-4T with infrared heat-seeking. The R-4 was a monster, much like a SAM adapted to aerial launch, with R-4R featuring a length of 5.45 meters (17 feet 10 inches) and a launch weight of 492 kilograms (1,085 pounds), including a warhead with a weight of over 50 kilograms (110 pounds). Presumably, the warhead was proximity fuzed, with a fearsome destructive radius given its size. The Tu-128 was the only service aircraft that ever carried it -- no other contemporary production Soviet fighter was big enough to haul it around.

Around 200 were built to patrol areas of Siberia which were not protected by a SAM screen. In 1955 the Soviet air defense needed interceptors long-range defensive vast territory of the Soviet Union. In order to provide the necessary range, the ability to carry a powerful radar and missiles such as air-to-air , Tupolev developed an aircraft similar to the bomber "105" ( TU-22 ). Designated the Tu-102, it first flew in 1959 and became known as the Tu-28P, and serial production began in 1963. The Tu-128 was retired in 1992.

The Tu-128 (TU-28, TU-128) was a long-range supersonic missile carrier loitering interceptor-fighter of Air Defense. Designed on the basis of experimental TU-98. First flight - 18 March, 1961. In the middle of the 1960s TU-128C-4 based on TU-128 was added for operation by Air Defense of the country. Total output before the year 1970 was about 200 machines in versions of TU-128, TU-128UT (training version). Since the end of the 1960s the complex was upgraded (TU-128C-4M) by way of optimization of fleet of aircraft being in operation (TU-128M). The aircraft were in operation up to the second half of the 1980s.

The combat application of the long-range interceptor suggested several standard options. In the first and most of them, the search for air targets and further guidance of the Tu-128 was realized using ground-based radar or Tu-126 aircraft. It should be noted that when working with the latter, the crews of the Tupolev interceptor sometimes had to use a semi-autonomous mode. The reason was the peculiarity of the antenna pattern of the aircraft of the DRLO, which had a "dead zone" and represented a ring. In some cases, the target area could slip quickly enough. The height of the flight of the detected aircraft was also determined quite approximately, relative to its position to the Tu-126. Operator DRLO gave out to the interceptor only the course and the overall composition of the target.

In another application, autonomous, the crew of the Tu-128 had to operate without the aid of any additional means of guidance. The crew of the interceptor was assigned a certain area of ??barrage, usually at the level of 11,000 m and above. It is worth noting that this height "Fiddler" held, in contrast to such interceptors as the Su-15 and MiG-31, without afterburner.

Serial production of the Tu-128 lasted until 1970. Total production included 188 interceptors. In 1971, 10 aircraft were created for the training of pilots, four of which had been converted from fighters. This version was the naming of the Tu-128UT. Its construction on the site of the radar there is an additional front cabin. Further projects Tupolev bureau with the names of the Tu-138 and Tu-148 did not receive further development.



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