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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Aircraft 64, Tu-64 / Tu-10 - Termination

In early June 1945, A.N.Tupolev and his deputy A.A.Arkhangelsky were summoned to the Kremlin to Stalin. Both of them were sure that it would be a question of "aircraft 64", so they took with them a colorful album with the basic design data "64". But Stalin's conversation did not concern "the plane 64", and the album did not come in handy. According to Arkhangelsky's memoirs, Stalin, having greeted him, immediately went to the heart of the matter: "Comrade Tupolev, you will copy the B-29."

Both the Tu-64 and the B-29 were of about the same dimensions, and generally similar in appearance, apart from the twin tail on the Tu-64. And both aircraft featured generally similar performance characteristics. But the B-29's actual maximum take-off weight was 65,000kg, while the proposed take-off weight of the Tu-64 was 36,000 kg. It might reasonably be assumed that the difference in weight was the difference between hope and promise - reflecting unrealistic aspirations for the Tu-64.

Details are from Shakhurin. "Tupolev, somewhat embarrassed by the unexpected turn of events, said nothing. Archangel answered for both that the task will be carried out, they left Stalin's office and went to the aviation industry commissar AI Shakhurin for receiving a specific task. June 6, 1945 the decision of the State Defense Committee was issued, according to which the Tupolev Design Bureau was entrusted to organize the production of the B-4 (Tu-4) - a Soviet copy-analogue of the B-29 American bomber. The beginning of these works in the Design Bureau was the end of the active design of the "aircraft 64".

Stalin considered it most expedient to copy the American B-29, four copies of which were interned by the USSR in the Far East after their forced landing on Soviet territory. On June 6, 1945, the decision of the State Defense Committee was issued, according to which the Tupolev Design Bureau and the plant No. 22 in Kazan were ordered to organize the production of a B-4 (TU-4) aircraft, a Soviet copy of the B-29 American bomber.

Despite the fact that all the forces of the OKB were switched to the B-4, for another two years the plane "64" remained in the plans of the Tupolev. Since the approval of the model in April 1945, the original project has been repeatedly refined taking into account those design decisions that the OKB engineers saw on the B-29. As a result, the third and final version of the project "64" was ready by the end of 1946 and differed from previous projects. It became a low-level bomber, which allowed to unify the design of the fuselage for both bomber and passenger versions. The glazing of the forward cockpit of the pilots became stepped, which greatly improved the survey. In the front cabin was installed radar "Cobalt" by the type of American AN / APQ-13. On-board equipment, in particular radio navigation, was expanded in accordance with the requirements of the customer and the assembly of similar systems on the V-29. And only a year later, when the first production TU-4 was ready at the Kazan plant and the success of the grandiose program for copying the B-29 became evident, the MAP issued Order No. 223 of April 16, 477, according to which all work on the aircraft "64" stopped. Thus ended more than three-year history of this Tupolev project.

Despite the obvious failure of the "64" project, due mainly to the unpreparedness of the Soviet aviation industry to create aircraft of this class, no organizational conclusions were made with respect to the leading employees of the OKB, and Tupolev continued to work quietly on other projects. All the wrath of Stalin for the disruption of the program "64" appealed to the NKAP and to the command of the Air Force. The plane "64" became one of the arguments of the prosecution in the case against the People's Commissar A. Shakhurin and the commander-in-chief of the Air Force A.Novikov. Both of them were accused of the fact that the Soviet aviation industry lagged behind the western one, was removed from its posts and repressed. After the death of Stalin, they again returned to aviation, Shahurin as deputy minister of the aviation industry, and Novikov - the commander-in-chief of the Long-range aviation. For the design bureau of A.Tupolev, the "64" aircraft became a good school.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 12:14:01 ZULU