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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tu-200 / TuG-75

Two versions of Tu-200 legend inspiration exist, one is leak of 485/487/489 projects info to the West (meanwhile, very limited circles had access to those studies), second is planned leak to let US think that Soviet Union's big sticks are here to come to cool some heads in Washington.

In 1949, the first nuclear device was detonated in the USSR. The country was involved in an unprecedented arms race in which former allies were developing ruthless plans for total destruction of each other. The Soviet Union needed bombers with a range of at least twice that of their American counterparts to attack the North American continent, since America could cover the USSR with a nuclear "carpet" from its numerous European and Asian bases.

The appearance of a nuclear bomb in the USSR in 1949 was a serious event in the West, forcing reconsideration of the situation in the world and the capabilities of its adversary. But only one fact of the emergence of nuclear weapons was not critical - a means of delivery was also necessary. The US relied on bases around the perimeter of the USSR, and the flagship of its air fleet - the B-36 Peacemaker. The soviet Union had neither the bases, nor the "Peacemaker". The Tu-4 copy of the B-29 could not reach America from the territory of the Union. So it ws not a difficult matter to expect a superbomber from the Soviets.

The entry into service of the Tu-4 with a range of no more than 6,000 km could solve combat missions only within Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and from the Far Eastern bases to strike Japan. Attempts to increase its range by equipping the system with refueling in the air did not leave the experimental stage. Therefore, planners seriously considered the scenario of a flight to America one-way, according to which, after completing the assignment, the crew left the plane in a given area, where it was picked up by a submarine. But no options for the modernization of the Tu-4 were ready at the end of the 1940s. The Soviet carrier of nuclear weapons could not create a real threat to America. This required a new bomber.

Studies of the design of the intercontinental strategic aircraft in the Tupolev Design Bureau began immediately after the launch of the TU-4 batch production. There were projects under the indices "471", "473", "474", "485", etc. (the first two digits denoted the year, the last the project number in the current year). All of them differed in their increased sizes, take-off mass and number of engines. For example, the projects of the ultra-long bombers "473" and "485" had a power plant of six ASh-7ZTK engines, a wing span was up to 56 m and the take-off weight was up to 95 tons.

Information about them somehow filtered through the "iron curtain, and in the western aviation publications there were reports of a strategic bomber Tu-200, an analog of the American B-36.

Rumors about the creation of a copy of the B-36 in the USSR began to be published in the Western press since 1947. Sometimes it was reported that the plane was only being designed, sometimes, that it was already undergoing tests. The authors did not give any details, and the information in the notes section was published. The nuclear tests of 1949 fueled interest in the topic, and many analysts recalled the existence of such a project for Russians. Then for the first time appears the designation of the aircraft - Tu-200. Finally, in 1951, Jane's journalists from a "trusted source" received the first photo of the Soviet "Peacemaker".

Flying Magazine reported in December 1951 that "Russia has a turbo-jet sweptwing B-36 - an ultra long-range, intercontinental atomic bomber capable of sliding over the top of the world in a sneak attack on American cities.... By refueling in mid-air it could fly to any of our key industrial cities in an aerial Pearl Harbor.... Russia's B-36 is called the TuG-75 and was designed by the team of Tupolev and Gurevitch. It's a fast, high-altitude sweptwing monster with six turbo-jet engines buried along the wing leading-edge and is roughly the size of the B-36 ....

"In fact, it's very similar in size and shape to the swept-wing version of the YB-36 (the B-60) which is powered by eight jet engines. It's about 200 feet in space, weighs roughly 350,000 pounds with a top speed of probably Mach 0.85 - that is, abot 560 m.p.h above 36,000 ft. and about 645 m.p.h at sea level. Its' maximum all-out range, while depending on many factors, has been estiamted at about 7,500 statues miles, with an effective striking range of 3500 miles and return."

Flying Magazine also reported that "The TuG-75 looks like several other airplanes. The wing is a low mid-wing, in contrast to the Boeing B-47 which carries the wing high on the fuselage. Teh angle of wing sweep is about the same - about 35 since this is considered to be the best compromise between structral strength and aerodynamic benefits at high speed. The fuselage is long and cigar shaped with a pointed conical shaped nose. The cross-section is a circule to hold pressurizaation needed at high altitude.... The cockpit windows are flush with the contours of the fuselage as in the B-29, and B-50." The article continued at some length with technical details that appeared to lend veracity to the airplane, but in reality were little more than a rehearsal of some basic principles of aircraft design.

Then INTERAVIA n.3 in 1952, under the title "Le bombardier "universel" de Staline" started with a declaration of US Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg of 17 February 1951, who said "... USSR is working on a bomber with performance similar to those of Consolidated Vultee B-36..." Speculations about the airplane's layout were "...surely a large bomber with swept wing, swept high mounted stabilizers, six turboprops with contra-rotating propellers..." According to the author, the designation must have been "Tu-75" or "TuG-75, because also Gurevich is involved on the project" but probably "the father of this aircraft is Dr. Ing. Baade, who worked at Junkers Flugzeug und Motorenwerke".

"...the tubular fuselage is 51 mt long and the wing has flexible structure with a span of 68 mt, as the landing gear is bicycle type retracting in the fuselage ...engines are 6 BMW028-derived turboprops developing 7000 HP each and 30 RATO bottles for takeoff only... "...speed could reach 880+ km/h, range and payload is in the same class of B-36 and a crew of 22 men is needed to ensure a good service during long flights... ...another prototype by Tupolev has made its first flight in September 1950, with 6 pair of DB-626 engines, developing 4000 HP each".

Flying Magazine further reported in December 1951 that "the prototype has not yet been flown but is in final stages of construction and is expected to take to the air for the first time late this year. In this respect, earlier reports that a B-36 type aircraft had actually flow at the recent Red Air Force Day celebrations have been discounted. Instead, later identification pinned that plane down as a special long-none Tu-71 (sometimes called Tu-4) - a Russian built B-29. Reports are that Russia plans large scale production of the TuG-75 and that special production equipment has been stolen from Germany for this purpose.

"... Andrei Nikolaevich Tupolev... built the Russian B-29, known as the Tu-71, or at times, the Tu-4. However, he was then given free rein in working up his onw design with the aid of a brilliant mathematician and structural engineer - Mikhail I. Gurevitch (the Mr. "G" in the MiG-15). Tupolev's brain child was the TuG-75. Tupolev and Gurevitch then are the logical Russian design team to attemp anything as ambitious as a B-36 class airplane and we can only wait to see how successful they have been.

The Tug-75 was believed in 1954 to have a maximum speed of 415 mph at a height of 30,000 ft and a range of 7,650 miles.

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Page last modified: 11-02-2018 18:15:06 ZULU