The Bull is a midwing, four-engine, medium bomber with two bomb bays centrally located in the fuselage, extending fore and aft of the wing. Defensive armament consists of four turrets located in upper forward, lower forward, lower rear, and tail positions.
The first Tu-4 bomber was finished in the spring of 1947 and carried out flight tests beginning on May 9th 1947 and continuing through 1949. Full-scale production of the aircraft, began in 1947 at the plant Nr. 22 in Kazan and at plant Nr. 18 in Kuibyshev. In 1948, an additional construction plant in Moscow, Nr. 23, was subsequently adapted to build the TU-4. Production in Moscow began in 1950 and when total production of the TU-4 finally finished in 1952, a total of 847 bombers had been produced [according to Russian sources -- according to Western estimates, a maximum of about 1,300 were deployed by 1954].
The deployment of the TU-4 bomber began in 1949, and they replaced wartime bombers such as the IL-4, B-25, PYE-8, B-17 and B-24 aircraft in Long-Range Aviation units. Patrolling mainly over Soviet territory, the bombers had a capability to strike at Europe, Northern Africa, the Near East and Japan.
From 1954 on, the bombers Tu-4 were gradually replaced by Tu-16 medium-range bombers and from 1956 on by Tu-95 intercontinental bombers.
The Tu-4 bomber (the only aircraft in the history of Soviet aviation, the Act on State testing, which had been approved by the President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of defence, I.V.Stalin) played a role in strengthening the country's defense capability. With the adoption of the Soviet air force, the United States lost a monopoly not only on the possession of weapons of mass destruction, but also the means of delivery.
However, aerial combat over Korea, which faced the American B-29 Soviet jet fighters, showed that piston military aircraft were done for. In the USSR the planes Tu-4 (NATO designation code is Bull) were the last serial heavy bombers with piston engines. Until the mid-1950s, they formed the basis of strategic Aviation of the USSR. Outstanding engineering talent, breadth of technical and public thinking allowed Tupolevu to raise in a short period of entire industries to the world level. Further on this Foundation original designs were made for the Tupolev Tu-16 and TU-95 — which do not have analogs in the world of aviation. With the advent of more advanced bomber, the Tupolev Tu-4 bombers continued their service in the VTA until they are pushed out by specialized AN-12.
A number of Tu-4 (about 15 machines) at the end of the 1950s were transferred to the People's Republic of China. Tu-4 served in China until the beginning of the 1970s.
Today, only one copy of the Tu-4 survived, stored in the Monino aviation museum near Moscow. Although this is not a very good survival rate with hundreds of manufactured specimens, it is an excellent demonstration of how Stalin pushed the development of the Soviet aerospace industry.
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