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Tu-95/-142 'Bear'

Mon Oct 08, 2001 7:52 pm

I once read an article in a more or less scientific magazine about something that happened during the Cold War. As usual a Tu-95 or Tu-142 were on patrol over the Atlantic Ocean, and this aircraft was intercepted by a Panavia Tornado from the RAF. Now, the writer said that the 'Bear', after meeting the Tornado, the crew did not react to its presence, but they just increased speed. A Soviet-crewmember waved at the Tornado pilots while the aircraft was easily flying away from the fighter. The British pilots even had to use afterburner to be able to follow the Russian Giant.
Now, what I would like to know is whether this is true or not. Is it really so that a Tu-95/-142 can fly that fast making it necessary for some aircraft to use their afterburner to follow them?
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RE: Tu-95/-142 'Bear'

Mon Oct 08, 2001 10:01 pm

Generally,turboprop aircraft have an initial accelleration faster than most jets.
In this case,even thought the "Bear" is very fast,the Tornado would probably be holding formation with fairly low power.This means that the engines would need some time to spool up to max thrust,thus letting the "Bear" gain an distance to the jet.
The civil counterpart of the "Bear" was the TU-114,and this was the fastest airliner in service until the jets appeared on the scene!
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
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RE: Tu-95/-142 'Bear'

Sun Oct 14, 2001 11:45 pm

The fastest Tu-95 was the series 1 built in 1952 with TV-2F engines and had a maximum speed of 945km/h.

Latter model Tu-95s fitted with various versions of the Kuznetsov NK-12 engine producing 12 000 shaft horse power were all slower having maximum speeds of between 830 and 910km/h.

The Tornado was designed as a low level interceptor where it performs admirably well. Twin Turbo-Union RB.199 augmented turbofans enabled it to reach a speed of 1 483 km/h "on the deck". At higher altitudes it is a different story, where the RB.199 was not intended to fly, except in the transit stage of a mission. The engines run short of thrust at upper levels and this was countered by adding an improved afterburner on the ADV (specialist air defence version).

Now as we do not know when, where, or at what altitude this incident happened, which model Tu-95 Bear was involved, or which model of the Tornado and what weight and equipment the Tornados were carrying, it is impossible to analyse the incident, but if it happened at high altitude where Bears used to cruise ie. 35 - 40 000 feet, then it is feasible that the story has an element of truth.

Behind every "no" is a "yes"
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RE: Tu-95/-142 'Bear'

Mon Oct 15, 2001 10:22 am

The Bear is one of the fastest prop aircraft in the speed of about 570 mph, cruise speed is about 500 or so I think...

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RE: Tu-95/-142 'Bear'

Mon Oct 15, 2001 6:08 pm

That story is true (there is even a picture on the net showung a F3 with afterburner following a bear) the bear was very fast at the interception alltitude and have great acceleration potential (modification of the angle of the screw) then the tornado F3 is crap at those altitude with poor accelleration and so on the same scenario will not have happens to an other fighter at an other alltitue. it is in fact more a proof of a weakness of the tornado than of the performance of the bear.

here is an extract of an article on the bear vs tornado
Bear Acceleration -

The accounts of Bears out-accelerating western jet fighters are true,
but only in the case of Tornado F.3 intercepts. This is more a measure
of the Tornado's weaknesses at high altitude than the Bear's exceptional
capabilities. The Tornado's high wing-loading and engines optimized for
low altitude make it a slug in the high altitude, subsonic regime. This
performance failing is well known throughout NATO, but Gulf War
experiences and recent accounts of Bear intercepts have brought the
deficiency to public light. The Bear is powerful, fast and efficient
for a subsonic bomber, but most fighters will leave it in the dust
without the mere flicker of an AB plume.

and an other extract

with bear performance
Max. speed at 25,000 ft 575 mph, at S/L 404 mph, nominal cruising speed 442 mph, ceiling 39,370 ft, combat radius with 25,000 lb payload 3,975 miles, with one in-flight refueling 5,155 miles.

It is rumored that Bear is known to be able to out accelerate contemporary western interceptors. This hard to believe fact can be accounted by use of variable-pitch propellers of NK-12M turboprops. Modern jets need to use afterburners to keep up with accelerating Bear. In fact, one of the photo showing Panavia Toronado using reheat on one of the engines while pursuing this remarkable bomber.

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RE: Tu-95/-142 'Bear'

Mon Oct 15, 2001 6:10 pm

Turboprop can't reach Mach 1, so you can't fly away from a Tornado. You might have a faster acceleration, but every Jet will hold formation, after he accelerated too.

Imprezas rule!!
Rodrigo Santos
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Mon Oct 15, 2001 11:44 pm

Well, you can´t hold your afterburner on for a lot of time, can you?
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RE: Fightingfalcon

Tue Oct 16, 2001 3:02 am

Remember the RB.199s are very fuel-effiecent, if a shooting war had happened, the Bears would have been engaged with BVR Skyflash AAMs head on, and those props are a very large radar target!
But the F3 is best at low to medium altitudes, in fact it's acceleration is very good at those levels.
But it was an interim solution to a very specific requirement, hence the early replacement by EF Typhoon.

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