Beautiful Pics Of A Rare Tu-128 – The Largest & Heaviest Fighter Ever In Service

 
 
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The Tupolev Tu-28, a Soviet long-range interceptor from the 1960s, had the NATO reporting name Fiddler. At the time, it was the largest and heaviest fighter which had ever been in service.

In the ’50s, the Soviet Union wanted to be able to defend against the possibility of nuclear-armed American bombers crossing its borders. Interceptors at the time only had a range of a few hundred kilometers and the newly developed surface-to-air missiles (or SAMS) had even shorter range. With both of these factors taken into account, the sheer numbers required to defend a 5,000 km air front became literally impossible to maintain.

Because of this, the Soviet Union was only able to provide a modern air defense for a few of the most valuable areas. The Soviet Air Defence Forces decided to try to cover the entire territory, but with a more limited defense. In 1955 it decided it needed a defense interceptor which could cover a large area from a small number of air bases.

The work on this kind of fighter began in 1958, and the result was the Tu-128.

Unless otherwise stated, credit for all photos goes to Marina Lystseva.

In West, more commonly used designation for this aircraft was Tu-28
In West, more commonly used designation for this aircraft was Tu-28
Especially long nothern border of Russia was vulnerable.
Especially long nothern border of Russia was vulnerable for possible violations.
First flight was 18 March 1961.
First flight was in 18 March 1961.
(By Kaboldy - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0) https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25610108
Photo Credit
Built by Voronezh Aircraft Production Association.
Built by Voronezh Aircraft Production Association.

The aircraft remained in service until 1990.
The aircraft remained in service until 1990.
Developed from Tupolev Tu-98 bomber prototype.
Developed from Tupolev Tu-98 bomber prototype.

Production of the Tu-128 ended in 1970 with total 198 aircraft having been built...
Production of the Tu-128 ended in 1970 with total 198 aircraft having been built…
...including 10 trainers.
…including 10 trainers.
Western experts, unaware that the bulge on the belly carried testing instruments, mistook it for a large ventral radar for a mixed interceptor/AWACS role.
Western experts, unaware that the bulge on the belly carried testing instruments, mistook it for a large ventral radar for a mixed interceptor/AWACS role.
Development of various projects designated Tu-28A, Tu-28-80, Tu-28-100, Tu-138, and Tu-148 were proposed by the Tupolev Design Bureau but all were abandoned.
Development of various projects designated Tu-28A, Tu-28-80, Tu-28-100, Tu-138, and Tu-148 were proposed by the Tupolev Design Bureau but all were abandoned.

The Tu-128's only publicly reported combat operation was the destruction of NATO reconnaissance balloons.
The Tu-128’s only publicly reported combat operation was the destruction of NATO reconnaissance balloons.
Through the 1980s, units armed with the Tu-128 converted to the Mikoyan MiG-31.
Through the 1980s, units armed with the Tu-128 converted to the Mikoyan MiG-31.

Now it stands as a remnant of the Cold War...
Now it stands as a remnant of the Cold War…
...in its Motherland - Russia.
…in its Motherland – Russia.

General Specs

Crew: Two, pilot and radar operator
Length: 30.06 m (98.62 ft)
Wingspan: 17.53 m (57.51 ft)
Height: 7.15 m (23.46 ft)
Wing area: 96.94 m² (1,043.45 ft²)
Empty weight: 24,500 kg (54,013 lb)
Loaded weight: 40,000 kg (88,185 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 43,000–43,700 kg (94,800–96,342 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Lyulka AL-7F-2 afterburning turbojet

Dry thrust: 72.8 kN (7,425 kgf; 16,370 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 99.1 kN (10,100 kgf; 22,270 lbf) each

Maximum g-loading: 2.5 g
Maximum fuel load: est. 13,600 kg (30,000 lb)

Performance

Maximum speed: when armed 1,665 km/h (1,035 mph; est. 1.5 Ma) when unarmed 1,920 km/h (1,193 mph)
Range: 2,565 km when armed (1,595 mi)
Endurance: above 3 hours
Service ceiling: 15,600 m when armed (51,184 ft)
Maximum ceiling: 20,000 m (65,617 ft)

Armament

Hardpoints: 4
Missiles: 4 × Bisnovat R-4 air-to-air missiles (usually 2 × radar-guided R-4R and 2 × infrared-homing R-4T); other armament or tanks not used

 
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