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Friday, February 27, 2015

Russia’s Bear: The old-fashioned plane still thriving


The Tupolev Tu-95 first thundered over Soviet parades in the mid-1950s. Why does this giant, propeller-driven bomber still make headlines nearly 60 years later? Stephen Dowling investigates.

It first rumbled into the skies back in the early 1950s, an aerial giant that epitomised Soviet military might. Even its codename – ‘Bear’ – underlined its great size and strength.

When the Tupolev Tu-95 first appeared in front of Western observers in 1956, it did so amid a revolutionary surge in aviation design; the decade after the end of World War II saw jet technology become ascendant. Yet the Bear had propeller-driven engines, which even then seemed archaic.

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