Tupolev Tu-16

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Tupolev Tu-16
Tupolev Tu-16R
Tupolev Tu-16R
Type: Strategic bomber
Design country:

Soviet Union 1923Soviet Union Soviet Union


OKB Tupolev

First flight:

April 27, 1952


Late 1953

Production time:


Number of pieces:


The Tupolew Tu-16 ( Russian Туполев Ту-16 , NATO code name : "Badger" ) was one of the first operational jet-propelled bombers and flew for the first time on April 27, 1952 as a prototype Type 88/1 (Project "N"). It was the Soviet Union's second strategic bomber . The Tu-16 is still in use as the Xian H-6 in China today.


At the end of the 1940s, a successor to the Tu-4 was sought in the Soviet Union . The new bomber should be able to carry at least 6,000 kg bomb load 5,000 km at a cruising speed of 800 km / h. After Tupolev had first tried to get to the target by modernizing the Tu-4 to the Tu-85 , he turned to a completely new design, so that in early 1949, the first research for the heavy and fast long-range bomber Tu-88 began. A major problem was to accommodate the relatively large Mikulin engines that did not fit under the wings. It was ultimately decided to arrange them on both sides of the hull, which is why the bomb bay had to be redesigned.

When the Tu-16 was put into service as a strategic , medium-weight bomber with the Soviet air forces from the end of 1953, just one year after its first flight on April 27, 1952, the machine demonstrated remarkable performance in terms of speed and range for its time on. The machine was shown publicly for the first time on July 20, 1954 at the air parade in Tuschino . On November 22, 1955, a Tu-16 under the command of F. P. Solowaschko was the first time in the Soviet Union to test a hydrogen bomb of the type RDS-37 from an airplane.

The long-range forces of the Russian Air Force used Tu-16s until 1993 .


The Tu-16 was designed as a middle-wing aircraft with two engines integrated into the wings. Due to the large diameter of the Mikulin - RD-3M -Triebwerke a cable diameter of 1.5 m would have been expected, the result would have a too small distance to the ground in an arrangement of the engines beneath the wings. This then led to the already mentioned arrangement of the engines on both sides of the fuselage in the wing roots.

The fuselage of the Tu-85 was used as a template for the fuselage. In order to be able to arrange the new engines in the area of ​​the central fuselage, the previous circular cross-section had to be abandoned and the bomb bay had to be provided with vertical side walls instead. Only as much material as necessary should then remain between the engines and the bomb bay. The engines were connected to the fuselage using bolts and screws on two chrome steel ring frames. An articulated mounting of the lower segment made the engines exchangeable. The main spars of the wings were bolted above the ribs . The engine inlets have a round cross-section with a flattened top. The thrust nozzles are directed outwards by 3 degrees from the longitudinal axis of the fuselage, in order to avoid thermal stress on the fuselage from the hot exhaust gas jet. This should not cause any impairments in flight, and if an engine fails, the asymmetrical distribution of the thrust is barely noticeable. This complex fuselage-engine arrangement not only gave the Tu-16 its characteristic silhouette, but also reduced its cross-section by a third. This reduction was necessary according to the specifications of the aerodynamicists at ZAGI in order to comply with the area rule .


The nose of the fuselage in the original version and in several later versions is designed as a glazed cockpit for the navigator / bombardier, a construction that can be found on many Tupolev aircraft. Only the Badger-C / D versions have a cladding on the front of the fuselage to accommodate the antenna of the search and measuring radar. Behind it is the cockpit, which not only houses the pilot and copilot but also the radio operator / upper gunner seated opposite to the flight direction. This part of the crew climbs into the aircraft via an extension ladder that can be folded down to the front. The later variants were equipped with ejection seats. The crew members in the stern are ejected downwards with the ejection seat.

Behind the cockpit section and in front of the bomb bay is the front fuel tank. Like the rear one, this is designed as an integral tank and takes up the entire cross-section of the fuselage. The weapon bay is placed in the center section of the wing. In the versions with an existing weapon bay, this is equipped with electronically operated flaps. The weapon bay can also be heated for the use of nuclear weapons. In the reconnaissance and Eloka versions, the weapon bay has been converted to accommodate the deployment system. On the shaft flaps of versions designed for carrying missiles there are suspension stations for receiving the missiles.

In the rear of the fuselage are the places for the rear gunner / observer and the second radio operator / gunner. The former has its own station for this purpose, while the other has two lateral viewing domes. For access to the seats in the stern, there are two fold-out access ladders under the fuselage, which open in the event of an emergency exit and function as a windbreaker in this position, so that the parachute can safely exit. There is no connecting tunnel between the cockpit and the stern section.

The manned areas are pressurized and equipped with sound and heat insulating cladding. The outer skin of the fuselage, which is circular in cross-section, is 1 to 2 mm thick, up to 3 mm in heavily loaded areas. Its largest cross-section is 2.5 m.


The wings have a span of 32.93 m, have a wing area of 164.65 m² and are swept twice. The inner part of the wing has a sweep of 40.5 ° up to the first boundary layer fence . The remaining wing is swept at 37.5 ° (measured at the leading edge of the wing). There are two boundary layer fences per wing. In order to comply with the area rule on the wings, gondola-shaped thickenings are attached to the rear edges, which are necessary for relief. The wing is a double spar construction, whereby the arrangement of the engines on the side of the fuselage also caused problems here. In order to enable air to be supplied through the air inlet ducts to the engines, the spar had to be broken through and a cross-section that corresponded to the air inlet of the engine nacelle had to be maintained. For this purpose, a trapezoidal spar end piece was designed, which was mounted on the wide side of the fuselage and on the narrow side on the spar.

As a high-lift aid , the Tu-16 has two two-part landing flaps per wing (separated by the landing gear container), which are designed as slotted flaps . They can be extended up to 35 ° by means of electric motors and axle spindles . The one-piece ailerons are attached to the outside of the wings behind the second boundary layer fence. These are provided with internal axle compensation and each has a forced coupled trim tab . The ailerons are driven by hydraulic amplifiers. The leading edges of the wings are rigid and, like the air inlets, are de-iced with bleed air.

At the port wing ends of most Tu-16s there is a harness for air refueling . The special feature of the Tu-16 is that it takes place via a "wing-to-wing" hose connection. The specialized air tankers have an air refueling device with a tank hose at the end of the starboard wing. Most other Tu-16 versions instead have a quick fuel drain pipe at the end of the starboard wing. The pressure refueling via refueling ports on the wing base on both wings.

For maintenance of the engine, there are large maintenance hatches on the top and bottom to ensure good access to the engine.

Tail unit

The tail unit is designed as a cross tail unit. The rudder unit is swept and is only slightly elongated towards the end. The one-piece rudder is provided with an auxiliary flap and is controlled by a power amplifier. The rigid swept tailplane have one-piece elevators that are manually operated and have auxiliary flaps that are automatically carried along.

landing gear

The Tu-16 has a nose landing gear with double tires and, unlike the previous Tu-85 model, two four-wheel main landing gear. This configuration enables operation on poorly groomed slopes. The arrangement of the engines meant that the main landing gear could not be retracted into the fuselage. For this reason, gondola-shaped thickenings were attached to the wings. The landing gear retracts by tilting the front wheels backwards and the rear wheels forwards. These gondolas also serve to comply with the area rule. To prevent a tailstrike during take-offs and landings, there is a retractable tail spur at the stern. All undercarriages, the tail spur and the brakes are controlled hydraulically.


Cockpit of a Tu-16

The Tu-16 has extensive electronic equipment, which differs between the individual versions due to the different uses. The VHF whip antenna of the RSIU-3M radio is stretched from the top of the fuselage to the end of the rudder unit. Furthermore, antenna gates for shortwave radio for communication over long distances are attached on both sides behind the cockpit. There are two more VHF antennas under the fuselage, which are connected to VHF radios # 1 and # 2. The IFF antenna is located on the underside of the fuselage at the stern.

The argon navigation and bomb target radar is attached to the underside of the fuselage under a teardrop-shaped panel. The anti- ship version Badger-C and the ELINT reconnaissance unit Badger-D have a large radome instead of the bow glazing to accommodate the search and range-finding radar. There is also a radar above the tail stand to monitor the area behind the aircraft. It is known by NATO as the "Bee Hind" and is used by the rear gunner to aim the rear weapons.

The Tu-16 VOR , ILS and the radio altimeter RV-17 in front of the bomb bay are used for flight guidance .

Most of the avionics equipment is in cabinets behind the cockpit section.


Soviet Union

The main variants were those of the Tu-16 and Tu-16A bombers, the missile carriers Tu-16KS and Tu-16K-10, the Tu-16SPS, "Elka" and Tu-16Je as ECM aircraft, the Tu-16R as Reconnaissance plane and the Tu-16T torpedo bombers. Other derivatives were produced from remodeling. Individual aircraft (especially the missile carriers) were modified several times to meet the requirements.

  • Tu-16 (NATO code name Badger-A) - basic variant that was to replace the Tu-4 from 1954. There are a few variants, all known as Badger A in the West .
  • Tu-16A (Badger-A) - Modified Tu-16 for atomic bombing, 453 units built. Many machines were later converted into other variants.
  • Tu-16Z (Badger-A) - A tanker version of the Tu-16 (tank method: "wing-to-wing"), which could also be used as a bomber.
  • Tu-16G / Tu-104G (Badger-A) - fast airmail model, training version for flight crews of Aeroflot.
  • Tu-16 "Zyklon" (Badger-A) - weather reconnaissance aircraft
  • Tu-16LL (Badger-A) - engine test vehicle
  • Tu-16N (Badger-A) - A tanker version for the Tu-22 / Tu-22M bombers. Used from 1963. A similar aircraft, the Tu-16NN , was derived from the Tu-16Z.
  • Tu-16T (Badger-A) - small number of torpedo bombers for Soviet naval aviation. Carried up to four 533 mm torpedoes, mines and depth charges. 76 built and some more rebuilt. All machines were later converted into Tu-16S.
  • Tu-16S (Badger-A) - version for search and rescue missions (with throwable lifeboats on board)
  • Tu-16Je (Badger-A) - version for electronic warfare and electronic reconnaissance ( ELINT ).
  • Tu-16KS (Badger-B) - variant designed as a launch platform for two KS-1 - "Komet" missiles, 107 built in the period 1954–1958, in service with the Soviet naval aviation, Egypt and Indonesia. Later converted for newer missiles.
  • Tu-16K-10 (Badger-C) - another naval variant, machines of this version carried a single K-10S anti-ship missile. 216 units were built between 1958 and 1963. It had a “JeN” radar for target finding and rocket guidance for the K-10S in the nose of the fuselage. Another development
  • Tu-16K-10-26 (Badger-C) - This machine carried a single K-10S and two missiles KSR-2 or KSR-5 (K-26 missile complex). Some were later converted into ELINT versions.
  • Tu-16RM-1 (Badger-D) - maritime surveillance version with ELINT equipment; 23 converted from Tu-16K-10. It kept its radar in a nose and could guide the K-10S missile
  • Tu-16R (Badger-E) - surveillance version with ELINT equipment, first built for maritime surveillance. She could also wield KS missiles.
  • Tu-16RM-2 (Badger-E) - modified Tu-16R for the Navy. She could carry KSR-2 missiles.
  • Tu-16KRM (Badger-E) - launch platform for target drones (a variant of the Tu-16K-26).
  • Tu-16RM-2 (Badger-F) - a monitoring version based on the -16R / RM, but with additional external ELINT equipment.
  • Tu-16K / Tu-16KSR (Badger-G) - conversion from earlier naval versions. These were designed to carry bombs in the internal weapon bay in addition to external air-to-ground missiles such as the AS-5 "Kelt" or AS-6 "Kingfish". There are numerous variants designed for the missile carried (K-11, K-16 and K-26, KSR-11 , KSR-2 and KSR-5). The following other named variants existed:
  • Tu-16KSR-2 (Badger-G) - with missile complex K-16 (two missiles KSR-2). Used from 1962 onwards. Similar aircraft, converted from other variants, were designated as Tu-16K-16 .
  • Tu-16K-11-16 (Badger-G) - with K-16 (missile KSR-2) or K-11 missile complex (two anti-radar missiles KSR-11). Used from 1962. Converted aircraft were designated as Tu-16KSR-2-11 . Over 440 pieces built.
  • Tu-16K-26 (Badger-G) - with missile complex K-26 (two missiles KSR-5) or alternatively KSR-2 or KSR-11 missiles. In use from 1969. Similar aircraft were called Tu-16KSR-2-5-11 or Tu-16KSR-2-5 (could not carry a KSR-11). Over 240 Tu-16s built.
  • Tu-16K-26P Badger-G - version for the K-26P missile complex (two anti-radar KSR-5P missiles, as well as KSR-5, 2 or 11).
  • Tu-16 "Elke" (Badger-H) - Designed for electronic warfare or electronic countermeasures.
  • Tu-16P "Büket" (Badger-J) - another variant for electronic warfare .
  • Tu-16Je (Badger-K) - probably a version in the Badger F configuration with improved ELINT capability.
  • Tu-16P (Badger-L) - another version of the Badger J with more modern systems for the ELINT role.

People's Republic of China

A Xian H-6M of the Chinese Air Force

China developed its own variant, the Xian H-6, based on Tu-16 kits supplied from the Soviet Union.

States of operations

  • Soviet UnionSoviet Union Soviet Union : The WWS also used the Tu-16 outside of their home country on bases in allied states and the like. a. in Vietnam ( Cam Ranh Bay ).
    • RussiaRussia Russia : the Tu-16s taken over from the Soviet Union continued to operate until 1993.
    • CIS countries : all Tu-16s that were transferred to the air forces of the successor states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union were retired in the 1990s.
      • UkraineUkraine Ukraine : After the fall of the Soviet Union, had around 50 reconnaissance aircraft and missile carriers. The aircraft were stationed at the 260th HBAP in Stryi and at the 251st HBAP in Belaya Tserkov.
  • EgyptEgypt Egypt : Received 25 Badger-G , of which eight machines are to be operated from Cairo West.
  • IndonesiaIndonesia Indonesia : Equipped its air forces with 25 Tu-16s from July 2, 1961. These were spread over two seasons. The remaining stock of 22 aircraft should now be stored.
  • IraqIraq Iraq : Acquired eight Tu-16s from the Soviet Union for the war against Iran.


Six Day War

Egypt lost its 20 Badger-A's, which were supplied by the then Soviet Union, to attacks by the Israelis in the Six Day War . In their place, the Egyptian Air Force received new Badger-G attack aircraft with air-to-surface missiles KSR-2 ( Russian КСР-2П ). A Badger-G crashed in Egypt on September 1, 1975.


Tu-16s were used in Afghanistan by the Soviet Air Force. Which version and whether as a bomber or in another role is not known.

Technical specifications

Three-sided view of the Tu-16
Parameter Data of the Tu-16A ("Badger-A")
length 36.25 m
span 32.99 m
height 10.36 m
Wing area 164.65 m²
Wing extension 6.61
Wing loading
  • minimum (empty weight): 222 kg / m²
  • maximum (maximum take-off weight): 460 kg / m²
Empty mass 36,600 kg
Max. Takeoff mass 75,800 kg
Top speed 990 km / h
Service ceiling 12,800 m
Range approx. 5,800 km
Engines two Mikulin AM-3 M jet engines with 93.2 kN thrust
crew 6th
Rescue system 6 ejection seats for the crew members, in older versions round-cap parachutes


Self defense

Rear armament of the Tupolev Tu-16

Depending on the version, the Tu-16 is armed with up to seven 23-mm automatic cannons Afanasjew-Makarow AM-23 . Two of them are located in a stern mount in the stern and in the two flattened remote-controlled weapon turrets on the fuselage behind the cockpit and under the fuselage in front of the tail skid. These automatic cannons can either be guided by the radar on the tail stand or manually by the shooters. The gunner for the lower turret has two observation domes on the side of the fuselage. The gunner for the upper turret sits against the direction of flight behind the pilot and can see his firing range through an observation dome in front of the turret. In some Badger versions, a seventh on-board cannon is installed rigidly in the direction of flight on the right side of the bow pulpit and is operated by the pilot.

  • 1 × 23-mm automatic cannon Afanasjew-Makarow AM-23 with 200 rounds of ammunition
  • 1 × twin mount in rotating dome turret 9-A-036 each with 2 × 23-mm machine cannons Afanasjew-Makarow AM-23 with 225 rounds of ammunition each in the rear stand. The control was carried out by the rear gunner from his pressure cabin using the "Bee Hind" fire control radar.
  • 2 × twin mounts in rotating weapon turrets, each with 2 × 23-mm automatic cannons-Afanasjew-Makarow AM-23 with 200 rounds of ammunition each under and over the hull

Later variants were equipped with the electronic jamming system SPS-100 "Reseda". This was installed instead of the rear stand.

Drop weapons

Gun loading of 9000 kg at 2–7 external load stations (only H-6) and in the bomb bay
The bomber versions are able to hold conventional and also nuclear weapons with a maximum weight of 9,000 kg in the bomb bay. The bomb bay in the fuselage was chosen so large that the largest bomb at the time (FAB-9000) could be carried. The later versions of the Tu-16 can also carry bombs at the two lower wing stations. The anti-naval versions have several types of missiles. The Badger-B, the first version for naval aviation , could accommodate a single missile KS-1 under a wing. The following Badger-C was initially equipped with a K-10S missile system under the fuselage. The Badger-G was initially equipped with the missile system KSR-2 , which could be picked up at underwing stations. As a result, free-fall bombs could still be carried in the bomb bay. All of these missiles had the appearance of a small aircraft. Several Badger-C and Badger-G were later converted to accommodate the more modern supersonic missile KSR-5 .
Air-to-surface guided missile
Ch-26 anti-ship missile on a Tupolev Tu-16K
  • 4 × RAT-52 torpedoes (450 mm, unguided, rocket propelled)
  • 6 × 45-54WT torpedo (450 mm, unguided)
  • 6 × 45-56NT torpedo (450 mm, unguided)
Unguided bombs
  • 12 × UDM (500 kg sea ​​mines )
  • 12 × AMD-2-500 (500 kg sea mine)
  • 60 × basalt FAB-100M-54 (100 kg free-fall bomb )
  • 24–36 × basalt FAB-250M-54 (250 kg free-fall bomb; Tu-16A 24 bombs, Tu-16K-26 36 bombs)
  • 12–18 × basalt FAB-500M-54 (500 kg free-fall bomb; Tu-16A 12 bombs, Tu-16K-26 18 bombs)
  • 24–36 × ZAB-250 (250 kg incendiary bomb )
  • 12–18 × ZB-500RT (450 kg napalm bomb )
  • 4–6 × FAB-1500 (1500 kg free-fall bomb)
  • 3 × FAB-3000 (3000 kg free fall bomb)
  • 1 × FAB-5000 (5000 kg free fall bomb)
  • 1 × FAB-9000 (9000 kg free fall bomb)
  • 1–2 RDS-04 "Tatjana" (8U69, nuclear 42 kt free-fall bomb )
  • 1–2 8U-49 "Natascha" (nuclear free-fall bomb)
Guided bombs
  • 2 × UB-2F "Chaika"
  • 2 × UB-5 "Condor"

See also


  • Rainer Göpfert: Flies since 1952: Tupolew Tu-16 - a medium-range bomber. Part 1 . In: FLiEGERREVUE X . PPV Medien, Bergkirchen 2019, p. 68-88 .
  • Rainer Göpfert: War operations and exports: Tupolew Tu-16 in action. Part 2 . In: FLiEGERREVUE X . PPV Medien, Bergkirchen 2019, p. 50-59 .
  • Dieter Stammer: Modern Soviet and Russian warplanes. Bombers and fighter bombers . Edition Berolina, Berlin 2012, p. 62-79 .
  • Tupolev Tu-16 "Badger" . In: de Agostini (ed.): Aircraft. The new encyclopedia of aviation . No. 110 . Topic, Munich-Karlsfeld 1995, p. 3060-3070 .
  • Wilfried Copenhagen : Soviet bomb planes . Transpress , Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-344-00391-7 , pp. 187-190 .
  • Wilfried Copenhagen: Legendary aircraft: Tupolev Tu-16 . In: Wolfgang Sellenthin (Ed.): Fliegerkalender der DDR 1982 . Military Publishing House , Berlin 1981, p. 87-97 .
  • Piotr Butowski: Military Aircraft of Eastern Europe. (2) Bombers & Attack Aircraft . Hong Kong 1992.

Web links

Commons : Tupolev Tu-16  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl-Heinz Eyermann , Wolfgang Sellenthin: The air parades of the USSR. Central Board of the Society for German-Soviet Friendship, 1967. p. 37
  2. Rainer Göpfert: “Maria” and “Tatjana” - The testing of nuclear weapons by the air forces of the USSR. In: Flieger Revue Extra No. 36, PPVMedien, Bergkirchen 2012, ISSN  2194-2641 . P. 16
  3. a b c Tu-16 BADGER (TUPOLEV). fas.org, August 8, 2000, accessed January 24, 2018 .