3M: Daily Bomberismo: 1987 Tupolev Tu-95 Bear

In Soviet Russia, some time you buy vodka to get bombed, other time you buy bomber to get vodka…or…invade Ukraine. The Tupolev 95 Bear is the closest you will find to a flying dinosaur, a relic of the 1950s soaring through the air with turbo-prop engines.  The Bear was designed to carry a 9,000 lb payload at an altitude of 40,000 feet up to a distance of 4,500 miles, nuke some Americans and get back home again in time for an apocalyptic post-thermo nuclear winter in Siberia.  This one was only used lightly on the weekends by little old lady airmen and has a total of 454 hours on the clock.  Find this 1987 Tupolev 95 Bear currently bidding for $3,000,000 on ebay with 4 days to go and located for pickup asap in the port city of Nikolaiev, Ukraine.

The Tu-95 is one of the few remaining propeller driven planes in combat use and certainly the only long distance strategic bomber to use turbo-props.  The 35 degree swept by wing design and 15,000 horsepower Kuznetsov NK12-MP turbine engines with counter-rotating prop pairs gives the Tu-95 a suprisingly high top speed.  A passenger variant, the Tu-114,  holds the official top speed for any propeller driven plane at 550 mph.

The interior of this Tu-95 is in good original condition with a few period correct upgrades…at least it doesn’t look infested with spiders.  The teal dash inlay with canvas curtain was a popular dealer installed option at the factory, but the red emergency switches installed on a panel looks like a custom alteration and getting a new un-cut dash will be tricky unless you have contacts who can smuggle Tupolev parts out of mother Russia.

For a special treat, we are going to let DT Russian correspondent Ivan Turizkmo finish this feature:

Ivan T: Back when I flew Tupolev we had one navigator and radio man named Max.  He had eye like fly and could see all gauges at same time.  It was great to watch him flip switch and keep eye on all gauge, dials and radio communication at same time.  Only problem, Max was totally blind at night.  Couldn’t tell difference between Kiev and Krakow after sun set.  One time, we fly night practice mission on our way towards Iceland when Max say we get codes to nuke imperialist American scum back to stone age.

We get all way to New York City and I see Liberty Statue and bright light of Time Square and we open bomb door, press the big red button and — nothing happens.  Bomb is stuck.  We fly all way back to Engels base with bomb bay doors open, freezing our asses off like Siberian winter of 1962.  When we land we find out that Max read code wrong and we all have good laugh.  Next day, we get medal of Lenin for valour because of frostbite and Max…he get shot. 

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