Three examples of the Boeing B-29 arrived in late 1944 (examples of which had made emergency landings in Russia during 1944 in the course of operations against Japan); one being dissected and analysed, and the other two used as crew trainers and evaluation.
The Soviet Union built the Tu-4 by copying them as a virtual exterior clone of the B-29 but with significant interior modifications. It was a heavier aircraft and did not possess either the pressurised tunnel linking the forward to midships crew locations or the integral fuel tankage of the B-29. The first of a 20-aircraft pre-production batch flew on 3 July 1947.
Placed in service in 1948, series production terminated after over 400 aircraft had been delivered in 1952, by which time the Tu-4 was in large scale service with the Soviet DA (Long-Range Aviation), being accorded the NATO reporting name 'Bull'. Some were used as wingtip-to-wingtip inflight-refuelling tankers, others as conventional HDU-equipped tankers.
It is reported that about 1200 were built.
The type was exported to China where some were re-engined with Ivchenko AI-20 turboprops and were sporadically used into the 1990s as AEW and drone launching platforms.
Engines: 4 x ASh-90, 1705kW
Max take-off weight: 61300 kg / 135144 lb
Empty weight: 35000 kg / 77162 lb
Wingspan: 43.1 m / 141 ft 5 in
Length: 30.2 m / 99 ft 1 in
Height: 8.5 m / 28 ft 11 in
Wing area: 161.5 sq.m / 1738.37 sq ft
Max. speed: 570 km/h / 354 mph
Ceiling: 11000 m / 36100 ft
Range w/max.payload: 5000 km / 3107 miles
Armament: 5 x 23mm cannons