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Tupolev Tu-72 / Tu-73


The bureau developed the Tu-72 as a contender for the Soviet air force’s main light bomber requirement, which was ultimately met by the cheaper Il-28. It was to be a mid-winged, twin-engined aircraft without sweep, and the engines were due to be hung under the wings. Rolls-Royce Nenes were the chosen powerplants, but Air Force worries over the adequacy of two engines to power an aircraft of this size and weight led Tupolev to design a similar, but slightly larger aircraft, the Tu-73, with a third engine, this time a 3500-lb / 1600kg Rolls-Royce Derwent, fitted in the tail but with an S-shaped duct air intake noticeable at the front of the fin. While design work of both aircraft continued in parallel, it was the three-engined Tu-73 that was actually built.

Its first flight was made on 29 December 1947. It went well. During state tests, its performance was measured as top speed 870km/h, range 2,800km, and service ceiling 11,500m.

The Tu-74 (or Tu-73R) was a proposed photo-reconnaissance version which was not developed.

The Tu-78 and Tu-79 were essentially the Tu-73 but with Soviet licence-built Rolls-Royce engines.

Engines: 2 x 2270kg Rolls Royce Nene I and 1 x 1589kg Derwent V turbojet
Max take-off weight: 24200 kg / 53352 lb
Empty weight: 14340 kg / 31614 lb
Wingspan: 21.71 m / 71 ft 3 in
Length: 20.32 m / 67 ft 8 in
Wing area: 67.36 sq.m / 725.06 sq ft
Max. speed: 872 km/h / 542 mph
Range: 2810 km / 1746 miles
Armament: 6 x 23mm cannon
Bombload: 3000kg

Tupolev Tu-73



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