Tupolev Tu-81 / Tu-14
The work done on the Tu-72, -73, -74, -78 and –79 projects were all stages in the development of Soviet jet bombers. Next step was the Tu-81, which would later enter service with the VMS (Voenno Morskie Sili = Navy) as the Tu-14.
Sergei Yeger was again programme leader, but the Tu-81 went back to the twin-engined Tu-72 rather than stay with the three-engined designs of the Tu-73, -74, -78 and –79. This came about because of Klimov’s improved Nene/RD-45, the VK-1, which offered an increase in power from the 2,270kg static thrust of the Rolls-Royce Nene and the RD-45 to 2,740kg, which, combined with a lower empty weight, allowed the third engine to be omitted.
Work on the design and construction began in July 1944. Tupolev and Yeger aimed to keep the aircraft as light as possible, so an uncomplicated result was achieved. Still showing some considerable resemblances to the Tu-72, the Tu-81 was a mid-winged twin-jet bomber still without wing sweep. It was completed in factory N 156 in 1948, and its first flight was made on 13 October 1949. State tests were completed by autumn 1950, and the aircraft was approved for production under the military designation Tu-14T for a VMS role as a torpedo carrier.
Test results showed the Tu-14T as having a performance of 860km/h, a range of 3,000km, and a service ceiling of 11,200m. Some eighty-seven aircraft were built in Irkutsk between 1950 and 1952, and the first examples entered service in 1951. They were armed with two fixed-fire NK-23 cannons and two machine-guns mounted on a tail turret. It served in a patrol role, with the ability to bomb naval targets.
Entering Soviet service in 1951, the NATO code name ‘Bosun’.
Tupolev Tu-14 (Tu-81)
Engines: 2 x VK-1, 26.5kN
Max take-off weight: 24000 kg / 52911 lb
Empty weight: 10000 kg / 22046 lb
Wingspan: 21.7 m / 71 ft 2 in
Length: 21.9 m / 72 ft 10 in
Height: 6.0 m / 20 ft 8 in
Wing area: 67.4 sq.m / 725.49 sq ft
Max. speed: 861 km/h / 535 mph
Cruise speed: 800 km/h / 497 mph
Ceiling: 11200 m / 36750 ft
Range w/max.fuel: 4800 km / 2983 miles
Range w/max.payload: 3000 km / 1864 miles
Armament: 4 x 23mm cannons