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Tu-16 Tupolev
ASCC codename: Badger
Intercontinental Strategic Bomber

The Tu-16 was first seen by the public during the May Day military parade in 1954. About 2,000 of these versatile aircraft were built as strategic bombers, anti-shipping bombers, aerial refueling tankers, and reconnaissance aircraft. Production of the 'Badger' ended in about 1960 and the type was phased out of Russian service by about 1993.

In addition to the Soviet Air Force and Navy, many Tu-16 survivors were inherited by former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Belarus. All of these were retired during the mid-1990s. The Tu-16 was also exported to the Middle Eastern nations Egypt and Iraq. Several Iraqi planes were reportedly being loaded for a chemical weapon attack when they were destroyed on the runway during the Gulf War in 1991. The last of Iraq's Tu-16 fleet was destroyed during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, and Egypt's Badgers were retired by 2000.

The primary user still operating the Tu-16 is the Chinese Air Force flying a series of progressively updated H-6 bombers license-built by Xian. Some 150 H-6 bombers and derivatives modified for a variety of duties were built through the 1990s. About 120 are estimated to remain in service, and China has also restarted production of the modernized H-6M. A considerably updated H-6K carrying modern electronics and sophisticated cruise missiles is in development.

Data below for Tu-16K-11/16
Last modified 27 March 2011

First Flight 27 April 1952
Service Entry 1954

(Russia) 1993





Wing Root PR-1-10S-9 (15.7%)
Wing Tip PR-1-10S-9 (12%)

Length 114.17 ft (34.80 m)
Wingspan 108.25 ft (32.99 m)
Height 34.00 ft (10.36 m)
Wing Area 1,770 ft (164.7 m)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty 82,010 lb (37,200 kg)
Normal Takeoff 165,350 lb (75,000 kg)
Max Takeoff 174,160 lb (79,000 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: unknown
external: unknown
Max Payload

19,800 lb (9,000 kg)

Powerplant two Mikulin AM-3M turbojets
Thrust 41,840 lb (186.1 kN)

Max Level Speed at altitude: 652 mph (1,050 km/h) at 19,700 ft (6,000 m)
at sea level: unknown
cruise speed: 530 mph (850 km/h)
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling 49,200 ft (15,000 m)
Range typical: 3,135 nm (5,800 km)
ferry: 3,890 nm (7,200 km)
g-Limits unknown

Gun up to seven NR-23 23-mm cannons with two each in remotely-operated dorsal and ventral turrets, two in a manned tail turret, and occassionally one mounted in the nose
Stations one internal weapons bay and two external hardpoints
Air-to-Surface Missile (Tu-16) two KS-1 (AS-1 'Kennel'), one K-10S (AS-2 'Kipper'), or two KSR-5 (AS-6 'Kingfish') anti-ship missiles; two KSR-11 (AS-2 'Kipper') or KSR-5P (AS-6 'Kingfish') anti-radar missiles
(H-6) K-10S (AS-2 'Kipper'), KSR-5 (AS-6 'Kingfish'), C-601 ('Silkworm'), YJ-1/C-101 (CSSC-5 'Saple'), HY-3/C-301 'Sawhorse', YJ-62/C-602, or KD-88/C-802 (CSS-N-8 'Saccade') anti-ship cruise missiles
Bomb various free-fall conventional or nuclear bombs
Other (Tu-16T) torpedoes, mines, depth charges

Tu-16 'Badger-A' First production model strategic bomber armed with conventional or nuclear free-fall bombs
Tu-16A 'Badger-A' Nuclear bomber and one of the main production models, many of which were converted to other purposes; 453 built
Tu-16Z 'Badger-A' Aerial refueling tanker using a wingtip hose to connect to the wingtip of another Tu-16, also retained a medium bomber capability
Tu-16N 'Badger-A' Dedicated aerial refueling tanker fitted with a drogue system to support Tu-22 and Tu-22M bombers
Tu-16NN 'Badger-A' Tu-16Z airframes converted to the Tu-16N configuration
Tu-16G 'Badger-A' Fast air mail variant used for training of Aeroflot and mail-carrying crews also known as the Tu-104G
Tu-16T 'Badger-A' Navy bomber based on the Tu-16A and armed with torpedoes, mines, or depth charges; 76 built
Tu-16S 'Badger-A' Airborne lifeboat carrier converted from Tu-16T airframes and used for search and rescue operations
Tu-16Ye 'Badger-A' Electronic warfare and electronic intelligence model
H-6, H-6A Chinese conventional and nuclear bombers based on the Tu-16A license-built by Xian; approximately 120 built
Tu-16KS 'Badger-B' Based on the Tu-16A but armed with two KS-1 air-to-surface missiles under the wings and carrying a guidance radar in the bomb bay, many later converted to carry free-fall bombs or updated missiles, operated by the Soviet Navy, Egypt, and Indonesia
Tu-16K-10 'Badger-C' Soviet Navy anti-shipping bomber with a wider nose for an attack radar to guide a single K-10S anti-ship missile carried semi-recessed in the bomb bay; 216 built
Tu-16K-10-26 'Badger-C Mod' Tu-16K-10 airframes converted to carry two KSR-2 or KSR-5 missiles, one under each wing, in addition to a K-10S
Tu-16RM & Tu-16RM-1
Tu-16K-10 airframes modified for maritime reconnaissance duties and equipped with several electronic intelligence gathering antennas and radomes, also retained the nose attack radar to guide K-10S missiles launched from other bombers; 23 converted
H-6B Chinese reconnaissance variant of the H-6
Tu-16R 'Badger-E' Reconnaissance model similar to the 'Badger-A' with photography equipment placed in the bomb bay, could also guide KS-1 missiles
Tu-16RM-2 'Badger-E' Modified Tu-16R used by the Soviet Navy that could also guide KSR-2 missiles
Tu-16KRM 'Badger-E' Target drone launcher based on the Tu-16K-26
Tu-16RM-2 'Badger-F' Reconnaissance model based on the 'Badger-E' with underwing electronic intelligence pods
Tu-16K & Tu-16KSR
Soviet Navy bombers similar to the 'Badger-A' and able to carry bombs internally while also armed with KSR-2 or KS-5 missiles under each wing
Tu-16KSR-2 & Tu-16K-16
'Badger-G Mod'
Variants of the 'Badger-G' carrying two KSR-2 anti-ship missiles
Tu-16K-11-16 & Tu-16KSR-2-11
'Badger-G Mod'
Variant of the 'Badger-G' carrying two KSR-2 anti-ship missiles or two KSR-11 anti-radar missiles; about 440 converted
Tu-16K-26 & Tu-16KSR-2-5-11
'Badger-G Mod'
Anti-shipping bomber armed with two KSR-5 missiles and retaining the ability to carry KSR-2 or KSR-11 missiles and featuring a guidance radar between the engine inlets; over 240 converted
Tu-16KSR-2-5 'Badger-G Mod' Conversion similar to the Tu-16K-26 or Tu-16KSR-2-5-11 but lacking the ability to carry the KSR-11
Tu-16K-26P 'Badger-G Mod' 'Badger-G' airframes designed to carry two KSR-5P anti-radar missiles while retaining the ability to carry the KSR-2, KSR-5, or KSR-11
H-6C or H-6-III Conventional bomber with improved countermeasures for self-protection used by the Chinese Air Force
H-6D or H-6-IV Chinese anti-shipping bomber appearing in the early 1980s similar to the 'Badger-G' but carrying two C-601 'Silkworm' anti-ship missiles, updated versions can also carry two C-301 or four C-101 supersonic ant-ship cruise missiles
B-6D Export version of the Chinese H-6D sold to Egypt and Iraq
HY-6 Aerial refueling tanker retaining the ability to carry missiles
HY-6U or H-6U HY-6 airframes modified to remove the fire control system and radar to become dedicated refueling tankers, also has a solid nose
HY-6D H-6D airframes converted into aerial refueling tankers for use by the Chinese Navy except retaining a glass nose and fire control system allowing anti-ship missiles to be carried
HY-6DU HY-6D airframes modified to remove the fire control system and used as dedicated refueling tankes by the Chinese Navy
Tu-16P Elka or
Tu-16PP 'Badger-H'
Electronic countermeasures model equipped with chaff dispensers and used as to escort bombers
Tu-16P Buket or
Tu-16PP 'Badger-J'
Electronic countermeasures model equipped with radar jammers
Tu-16Ye 'Badger-K' Upgraded variant of the 'Badger-F' configured for electronic intelligence and reconnaissance
Tu-16PP 'Badger-L' Upgraded version of the 'Badger-J' used for electronic warfare and electronic intelligence
H-6E Chinese nuclear bomber model with improved countermeasures that was introduced in the 1980s
H-6F H-6A and H-6C airframes upgraded during the 1990s with new inertial navigation systems, a navigation radar, and a GPS receiver and the last bomber model to be equipped with an internal weapon bay or defensive gun turrets
H-6G Targeting platform appearing in the 1990s that provides guidance data to ground-launched cruise missiles, first model lacking an internal bomb bay or defensive weapons
H-6H Land-attack model developed during the 1990s that carries two cruise missiles
H-6M Cruise missile carrier with a terrain-following system and four weapon pylons under the wing, production restarted in 2006
HD-6 Electronic warfare model with a solid nose and canoe fairing covering electronic countermeasures systems
H-6K New missile carrier equipped with larger and more powerful engines requiring larger air intakes plus a solid nose radome and redesigned flight deck
H-6I Bomber prototype with a lengthened fuselage and fitted with four Rolls-Royce engines, two under the wings, used to demonstrate increased range
H-8I Proposal for a new strategic bomber based on the H-6; not built
H-8II Proposal for a more ambitious derivative of the H-6 powered by six engines spaced evenly along a larger span wing with an updated flight deck and solid nose; not built
H-6 Launch Vehicle

Proposal for a solid-rocket-powered satellite launch vehicle to loft a 50-kg payload into orbit from an H-6 at an altitude of 33,000 ft (10,000 m); a mockup appeared in 2006


Six Days War (Egypt, Iraq, 1967)
Yom Kippur War (Egypt, Iraq, 1973)
Iran-Iraq War (Iraq, 1980-1988)
Iraq - Operation Desert Storm (Iraq, 1991)
Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq, 2003)


Armenia (Armenian Air Force)
Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan Air Force)
Belarus, Voyenno Vozdushnyye Sily (Belarus Air Force)
China, Zhongkuo Shenmin Taifang Tsunputai (People's Liberation Army Air Force) - Tu-16, H-6
China (People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force) - Tu-16, H-6
Egypt, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya (Egyptian Air Force) - Tu-16, B-6
Indonesia, Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Udara (Indonesian Air Force)
Iraq, Al Quwwat Al Jawwiya al Iraqiya (Iraqi Air Force) - Tu-16, B-6
Russia, Voyenno Vozdushniye Sili (Russian Air Force)
Russia, Aviatsiya Voyenno-Morskoyo Flota Sily Rossii (Russian Naval Aviation)
Ukraine, Viys'kovo-Povitriani Syly Ukrayiny (Ukraine Military Air Forces)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Voyenno Vozdushniye Sili (Soviet Air Force)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Aviatsiya Voyenno-Morskoyo Flota (Soviet Naval Aviation)



  • Bishop, Chris, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Military Weapons: The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1,000 Weapon Systems from 1945 to the Present Day. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1999, p. 371.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 882.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 228-229.
  • Winchester, Jim. Military Aircraft of the Cold War. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2006, p. 230-231, Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger'.

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