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Tu-126 Tupolev
Tu-126
ASCC codename: Moss
Airborne Early Warning
And Control Aircraft

DESCRIPTION:
As the remarkable Tu-114 civil airliner was withdrawn from Aeroflot service, about 12 were modified for use as airborne early warning aircraft for the Soviet Navy. The conversion process added a large survellance radar in a rotating dome mounted over the rear-fuselage and replaced the passenger cabin with communications, radar, and signal processing consoles for at least 10 specialist operators.

In addition, the exterior of the aircraft was covered with a number of blisters and fairings covering various electronics equipment. An in-flight refueling system was also installed to increase endurance while a large ventral strake was added to improve stability. The Tu-126 may also have been equipped with powerful jamming equipment for use in an offensive jamming role, but its primary purpose was to supplement Soviet ground-based radars and direct interceptors against low-flying targets.

Although the capabilities of the Tu-126 were often derided by the West who doubted the performance of Soviet electronics, one Tu-126 transferred to the Indian Air Force was highly rated as an exceptional platform during the nation's 1971 war with Pakistan. Nevertheless, the type was withdrawn by about 1990 and replaced by the much more modern A-50.

Last modified 08 August 2010

HISTORY:
First Flight 1967
Service Entry

1971

CREW: 14 to 15: pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer, 10 or 11 systems specialists

ESTIMATED COST:

unknown

AIRFOIL SECTIONS:
Wing Root TsAGI SR-5S
Wing Tip

TsAGI SR-5S

DIMENSIONS:
Length 188.00 ft (57.30 m)
Wingspan 177.33 ft (54.10 m) without refueling probe
167.50 ft (51.10 m) with refueling probe
Height 50.67 ft (15.50 m)
Wing Area 3,348.76 ft (311.10 m)
Canard Area

not applicable

WEIGHTS:
Empty 200,000 lb (90,720 kg)
Normal Takeoff unknown
Max Takeoff 364,970 lb (165,550 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: unknown
external: unknown
Max Payload

unknown

PROPULSION:
Powerplant four Kuznetsov NK-12MV turborpops each driving two AV-60H counter-rotating four-balded reverse-pitch propellers
Thrust 59,180 eshp (44,132 ekW)

PERFORMANCE:
Max Level Speed at altitude: 460 mph (740 km/h)
at sea level: unknown
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling 32,820 ft (10,000 m)
Range unknown
Endurance 25 hr
g-Limits unknown

ARMAMENT:
Gun none
Stations none
Air-to-Air Missile none
Air-to-Surface Missile none
Bomb none
Other none

KNOWN VARIANTS:
Tu-126 Former civil Tu-114 aircraft modified with a large surveillance radar in a radome, processing equipment, and an in-flight refueling probe; about 12 converted

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD:

Bangladesh War (India, 1971)

KNOWN OPERATORS:

India, Bharatiya Vayu Sena (Indian Air Force)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Aviatsiya Voyenno-Morskoyo Flota (Soviet Naval Aviation)

3-VIEW SCHEMATIC:

Tu-126


SOURCES:
  • 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. 291.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 885, Tupolev Tu-114 and Tu-126.
  • Donald, David, ed. The Encyclopedia of Civil Aircraft. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 1999, p. 740, Tupolev Tu-114: Mother of 'Moss'.





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