Tupolev Tu-143

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Tu-143
Tu-143 Reis.jpg
Tu-143 "Reys"
Role unmanned reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer Tupolev
First flight 1970
Introduction 1973
Status Active
Primary user Soviet Union
Russia
Ukraine
Produced 1970–1989
Number built 950
Developed from Tupolev Tu-141

The Tupolev Tu-143 Reys (Flight or Trip, Russian: Рейс) was a Soviet unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in service with the Soviet Army and a number of its Warsaw Pact and Middle East allies during the late 1970s and 1980s. It contained a reconnaissance pod that was retrieved after flight, and from which imagery was contained.[1]

History[edit]

Development[edit]

Tu-143 with launcher

The Tu-143 was introduced in 1976 and strongly resembled the Tu-141, but was substantially scaled-down. It was a short-range (60–70 kilometer) tactical reconnaissance system and had low-level flight capability. The Tu-143 was truck-launched with JATO boosting, recovered by parachute, and powered by a TR3-117 turbojet with 5.8 kN (590 kgf, 267 lbf) thrust. The initial version carried film cameras, but later versions carried a TV or radiation detection payload, with data relayed to a ground station over a datalink. Some 950 units were produced in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Tu-143 was used by Syria in reconnaissance missions over Israel and Lebanon during the 1982 Lebanon War, as well as by Soviet forces in Afghanistan during the Soviet–Afghan War.

M-143 variant[edit]

A target drone version, the M-143, was introduced in the mid-1980s.

Tu-243 variant[edit]

The Tu-143 was followed into service in the late 1980s by the similar but improved "Tu-243 Reys-D", with a 25 cm (10 inch) fuselage stretch, to provide greater fuel capacity and about twice the range; it had an uprated TR3-117 engine with 6.28 kN (640 kgf, 1,410 lbf) thrust; and improved low-altitude guidance.

Tu-300 variant[edit]

Since 1995, Tupolev began promoting the further refined "Tu-300 Korshun", which resembles its predecessors but is fitted with a nose antenna dome and nose fairings for modern sensors and electronic systems. It also features a centerline pylon for a sensor pod or munitions. Financial issues forced a halt to development at the end of the 1990s, but work was resumed in 2007.

Operators[edit]

Current operators[edit]

 North Korea
Korean People's Air Force
 Russia
  • Used as targets (in service as of 2011)[2]
 Syria
 Ukraine[3]
  • One Tu-143 found by pro-Russian forces in a field in August 1, 2014[4]

Former operators[edit]

 Bulgaria
retired
 Czech Republic
VR-3 Rejs, retired in 1995
 Czechoslovakia
VR-3 was in service from 1985, passed to Czech Republic and Slovakia
 Iraq
 Romania
(Retired from service)
 Slovakia
VR-3 Rejs, retired
 Soviet Union
Passed to Russia and Ukraine on dissolution of the USSR

Specifications[edit]

Tupolev TU-143 Reys:

  • wingspan 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in)
  • length 8.06 m (26 ft 5 in)
  • height 1.54 m (5 ft 1 in)
  • launch weight 1,230 kg (2,710 lb)
  • maximum speed 950 km/h (515 kn, 590 mph)
  • service ceiling 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
  • range 200 km (110 nmi, 125 mi)

References[edit]

This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.

  1. ^ The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Political, Social, and Military History: A Political, Social, and Military History, ABC-CLIO, 12 May 2008, by Spencer C. Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts, page 1055
  2. ^ "Воздушные мишени – вторая жизнь зенитных ракет — ОРУЖИЕ РОССИИ, Информационное агентство". Arms-expo.ru. Archived from the original on 2011-10-25. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
  3. ^ UAV Forum | Users
  4. ^ Tu-143 Found by Rebels in Ukraine

External links[edit]