|Role||Naval attack aircraft|
|National origin||Soviet Union|
|First flight||17 May 1955|
Development and design
Following the end of World War II, Stalin ordered an aggressive naval expansion to counter the US naval superiority. It called for building extra warships and a fleet of aircraft carriers. In order to equip the proposed carriers, Soviet Naval Aviation required a long-range carrier-based strike aircraft, capable of attacking with bombs or torpedoes. The Tupolev Design bureau decided on a single-engined turboprop aircraft, designated Tu-91 to meet this requirement.
The Tu-91 was a low-winged monoplane with dihedral wings. It was powered by an Isotov TV2 engine mounted mid-fuselage, driving a six-bladed contra-rotating propeller in the nose via a long shaft. The crew of two sat side by side in a cockpit in the aircraft's nose, protected by armour plating. It could carry a heavy load of torpedoes or bombs on pylons under the fuselage and under the wings, and had a gun armament of two cannon in the wing roots and two more in a remotely-controlled tail turret.
After the death of Stalin in 1953, the planned fleet of carriers was cancelled, but development of the Tu-91 continued as a land-based aircraft, the design being revised to eliminate wing-folding and arresting gear. It first flew on 17 May 1955, demonstrating excellent performance, resulting in production being authorized. However, after the aircraft was ridiculed by Nikita Khrushchev when inspecting the prototype, the Tu-91 was cancelled.
Data from The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995 
- Crew: two (pilot and observer)
- Length: 17.70 m (58 ft 0⅞ in)
- Wingspan: 16.40 m (53 ft 9⅝ in)
- Height: 5.06 m (16 ft 7⅛ in)
- Wing area: 47.5 m² (511 ft²)
- Empty weight: 8,000 kg (17,600 lb)
- Max. takeoff weight: 14,400 kg (31,746 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Isotov TV2M turboprop, 5,709 kW (7,650 shp)
- Propellers: 6 blade Contra-rotating propellers
- Maximum speed: 800 km/h (432 kn, 497 mph)
- Cruise speed: 250–300 km/h (135–162 kn, 155–186 mph)
- Range: 2,350 km (1,270 nmi, 1,460 mi)
- Service ceiling: 11,000 m (36,000 ft)
- Bombs: up to 1,500 kg (3,307 lb) of bombs, rockets or a single torpedo
- Gunston 1995, p. 423
- Duffy and Kandalov 1996, p. 112–13
- Gunston 1995, p. 424
- Duffy and Kandalov 1996, pp. 209–10
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tupolev aircraft.|
- Duffy, Paul; Kandalov, Andrei (1996). Tupolev: The Man and His Aircraft. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-728-X.
- Gordon, Yefim; Rigamant, Vladimir (2005). OKB Tupolev: A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft. Hinckley, England: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-214-4.
- Gunston, Bill (1995). Tupolev Aircraft since 1922. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-882-8.
- Gunston, Bill (1995). The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995. London: Osprey. ISBN 1-85532-405-9.