Tupolev Tu-91

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Role Naval attack aircraft
National origin Soviet Union
Manufacturer Tupolev OKB
First flight 17 May 1955
Status Prototype only
Number built 1

The Tupolev Tu-91 (NATO reporting name Boot) was a Soviet naval attack aircraft. It was built only in prototype form, and cancelled after Joseph Stalin's death.

Development and design[edit]

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.[1]

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.[1]

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,[1] 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.[2]

Specifications (Tu-91)[edit]

Data from The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875–1995 [3]

General characteristics



  • Guns:
    • 2 × 23mm (0.91 in) NR-23 cannon with 100 rounds each in wing roots
    • 2 × 23mm (0.91 in) NR-23 cannon in a DK-15 remotely controlled tail barbette
  • Bombs: up to 1,500 kg (3,307 lb) of bombs, rockets or a single torpedo

See also[edit]

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c Gunston 1995, p. 423
  2. ^ Duffy and Kandalov 1996, p. 112–13
  3. ^ Gunston 1995, p. 424
  4. ^ Duffy and Kandalov 1996, pp. 209–10


  • 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.