The Tu-126 was typically crewed by twelve personnel which including two pilots. The aircraft was powered by 4 x Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprops driving contra-rotating propellers, each engine developing approximately 14,795 horsepower. This supplied the aircraft with a maximum speed of 490 miles per hour, an operational range of up to 4,350 miles and a service ceiling of 35,100 feet. Cruise speed was listed at 323 miles per hour.
The Tu-126 served solely with the Soviet Air Force and Soviet Anti-Air Defense branches in the Airborne Early Warning And Control (AEWAC or "AWACs") role beginning in 1965. The line was retired in 1984 with only twelve units being produced.
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