The Soviet Tu-95 military reconnaissance aircraft formed the basis of the Cold War-era Tupolev Tu-114 medium-range passenger airliner.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Tu-114 was born from a Soviet government initiative of the mid-1950s calling for a long-range passenger airliner. Tupolev OKB responded with a design built atop the existing (and proven) framework of its famous Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" (detailed elsewhere on this site), a dedicated maritime patroller and bomber serving within the ranks of the Soviet military. This made for one incredibly fast and powerful airliner for its time and some thirty-two aircraft were produced from the period spanning 1958 until 1963. For its time in the skies, the Tu-114 was regarded as a reliable, safe and economical product with service entry occurring in 1961 and ending in 1991. Chief operators included Aeroflot and Japan Airlines (through Aeroflot) as well as the Soviet Air Force across a few major variants.
The Tu-114 was succeeded in service by the jet-powered Ilyushin Il-62 when its flying days were over. A first-flight by way of prototype was recorded on November 15th, 1957 and official service introduction occurred on April 24th, 1961.
The Tu-114 was conventionally-arranged with the cockpit fitted over the short nosecone assembly. The wing mainplanes, low-mounted under the fuselage and near midships, carried a pair of engines. A single vertical plane and low-mounted horizontal planes were featured at the tail unit. The nose was glazed over and the passenger section was dotted with porthole-style windows running nearly the fuselage's entire length. The wings and its engines were both borrowed from the Tu-95 aircraft and this included the 35-degree sweepback of the mainplanes which aided in high-speed flight. The undercarriage was of a tricycle arrangement and purposely tall so as to allow for the proper clearance of the large propellers - another key quality taken directly from the Tu-95 design. Internally, the crew had access to a rest area and complete food preparation facilities for the passengers while the passenger cabin, seating between 120 and 220 depending on configuration, could also fit sleeping berths for long distance flights.
Power to the aircraft was from 4 x Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprop engines and these drove four-bladed propeller units in contra-rotating fashion resulting in the fastest passenger-hauler seen up to that time (the sweptback wing mainplanes aided this). It also made the Tu-114 the fastest propeller-driven aircraft ever with performance seeing a maximum speed of 540 miles per hour which put it on pace with jet-powered competing designs of the time (though cruising was typically done at the much lower 480mph envelope). Operational range was out to 5,245 nautical miles, which was excellent for an airliner of the period, and the aircraft's service ceiling reached 39,000 feet which required pressurize cabin and crew spaces.
Initial production forms were simply designated "Tu-114" and the Tu-114-200 followed as an upgraded standard increasing seating to 200 passengers. The Tu-114D was developed as a long-range hauler for service to communist ally Cuba though only three examples were built for the route (from the Tu-114-200 stock). The Tu-114A was another proposed, improved model but this offering fell to naught.
Several variants intended for military service were also developed from the Tu-114 framework. This included the proposed Tu-114B based on the abandoned Tu-114A and outfitted with a large radome over the dorsal spine and provision to carry cruise missiles. The Tu-114C was similar in terms of fitting a radome but added side blisters to the fuselage. The Tu-114E and TU-114F were dedicated reconnaissance models both based in the Tu-114A though the F-model was an advancement of the Tu-114E itself with additional equipment added. The Tu-114T and Tu-114TS served as MEDEVAC platforms and the Tu-115 became an abandoned militarized transport.
The Tu-114PLO was a proposed maritime attacker designed to carry search-tracking radar as well as support anti-ship missiles. Additionally, the aircraft was to have been powered by nuclear means but its complexity meant that the design was not furthered beyond concept work.
The Tupolev Tu-116 was a related offshoot of the Tu-114 line. It was essentially the Tu-95 "Bear" platform fitting a pressurized passenger cabin for service as a governmental VIP hauler. The cabin space replaced in the internal bomb bays present in the original Tu-95 design. The Tupolev Tu-126 was a another related development of the Tu-114 and went on to serve the Soviet Air Force through some twelve examples as an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) platform. This model was officially recognized by NATO as "Moss" and its defining feature was the radome added over the dorsal spine of the fuselage. These aircraft operated from 1965 until 1984.
Status Retired, Out-of-Service
[ 32 Units ] : Tupolev OKB - Soviet Union
Japan (through Aeroflot); Soviet Union (retired)
- Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
- Commercial Market
- VIP Transport
- Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC)
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
177.49 ft (54.1 m)
167.65 ft (51.1 m)
50.66 ft (15.44 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Tupolev Tu-114 production model)
190,700 lb (86,500 kg)
385,809 lb (175,000 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Tupolev Tu-114 production model)
4 x Kuznetsov NK-12MV turboprop engines developing 14,800 horsepower and driving propellers in contra-rotating arrangement.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Tupolev Tu-114 production model)
541 mph (870 kph; 470 kts)
39,370 feet (12,000 m; 7.46 miles)
6,040 miles (9,720 km; 5,248 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Tupolev Tu-114 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None for civilian market models. Some military forms equipped to carry anti-ship and cruise missiles as needed.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Tupolev Tu-114 production model)
Tu-114 - Base Series Designation; initial production model designation.
Tu-114 6NK-8 - Proposed long-range model; fitting 6 x NK-8 turbofan engines.
Tu-114-200 - Upgraded Tu-114 with seating for 200.
Tu-114A - Proposed upgraded model with seating for about 100.
Tu-114B - Tu-114A with radome over dorsal fuselage spine; provision for cruise missiles.
Tu-114C - Tu-114A and Tu-114B mix with side blisters added.
Tu-114D - Long-range model developed for Moscow-to-Cuba flights; three examples converted from Tu-114-200 model.
Tu-114E - Tu-114A reconnaissance model
Tu-114F - Tu-114E reconnaissance model with additional equipment.
Tu-114PLO - Proposed maritime attacker; provision for anti-ship missiles; radar-equipped; nuclear propulsion scheme.
Tu-114T - MEDEVAC platform
Tu-114TS - MEDEVAC platform
Tu-115 - Proposed military transport
Tu-116 - Tu-95 bomber with pressurized bomb bays for VIP passenger hauling; two completed.
Tu-126 "Moss" - AWACs platform based on the Tu-114; 12 example completed for Soviet Air Force.
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