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Tupolev Tu-141 (Strizh)


Reconnaissance Drone Aircraft [ 1979 ]



The reconnaissance-minded Tupolev Tu-141 originated at the tail-end of the Cold War period and therefore can still be encountered over modern battlefields today.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/04/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

GO TO SPECIFICATIONS [+]
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The Tupolev Tu-141 ("Strizh" - meaning "Swift") is an unmanned / unarmed reconnaissance drone designed, developed, and produced by the Soviet Union during the latter half of the Cold War period (1947-1991). The system recorded its first-flight in 1974 and was formally inducted into Soviet military service in 1979. Production of the series ran from 1979 until 1989 and some 142 are believed to have been manufactured. The fleet was retired by the Soviets in 1989, coinciding with the fall of the Soviet Empire in full. However, Ukraine resurrected some of its outdated fleet in 2014 following the Russian invasion (and subsequent takeover) of Crimea and the ensuing / ongoing War in Donbass.

The Tu-141 has origins in the earlier Tu-123 "Yastreb" which went to the air for the first time in 1960, was introduced in 1964, and operated until 1979. Fifty-two of this Tumansky-powered series were built. The Tu-141, itself, went on to form the basis of the Tu-143 "Reys" which initially flew with its Klimov engine in 1970 and saw formal series introduction in 1982. Some 950 airframes then followed in production. By all accounts, the trio are rather rudimentary Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with limited battlefield value in modern times.

The Tu-141's basic shape is that of a "winged" missile. The fuselage is tubular, capped at the front end by a nosecone for aerodynamic efficiency at high speeds and the turbojet mounting engine sits atop / within the rear section of the fuselage. The mainplanes are of a clipped delta arrangement coupled with foreplane / canards for maximizing control and lift. A vertical plane is affixed to the rear dorsal end of the design. Power is from a single Tumansky KR-17A developing 4,409lb of thrust, the unit aspirated along the dorsal fuselage line and exhausted through a circular port under the airframe's tail section.

The aircraft is launched via a rail system and propelled into flight by a solid-fueled booster. Recovery is by way of parachute that is automatically deployed to retard the air vehicle's fall back down to Earth.

The purpose of the design is that of high-speed, medium-ranged reconnaissance platform utilizing an unmanned approach to keep operators out of harm's way. The speed of such systems means the likelihood of a shoot down is drastically reduced. Payloads generally consist of camera equipment and specialized sensors to suit the battlefield need.
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Specifications



Service Year
1979

Origin
Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union

Status
ACTIVE
In Limited Service.
Crew
0
UNMANNED
Production
142
UNITS


National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Ukraine Russia; Soviet Union; Ukraine
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Unmanned Capability
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.


WING SWEEPBACK
Mainplanes, or leading edges, features swept-back lines for enhanced high-speed performance and handling.
CANARDS
Small foreplanes ahead of the mainplanes reduce wing-loading and / or enhance maneuverability during high angle-of-attack or stall actions.
RUGGED AIRFRAME
Inherent ability of airframe to take considerable damage.
HIGH-SPEED PERFORMANCE
Can accelerate to higher speeds than average aircraft of its time.
HIGH-ALTITUDE PERFORMANCE
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
EXTENDED RANGE PERFORMANCE
Capability to travel considerable distances through onboard fuel stores.
SUPER PERFORMANCE
Design covers the three all-important performance categories of speed, altitude, and range.
MARITIME OPERATION
Ability to operate over ocean in addition to surviving the special rigors of the maritime environment.
UNMANNED OPERATION
Design features ability to fly sans pilot, actions controlled onboard through programming and / or ground-based operator.
CAMERA EQUIPMENT
Payload supports photographic equipment providing still and / or real-time image / video results.


Length
47.0 ft
(14.33 m)
Width/Span
12.7 ft
(3.88 m)
Height
8.0 ft
(2.45 m)
MTOW
13,702 lb
(6,215 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Tupolev Tu-141 production variant)
monoplane / low-mounted / delta, w canards
Monoplane
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Low-Mounted
Mainplanes are low-mounted along the sides of the fuselage.
Delta with Canards
The delta planform is enhanced by way of canards (small foreplanes) seated ahead of the mainplanes, improving angle-of-attack and low-speed / stall control.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Tupolev Tu-141 production variant)
Installed: 1 x Tumansky KR-17A turbojet engine developing 4,409lb of thrust.
Max Speed
684 mph
(1,100 kph | 594 kts)
Cruise Speed
621 mph
(1,000 kph | 540 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+62 mph
(+100 kph | 54 kts)
Ceiling
19,685 ft
(6,000 m | 4 mi)
Range
621 mi
(1,000 km | 1,852 nm)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Tupolev Tu-141 production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
None.


Hardpoint Mountings:


Tu-141 (Strizh) - Base Series Designation.


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