The Tupolev Tu-16 (NATO reporting name: Badger) was a twin-engined jet strategic heavy bomber used by the Soviet Union and allied nations. It has flown for more than 60 years. In the late 1940s, the Soviet Union was strongly committed to matching the United States in strategic bombing capability. The Soviets' only long-range bomber at the time was Tupolev's Tu-4 'Bull', a reverse-engineered copy of the American B-29 Superfortress. The development of new and powerful turbojets led to the possibility of a large, jet-powered bomber.
Although the Tu-16 began as a high-altitude, free-fall bomber, in the mid-1950s it was equipped to carry early Soviet cruise missiles. They were intended for use primarily against US Navy aircraft carriers and other large surface ships. Although they could be used to attack land targets as well. Subsequent Tu-16s were converted to carry later, more advanced missiles, while their designations changed several times.
The Raduga KSR-2 (NATO reporting name: AS-5 "Kelt") was a Soviet cruise missile developed to replace the KS-1 Komet (NATO: AS-1 "Kennel"). The missile was normally armed with a conventional high-explosive warhead, although it could be fitted with a one-megaton nuclear warhead. The missile itself, like the earlier KS-1, is extremely large, nearly nine meters in length with a wingspan of approximately four and a half meters and weighing 4,000 kilograms. Egypt purchased a number of the KSR missiles to arm their fleet of Tu-16 bombers. The missile was prepared for launch by the navigator. Once the launching aircraft's radar has locked onto a target, the missile can be launched.
A versatile design, the Tu-16 was built in numerous specialized variants for reconnaissance, maritime surveillance, electronic intelligence gathering (ELINT), and electronic warfare (ECM). A total of 1,507 aircraft were constructed in three plants in the Soviet Union, in 1954–1962. The Tu-16 was also exported to Indonesia, Egypt, and Iraq.
Egypt received 30 Tu-16 bombers in 1967, just in time for Israel to destroy them all on the ground in its preemptive air strike of June 5, 1967. The soviets replaced 25 of them the following year. During the 1973 conflict the lessons were learned and the formidable Tu-16s were retreated to safe bases far from the borders with Israel. In the opening phase of the Yom Kippur War, Egyptian Tu-16KSR-2-11s launched 25 cruise missiles againse Israeli targets in the Sinai, destroyed some radar stations. One of the Kelt missiles launched at Tel Aviv from Tu-16 was shot down by an Israeli jet. Used once again with success against Libya in 1977, the Badger dynasty lived a long and distinguished career in Egypt that lasted up to the year 2000.
Iraq also had a long tradition of operating bombers. In 1962 this tradition was renewed when the first out of eventual eight Tu-16 bombers were delivered from the USSR. Six of these remained operational at the times of the Six Day War, when only two out of four sent to attack Tel Nov Air Base reached Israel, one missing completely, while the other - the lead aircraft - was shot down by the Israelis. Six new Tu-16K-11-16s were delivered by the USSR in 1972, but they did not take part in the war with Israel in 1973. Instead, the surviving aircraft saw extensive service during the war with Iran.
From march 1968, badgers flew from the Cairo West airfield in Egypt observing US and British ships in the Mediterranean. Initially a unit of six Tu-16R aircraft was based in Egypt, the aircraft had Egyptian markings and their soviet crews had Egyptian insignia on their flight suits. The unit was later joined by Tu-16SPS electronic jamming aircraft (NATO Badger-J) and even some Tu-16 armed with air to ground missiles. How long Soviet crewed Tu-16 operated out of Egypt is unclear.
The excellent model and texture where created by Bob Chicilo and Virtavia.