Tupolev Company

Tupolev Aircraft Company, formerly known as Tupolev Design Bureau is an aircraft designer that was founded by Andrei Tupolev in 1922. The Tupolev Design Bureau served the Soviet Union for many decades, designing some of the most successful aircrafts of the Soviet Union. 

The Tupolev Design Bureau was only the designer of some of the best aircrafts of the Soviet Union. The manufacturing of these aircrafts were usually handled by other firms or bureaus in the Union. Throughout its history of a hundred years, Tupolev Aircraft Company has designed and developed more than 120 aircraft models, including both military and civil-use aircrafts.

Led by its founder Andrei Tupolev for 50 years (from 1922 to 1972), Tupolev Design Bureau designed and developed some of the most successful aircrafts of the Soviet Union, such as Tu-2, Tu-95, Tu-144, Tu-154, Tu-95 and Tu-160. 

While each of these aircrafts have a story rather worth telling, the history of the Tu-2 and Tu-160 are especially interesting and thrilling.

Tupolev Tu-2: A WWII Bomber Designed in Gulag

The Tupolev Tu-2 is one of the most successful Soviet bombers during the WWII era. But not only that, but the aircraft also has a very interesting story behind it. 

Andrei Tupolev, the founder of the Tupolev Design Bureau, and a group of friends of his were sentenced to service in a Gulag Camp, charged by the crime of “Counter-revolutionary Activity”. However, even during the time of his service in Gulag, he was allowed to develop projects and design aircrafts on behalf of the Tupolev Design Bureau, since he was too brilliant and smart to be kept in a Gulag camp uselessly. 

During his time of service in Gulag, he was able to design and develop this magnificent Soviet bomber, which would later become one of the most successful Soviet airplanes during the World War II. 

The most successful operation of the Tupolev Tu-2 was Operation Bagration, during which the German Group Center was bombed by the fleets of Tupolev Tu-2’s. The bomber became a legend after the World War II, and kept serving for years before retiring from the Soviet military. 

Tupolev Tu-160: The Largest and Heaviest Combat Aircraft in Use

Tupolev Tu-160 (Code named Blackjack by the NATO and White Swan by the Soviets), is a giant supersonic bomber that was designed in the 1970s by the Tupolev Design Bureau. 

After the competition in manufacturing a bigger and deadlier bomber began in the late-60’s between the Soviet Union and the United States, both sides started developing various bombers that could easily exceed the speed of sound, while also carrying tons of bombs. 

Developed as a response to the B-1 project of the United States, the Tupolev Tu-160 first showed its face in 1972, and was subjected to a heavy and brilliant development process. The giant bomber was slightly inspired by its predecessor, the Tupolev Tu-144. 

After being developed for almost a decade, the Tu-160 successfully performed its first flight in 1981. After a 3-year prototype development process, the aircraft was finally put into mass manufacturing in 1984. 36 Tupolev Tu-160s have been manufactured to this day, and 16 of them are in active duty in the Russian Air Force today. 

Tupolev Company

Post-Soviet History of Tupolev Aircraft Company

After the end of the Cold War and the official dissolution of the Soviet Union, Tupolev Design Bureau has changed its name to Tupolev PJSC (Public Joint-Stock Company). Today, the company mainly focuses on manufacturing civil airliners, and is still one of the most successful aircraft designers and manufacturers in Eastern Europe. 

The company has developed two successful commercial airliners: Tu-204, and its successor Tu-214. The company has built more than 85 Tu-204s, and is planning to build 20 Tu-214s in the next 10 years. 

Celebrating its 100th anniversary pretty in 2022, the Tupolev Aircraft Company is one of the most important aircraft design/manufacture companies in the history, with the technological advancements it made throughout 100 years, and the successful aircrafts it has developed, helping the aircraft industry develop.