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Largest Bomber Aircraft

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Below is a list of the largest Bomber Aircraft by length, wingspan and bomb load.

Tupolev Tu-160, length 177 ft, wingspan 189 ft, 1,380 mph, bomb load 49 tons.

The Tupolev Tu-160 is a supersonic, heavy bomber designed by the Soviet Union, entering service in 1987. It is both the largest variable-wing and the largest jet-powered combat aircraft ever built.

Although several civil and military transport aircraft are larger, the Tu-160 has the greatest total thrust, and the heaviest takeoff weight of any combat aircraft, as well as one of the largest payloads of any current heavy bomber.

The Tu-160 also has the highest top speed of any bomber to enter service at 1,380 mph, a speed only a few of the top aircraft fighters can surpass.


Tupolev Tu-160

XB-70 Valkyrie, length 185 ft, wingspan 105 ft, 2,056 mph, bomb load ?

Although this fast bomber never made it into service, the thought of its existence led to the Soviets building exceptionally fast fighters such as the MiG-25 Foxbat capable of matching its performance. North American Aviation's B-70 Valkyrie was a nuclear-armed, six-engined bomber aircraft able to fly Mach 3 at high altitudes.

The proposed cost of the aircraft, along with the introduction of the first effective anti-aircraft missiles, led to the cancellation of the program in 1961. February 4th 1969, Valkyrie number one was retired and flown to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton/ Ohio.


XB-70 Valkyrie

Convair B-36, length 162 ft, wingspan 230 ft, 230 mph, load 36 tons.

The Convair B-36 "Peacemaker" was a strategic bomber built by Convair for the United States Air Force from 1949 to 1959. The B-36 was the largest mass-produced piston engine aircraft ever made. It had the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft ever built, although there have been larger military transports.

The B-36 was the first bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons that fit inside the bomb bay without aircraft modifications.


Convair B-36

Tupolev Tu-95, length 162 ft, wingspan 167 ft, 575 mph, load 17 tons.

The Tupolev Tu-95 (NATO reporting name: Bear) is a large, four-engine turboprop powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 was put into service by the former Soviet Union in 1956. It is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040.

This aircraft was the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Convair B-36 "Peacemaker". Vast numbers of each aircraft were in the sky's during the early years of the Cold War, ready to strike should a nuclear war have began.


Tupolev Tu-95

B-52 Stratofortress, length 159 ft, wingspan 185 ft, 650 mph, bomb load 35 tons.

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1955.

Built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, the B-52 Stratofortress replaced the Convair B-36. Although a veteran of a number of wars, the Stratofortress has dropped only conventional munitions in combat.


B-52 Stratofortress

B-1 Lancer, length 146 ft, wingspan 137 ft, 830 mph, bomb load 37 tons.

The Rockwell (now part of Boeing) B-1 Lancer is a strategic bomber used by the United States Air Force. First envisioned in the 1960s as a supersonic bomber with sufficient range and payload to replace the B-52 Stratofortress, it developed primarily into a low-level penetrator with long range and supersonic speed capability, entering service in 1986.

Operationally, the B-1 has saw action in Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan.


B-1 Lancer

Tupolev Tu-22M, length 139 ft, wingspan 112 ft, 1520 mph, bomb load 23 tons.

The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Soviet Union, entering service in 1972. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force.

The Tu-22M saw its first combat use in Afghanistan from 1987 to 1989, dropping large tonnages of conventional ordnance. The Russian Federation used the Tu-22M3 in combat in Chechen in 1995, carrying out strikes near Grozny.


Tupolev Tu-22M

Handley Page Victor, length 114 ft, wingspan 110 ft, 650 mph, bomb load 17 tons.

The Handley Page Victor was a British jet bomber aircraft produced by the Handley Page Aircraft Company during the Cold War, largest ever british bomber.

It was the third and final of the "V bombers" which provided Britain's nuclear deterrent. The other two V-bombers were the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant.

After the Royal Navy assumed the nuclear deterrence mission using submarine-launched Polaris missiles in 1969, many surviving bombers were converted into aerial refueling tankers. The last Victor was retired from service October 15th 1993.


Handley Page Victor

Tupolev Tu-16, length 114 ft, wingspan 108 ft, 650 mph, bomb load 10 tons.

The Tupolev Tu-16 (NATO reporting name: Badger) was a twin-engine jet bomber used by the Soviet Union. It has flown for more than 50 years and remains in service with the Chinese air force.

A total of 1,507 aircraft were constructed in three plants in the Soviet Union from 1954-1962. A civilian adaptation, the Tu-104 'Camel', saw passenger service with Aeroflot. The Tu-16 was also exported to Egypt, Indonesia, and Iraq. It continued to be used by the Air Forces and naval aviation of the Soviet Union and subsequently Russia until 1993.


Tupolev Tu-16

WWII Bombers

B-29 Superfortress, length 99 ft, wingspan 141 ft, 357 mph, bomb load 10 tons.

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber that was flown by the United States from May 1944, seeing action in World War II and the Korean War. Largest bomber to see action during WWII.

The B-29 remained in service in various roles throughout the 1950s. The British Royal Air Force flew the B-29, named the Washington in RAF service, and the Soviet Union produced an unlicensed copy as the Tupolev Tu-4.

This was the primary aircraft in the American firebombing campaign against the Empire of Japan in the final months of World War II, and carried the atomic bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


B-29 Superfortress

B-17 Flying Fortress length 74 ft, wingspan 103 ft, 287 mph, bomb load 2 - 4 tons.

The B-17 Flying Fortress was the primary U.S. bomber used in the daylight bombing campaign of World War II against Germany. The B-17 was an effective weapons system dropping more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II. The Flying Fortress was heavily armoured and carried up to 13 machine guns, this meaning their bomb loads were less than other aircraft of a similar size.

Of the 1.5 million metric tons of bombs dropped on Germany by U.S. aircraft, 640,000 tons were dropped from B-17s.


There were 12,732 B-17 Flying Fortress produced between 1935 and 1945, of these, 4,735 were lost in combat, many in daytime raids over Germany. They were slightly larger than their British equivalent, the Avro Lancaster.

Other WWII, U.S. bombers by size were, B-32 Dominator and the B-24 Liberator.


B-17 Flying Fortress

Avro Lancaster, length 69 ft, wingspan 102 ft, 280 mph, bomb load 7 tons.

The Avro Lancaster was a British four-engined, WWII heavy bomber that first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax, was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF and squadrons from other Commonwealth and European countries serving within RAF Bomber Command.

Although the Lancaster was primarily a night bomber, it excelled in many other roles including daylight precision bombing, and gained worldwide renown as the "Dam Buster" used in the 1943 Operation Chastise raids on Germany's Ruhr Valley dams.

This aircraft delivered 608,612 tons of bombs in 156,000 sorties during WWII, 3,249 were lost in action.

Only 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations. The greatest survivor completed 139 operations, surviving the war only to be scrapped in 1947.


Avro Lancaster

For all bomber aircraft. visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bomber_aircraft.

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