The Russian Tu-95 Bear long range bomber aircraft are grounded following an accident in which a fire erupted on board an aircraft, Russian media reported on June 9. The fire broke out in an engine and caused the aircraft to leave the runway at Ukrainka airfield, injuring several crew members.
The Russian Air Force’s Bear aircraft – 71 in total – will remain on the ground while an investigation into the fire takes place. The Bear is perhaps the most visibile example of Russian air power, since the type is regularly seen in the skies near Western Europe during military exercises. Many of last year’s NATO scrambles where direct at Bear bombers taking part in such exercises.
The very first prototype Bear, featuring massive contra-rotating propellers, first flew on 2 November 1952, only months after its US counterpart, the B-52 Stratofortress. With the Bears grounded, Russia falls back on its limited fleet of Tu-160 Blackjack bombers for its long range strike capability.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): A Tu-95 Bear seen during an interception by the RAF (Image © UK Ministry of Defence)