In December 1963, the Soviet Government approved Project T-4, also known as Project 100

The designers opted for a “no tail” scheme with large main wings, and small canards near the nose, in front of the main wings. The nose of the aircraft is lowered to provide visibility during landing and takeoff as well as when the aircraft was flying at subsonic speeds. At supersonic speeds, a periscope was used for forward viewing when the nose was retracted.

The T-4 was operated by a crew of 2. It measures 44 m (144 ft 4 in) long, wingspan of 22 m (72 ft 2 in), height of 11.2 m (36 ft 9 in), empty weight of 55.6 tons (122,577 lb), and maximum takeoff weight of 135 tons (297,624 lb).

Sukhoi T-4
Sukhoi T-4

Several super-advanced electronic equipment complexes at that time were installed on the T-4, including navigation, observation and reconnaissance, and two radar stations. Of course, the aircraft was equipped with an aerial refueling system.

As a long-range supersonic strategic bomber, the T-4 was expected to perform missions at supersonic speed. In response to this requirement, experts created the RD-36-41 afterburning turbojet engine. Four engines were located under the fuselage, with 157 kN each.

Experts also built new weapons for T-4, including the Kh-45 supersonic anti-ship cruise missile and the Molniya missile. The Kh-45 missile is believed to be able to reach speed of Mach 5-7 and have a range of 500 to 1,500 km. In addition to cruise missiles, the T-4 could carry bombs.

Development of the T-4 required massive research effort to develop the technologies necessary, including the manufacturing technologies to machine and weld the materials necessary to withstand sustained Mach 3 flight. Nearly 600 patents or inventions are attributed to the program. The first flying prototype was finally completed in the autumn of 1971. Work continued on an additional three airframes through 1975. In 1974, the Ministry of Aviation Industry ordered work suspended on the T-4 project, which was officially scrapped on 19 December 1975.

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