Tu-141 (Strizh). A Soviet pilotless reconnaissance drone from 1974

The Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh is a Soviet reconnaissance drone that served with the Soviet Army during the late 1970s and 1980s, as well as the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2014.

The Tu-141 was a follow-on to the Tupolev Tu-123 and is a relatively large, medium-range reconnaissance drone. It is designed to undertake reconnaissance missions within a 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) radius, flying at transsonic speeds. It can carry a range of payloads, including film cameras, infrared imagers, EO imagers, and imaging radar.

As with previous Tupolev designs, it has a dart-like rear-mounted delta wing, forward-mounted canards, and a KR-17A turbojet engine mounted above the tail. It is launched from a trailer using a solid-propellant booster and lands with the aid of a tail-mounted parachute.

Operation and incidents

The Tu-141 was in Soviet service from 1979 to 1989, mostly on the western borders of the Soviet Union.

Flight range – 1000 km, max. speed – 1100 km/h, ceiling – 50-600 m, fast response – 15 m. Type of launch – jet-assisted take-off, parachute landing, aero surveying.

Later a target aircraft M-141 was developed on the basis of Tu-141.

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