Soviet Strategic Bombers...

…The Hammer in the Hammer & Sickle, from Fonthill Media

Title: Soviet Strategic Bombers
Author: Jason Nicholas Moore

Publisher: Fonthill Media
ISBN: 978-1-78155-597-2


Another fine book from author Jason Nicholas Moore on his specialist topic of Soviet aircraft.  In this case we get the Cold War era and their various strategic bombers.  The book opens with an Introduction and some helpful background scene setting on Soviet bomber development after WW2.  Their first aircraft being the Tu-4, a reverse engineered US B-29, modelled on 3 examples of the US bomber which had been interned in the Far East when they landed on Russian territory after bombing Japan (their crews were repatriated but not the aircraft).  We get the development story or this as with the other bomber types that make up the rest of the book, and their service history.  There are a number of variants, including both combat and non-combat/experimental variants as well as leading in to the later development of the Tu-80 and -85.

That leads into the third chapter which deals with perhaps the best known of all Soviet bombers, the Tu-95 Bear.  AN evolution of the Tu-4 but with the swept wings and distinctive contra rotating propeller engines.  The Bear A entered service in 1955 and though updated, the Bear is still in service and is apparently expected to remain so through to 2040.  An amazing life story for any aircraft.  Having myself grown up during the Cold War, images of the huge Bear being intercepted by RAF jets in the news remains a vivid memory.  After the collapse of the old Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact it led to an opening of the old Iron Curtain and I equally remember my impression when I first saw one close-up at RIAT at Fairford.  Accompanied by archive photos, as are all the chapters of the book, there are some great visual references.

The Bear is followed by chapters on the M-4 Bison, Tu-16 Badger, Tu-22 Blinder, Tu-22M Backfire, Tu-160 Blackjack.  These are followed by an assessment of Russian Strategic Bombers in the 21st Century as well as an examination of the various missile and bombs that the various bombers could carry.  There is also a chapter on various experimental bombers which never went into production as the history of their aircraft development during the Cold War has been opened up to historians.  Add a comparison between Soviet and Western bombers, details of surviving examples of the various types and where they can be found and viewed in the case of museums.  Among the appendices is a section which provides details of the models that are available in plastic, a clear indication of the author's own interest in modelling.  A book that I would heartily recommend to modellers as well as aviation historians with any interest in the Cold War era.

Thanks to Fonthill Media for our review copy.