Today, the famous MiG-31 fighter-interceptors are in service with the Russian aviation of the air defense forces, their predecessor was the equally well-known MiG-25, and not everyone remembers that in the 60s the country was occupied by a Tu-128 - a long-range interceptor, which for some unknown reason became one of the most obscure Soviet combat aircraft.
Generally speaking, the Tupolev Design Bureau is mainly known for its bombers and passenger airliners, while the development of fighters in the postwar period was carried out in the Mikoyan Design Bureau and Gurevich, as well as the Sukhoi Design Bureau. Nevertheless, Tupolev, even in the 40s, showed more than once an interest in the creation of fighters, however, the matter usually did not go beyond the creation of prototypes. The emergence of the Tu-128 was the result of the continuous development of a strategic air defense system and an increase in the requirements for the required interception range. Relatively light interceptors, such as the Su-9 or MiG-19, even armed with the most advanced air-to-air missiles at that time, could not be used to intercept at the turn of a thousand or more kilometers, and the question of creating a new interceptor, which was supposed to be not just high-speed and well-armed, but also capable of long-haul flights. This requirement inevitably entailed an increase in the take-off weight of the aircraft and the size of the interceptor. If such a popular fighter, like the MiG-21, did not reach as much as nine tons in its take-off mass, then this indicator for the Tu-128 exceeded 40 tons. Interestingly, the initiator of the creation of a new interceptor was made not by Tupolev himself, or by one of the leading designers of his design bureau, but by Marshal E. Ya. Savitsky, who at that time commanded Soviet air forces.
Especially for the new aircraft developed special electronic equipment and weapons. In total, the Tu-128 carried on its wings four K-80 missiles capable of hitting targets at distances of up to 25 kilometers, which was a very high figure for the early 60s, when active work was under way on the Tu-128. Excellent performance and radar differed “Smerch”.
Constant work on the modernization of the Tu-128 allowed to increase the target detection range to more than a hundred kilometers, and the new P4 missiles could be used at a distance of up to 50 kilometers. The development of the aircraft assumed the further development of a modification of the Tu-148, equipped with the Zaslon radar, but later this powerful radar was used to equip the MiG-31.
Military Aviation of Russia - tehnorussia.su