The Sukhoi T-4, also known as “Sotka,” was a Soviet supersonic bomber prototype developed in the 1970s. The aircraft was designed to be a strategic bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons deep into enemy territory. However, the program was eventually cancelled due to technical difficulties and political issues.
Origin and History
The Sukhoi T-4 program was initiated in the late 1960s as a response to the United States’ development of advanced bombers such as the B-1 Lancer. The Soviet Union sought to develop a supersonic bomber capable of penetrating enemy defenses and delivering nuclear weapons. Sukhoi, one of the country’s leading aircraft manufacturers, was chosen to lead the program.
The first T-4 prototype was completed in 1972 and made its maiden flight in 1974. However, the program was plagued with technical difficulties, and the T-4 faced numerous problems during flight testing. Additionally, the Soviet government was experiencing financial difficulties and was forced to cut funding for the program.
In 1974, the T-4 program was officially cancelled, and the prototypes were placed in storage. The Soviet Union instead focused on the development of other strategic weapons systems such as intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The Sukhoi T-4 had a distinctive appearance, with a sharply pointed nose, swept-back wings, and a triangular shape. The aircraft was constructed primarily from titanium and had a length of 43 meters and a wingspan of 22 meters.
The T-4 was powered by four afterburning turbojet engines, each of which was capable of producing up to 38,000 pounds of thrust. The aircraft was designed to have a maximum speed of Mach 3.0 and a range of 7,000 kilometers.
The T-4’s cockpit was located at the front of the aircraft and was equipped with advanced avionics and flight controls. The aircraft was also designed to be highly maneuverable, with a high angle of attack capability.
Power and Performance
The Sukhoi T-4 was designed to be a highly advanced strategic bomber, with a maximum speed of Mach 3.0 and a range of 7,000 kilometers. Its performance was comparable to other advanced bombers such as the B-1 Lancer and the Tupolev Tu-160. However, the T-4 faced numerous technical difficulties during flight testing and was never able to fully demonstrate its capabilities.
The Sukhoi T-4 was designed to carry a variety of nuclear weapons, including bombs and missiles. Its armament was integrated with its advanced avionics and navigation systems, allowing for precise targeting of enemy installations.
Military Use and Combat History
The Sukhoi T-4 never saw operational use, as the program was cancelled before the aircraft could be put into service. The prototypes were placed in storage and eventually scrapped.
Despite its short-lived existence, the T-4 program represented an important milestone in the Soviet Union’s quest to develop advanced strategic weapons systems. The aircraft’s advanced technologies and design features were ahead of their time and laid the groundwork for future bomber designs.
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