Tupolev Tu-143


Tu-143 «Flight" - a Soviet unmanned reconnaissance vehicle (UAV). Its purpose was to conduct of tactical intelligence by video and photographic reconnaissance of selected areas of the earth and monitoring the radiation situation along the route. The aircraft is part of the aviation system BP-3.

History of the Tu-143

Start designing an unmanned scout "Flight" started 30.08.1968, when there was a resolution of the USSR № 670-241 the development of the complex, which would include drone aircraft Tu-143.

Tu-143 photo

We offer two variants of the equipment of the aircraft. The first included equipment for photography, and should be built up to 1970, the second - the radiation equipment and television intelligence - of 1972 to

Work on the creation of an unmanned reconnaissance complex "Flight" was headed by chief designer of OKB. Tupolev GM Gofbauer and later was replaced by LT Kulikov.

The construction of the Tu-143 did not take much time. The first flight of the Tu-143 UAV was successfully completed already at the end of 1970. The test program of the "Reis" complex began in 1972 and was successfully completed at 1976, then it was transferred to the Soviet Army. Serially to produce a drone began during the state tests. The first trial lot in the amount of 10 pieces of Tu-143 was produced in 1973 at the Kumertau machine-building plant (Bashkiria). A little later they launched a full-scale production of reconnaissance complexes "Flight". Before the end of the production series, Soviet industry released 950 Tu-143.


The new aviation reconnaissance complex quickly mastered the military and gave it high marks in terms of carrying out tactical reconnaissance. It was received not only by ground forces, but also by other parts of the USSR Air Force. Conducting joint tests with manned reconnaissance aircraft, the aircraft revealed a number of advantages. So, he could penetrate with precision into the specified area of ​​reconnaissance thanks to the provision of good navigational equipment. At Tu-143, aerial photography equipment was installed, the images of which allowed to recognize ground objects with the size of 20 cm at a flight altitude of 500 m and the speed of the vehicle 950 km / h. In mountainous terrain, the aircraft was practically invulnerable to enemy air defenses, so it was actively exported to countries with mountainous terrain: Czechoslovakia, Romania and Syria.

Serial production is produced in two versions, complete replacement bow: the first - with photo-reconnaissance equipment and the second - television intelligence. In addition, the Tu-143 can be equipped with radiation detection equipment.

Purpose Tu-143

Purpose complex "Flight" consisted in conducting tactical reconnaissance in okolofrontovoy zone with a depth of penetration of the enemy's rear - 60-70 km. UAV Tu-143 performed photography and television exploration of individual routes and area targets, and could also monitor the radiation situation in the course of the flight.

Tu-143 start

Tu-143 UAV could carry out exploration at low altitudes in a small cloud. Preparation and launch of the aircraft could be carried out in a secretive mode and unprepared from an engineering point of view position. In the application of intelligence complex "Flight" does the following:

  • preparing and launching reconnaissance drones Tu-143 using self-propelled launcher in a wind speed below 15 m / s;

  • automated control during the flight Tu-143 at a predetermined height;

  • Programming the direction of flight, moments off and on-board intelligence equipment;

  • photography, TV exploration and collection of information on the radiation situation;

  • shipping intelligence to a certain point, as well as some of the information by radio to command ground stations.


The design of the Tu-143

Air reconnaissance complex included:

  1. UAV reconnaissance Tu-143 with the system command and control, and replacement equipment;

  2. complex ground equipment to support the preparations for the launch, start, transportation and maintenance of the UAV Tu-143;

  3. terrestrial mobile means for receiving, processing, decryption and transmission of intelligence data.


The design of the UAV Tu-143 arranged on a "tailless". The plane is a monoplane, which has a low wing of small aspect ratio. The front part of the fuselage takes fixed destabilizer, the purpose of which is to ensure an adequate supply of stability in various flight modes.

Sweep delta wing leading edge was 58 °. The fuselage is made according to the type of circular cross section, passing in the oval in the department of installation TRD. Air intakes placed in the rear and above the fuselage.

The ailerons were placed across the edge of the wing, with the help of the Office for the roll and pitch. The structure of the vertical tail was part of the keel, small forkil and control surfaces.


The Tu-143 mainly made of aluminum components (alloy D-16), magnesium alloy AMG-6 and composite materials. The small size of the device, placing the inlet on the fuselage and the use of appropriate materials in the design reduced the rate of dispersion of the effective area.

The chassis Tu-134 tricycle, heel type manufactured during the landing. Front support was removed in the second compartment of the fuselage, the two main landing - inside wing consoles. When planting peaked in the drogue parachute, which put out a translational horizontal speed, vertical landing parachute and put out solid-propellant motor braking, which is triggered after touching the brake wing leads.

Version fotorazvedchika carried on board the aerial camera type PA-1, having a length of film stock 120 meters. Intervals shooting are set automatically depending on the altitude drone.

TV reconnaissance drone carried out another option due to equipment such as I-429B "Chibis". Transmission of television images to ground stations took command of the air.

During radiation survey instruments used "Sigma-P", which was able to transmit data via radio.

Tupolev Tu-143 Environmental Specifications:

Modification   Tu-143
Wingspan, m   2.24
Length m   8.06
Height, m   1.545
Wing area, m2   2.90
Weight, kg   1230
engine's type   TRD TRZ-117
Thrust, kgf   X 1 640
Accelerator   SPRD-251
Maximum speed km / h  
Cruising speed, km / h   950
Practical range, km   180
Flight Time, min   13
Practical ceiling, m   1000
The minimum flight altitude, m   10


Other UAVs


Tupolev Tu-143. Gallery.

Tu-143 in actionTu-143 to installTu-143 closeup

Tu-143 during startupTu-143 photo rear viewTu-143 powerplant

Tu-143 serial numberTu-143 on earthTu-143 start in the field



Tu-143. Video.