Commonly referred to even in Russia by its NATO designation, 'Bear', the aircraft has four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines, each driving contra-rotating propellers. It remains the fastest propeller-driven aircraft in history (a bigger, heavier, passenger version Tu-114 with de-rated engines, holds the FAI certified world speed record at 541.23 mph average speed on a 1000 km closed circuit carrying a load equivalent to only 200kg short of the weight of three Douglas DC-3's. Some experimental aircraft were designed for theoretically higher speeds, but none attained or registered them.) It also remains the only turboprop-powered strategic bomber in operational use. Its distinctively swept-back wings are at 35 degrees, a very sharp angle by the standards of propeller-driven aircraft, and justified by its operating speeds and altitudes.
A naval development of the bomber is designated Tu-142.
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