Listen To The Terrifying Mechanical Growl Of A Tu-95 Bear Passing Overhead

The video is one of the best examples of the Tu-95 Bear’s 60,000-horsepower orchestra playing its thunderous fortissimo.

byTyler Rogoway|
Tu-95 photo


In the west, the B-52 Stratofortress gets a ton of attention for its antique status, with its first flight dating back to 1952, yet Russia's Tu-95 Bear has been around just as long, and like the B-52, it still serves as the backbone of Russia's strategic air forces. While the B-52H that is still in service features a chorus of eight low-bypass turbofan TF33 jet engines, the Bear does its thing with a quartet of massively powerful turboprop engines, a fascinating accomplishment to ponder, especially nearly 70 years since it first took to the skies. Its four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines crank out a whopping 15,000 horsepower each and push contra-rotating propellers that force the Bear along at jet speeds. Those engines and propellers also give the Tu-95 family one of its most notable features—a deafening mechanized orchestra blast.

Case in point, the video clip below, which appears to show a Tu-95MS Bear-H taking off from an airbase somewhere in Russia. The audio is absolutely tooth-rattling and offers a fascinating impression of just what the Bear can sound like to those on the ground nearby during terminal operations—a mix of standard jet engine howl with an exotic and unsettling high-frequency roar:

There are plenty of stories of fighter pilots intercepting Bears and hearing and even feeling the drone of their engines over their own jet engine noise and through their cockpit canopy enclosure and helmets. Also, it has been claimed that submarines can hear the Tu-95's maritime patrol cousin, the Tu-142, at ridiculously long ranges on their passive sonars. 

An F-22 intercepts a Tu-95 near Alaska. , USAF

Regardless, the ancient Bear is one chaotic-sounding beast of an aircraft and its rackety buzz-saw-like hum will continue to fill the skies wherever it roams for years to come. 

Contact the author: