This is the story of the Soviet Union's first intercontinental jet bomber, which was to have become a carrier of nuclear missiles and the Soviet answer to the Boeing B-52. Much to the surprise of many, the little-known Myasischev bureau was chosen to do the job; it had been disbanded a few years earlier and reinstated solely to create such a bomber. Known to the West as the Bison, the new bomber employed many innovative features (including a bicycle landing gear) and was created within the short period of just one year; Western military observers were stunned when the aircraft was formally unveiled at the 1953 May Day parade. The M-4 and the much-improved 3M remained in service for 40 years until retired and scrapped in compliance with the START treaty. The Bison also served as the basis for the VM-T Atlant specialized cargo aircraft designed to piggy-back the Buran space shuttle and components of the Energiya launch rocket. Also described in this book are the many projected derivatives of the M-4 designed in the 1950s, including longrange airliners.
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Yefim Gordon is one of Russia’s leading aviation writers and publishers. He is the author of many books on Soviet aviation and currently lives in Moscow.
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