The Tupolev Tu-143 Reys (Flight or Trip, Russian: Рейс) was a Soviet unmanned reconnaissance aircraft in service with the Soviet Army and a number of its Warsaw Pact and Middle East allies during the late 1970s and 1980s. It contained a reconnaissance pod that was retrieved after flight, and from which imagery was contained.
|Role||unmanned reconnaissance aircraft|
|First flight||1970 (Tu-243 1987)|
|Introduction||1976 (officially adopted in 1982) (Tu-243 1999)|
|Primary user||Soviet Union|
|Produced||1973–1989 (Tu-243 1994-)|
|Developed from||Tupolev Tu-141|
The Tu-143 was introduced in 1976 and strongly resembled the Tu-141, but was substantially scaled-down. It was a short-range (60–70 kilometer) tactical reconnaissance system and had low-level flight capability. The Tu-143 was truck-launched with JATO boosting, recovered by parachute, and powered by a TR3-117 turbojet with 5.8 kN (590 kgf, 267 lbf) thrust. The initial version carried film cameras, but later versions carried a TV or radiation detection payload, with data relayed to a ground station over a datalink. Some 950 units were produced in the 1970s and 1980s.
A target drone version, the M-143, was introduced in the mid-1980s.
The Tu-143 was followed into service in the late 1990s by the similar but improved "Tu-243 Reys-D", with a 25 cm (10 inch) fuselage stretch, to provide greater fuel capacity and about twice the range; it had an uprated TR3-117 engine with 6.28 kN (640 kgf, 1,410 lbf) thrust; and improved low-altitude guidance.
Since 1995, Tupolev began promoting the further refined "Tu-300 Korshun", which resembles its predecessors but is fitted with a nose antenna dome and nose fairings for modern sensors and electronic systems. It also features a centerline pylon for a sensor pod or munitions. Financial issues forced a halt to development at the end of the 1990s, but work was resumed in 2007.
Tupolev TU-143 Reys:
- wingspan 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in)
- length 8.06 m (26 ft 5 in)
- height 1.54 m (5 ft 1 in)
- launch weight 1,230 kg (2,710 lb)
- maximum speed 950 km/h (515 kn, 590 mph)
- service ceiling 5,000 m (16,400 ft)
- range 200 km (110 nmi, 125 mi)
This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.
- The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Political, Social, and Military History: A Political, Social, and Military History, ABC-CLIO, 12 May 2008, by Spencer C. Tucker, Priscilla Mary Roberts, page 1055
- "Воздушные мишени – вторая жизнь зенитных ракет — ОРУЖИЕ РОССИИ, Информационное агентство". Arms-expo.ru. Archived from the original on 2011-10-25. Retrieved 2013-09-03.
- The Military Balance 2016, p. 190.
- UAV Forum | Users
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tupolev Tu-143.|
- Czech Tu-143/VR-3 Rejs in museum with transport vehicle and launcher