The story of this “Aircraft 91” was certainly interesting. It was started at the beginning of the 1950s as a carrier based twin-engined torpedo bomber project of very classic lines, with a touch of Il-28 or Tu-14. By 1953 the loss of interest in building aircraft carriers by the Soviet authorities meant the end of further development of the carried-based “91” and Tupolev was instructed to turn “91” into a land-based attack/dive bomber aircraft for the Navy. By the time of this change of policy was happening the “91” design had evolved into a turboprop aircraft powered by the stunning +7000 hp TV-2M. That engine was unusually placed behind the cockpit; power came to the nose gearbox (and its contrarotating props) through a long drive shaft that passed between the two crews.
The Tu-91 made it maiden flight in 1954 and proved to be a serious technical success. Sadly, policy – well, personal taste: it seems Khruschev didn’t like it – interfered again and the Tu-91 project was terminated. It was a serious mistake, this aircraft offered a lot…. and later events proved it was needed.
Cute three-view/cutaway drawing of the “самолёт 91″.
….. each one of us have one”.