The story of this “Aircraft 91” was certainly interesting. It was started at the beginning of the 50’s 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 futher development of the embarqued “91” and Tupolev was intructed 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; the torque was transmited 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 that Khruschev didn’t like it – intervered again and the Tu-91 project was terminated. It was a serious mistake, this aicraft offered a lot…. and later circunstances proved it was needed.
Cute three-view/cutaway drawing of the “самолёт 91″.
….. each one of us have one”.