Tupolev Tu-141

The Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh ("Swift"; Russian: Туполев Ту-141 Стриж) is a Soviet reconnaissance drone that historically served with the Soviet Army during the late 1970s and 1980s, as well as the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2014.[1][2]

Tu-141 Strizh
M-141 Cruise Missile.JPG
Tu-141 Strizh at Central Air Force Museum, Monino, Russia
Role Remotely-controlled, UAV
Manufacturer Tupolev
First flight 1974
Introduction 1979
Status Retired in the USSR/Russia (1989) but reintroduced to service in Ukraine (2014)[1][2]
Primary users Soviet Union
Produced 1979–1989
Number built 142
Developed from Tupolev Tu-123
Developed into Tupolev Tu-143



The Tu-141 was a follow-on to the Tupolev Tu-123 and is a relatively large, medium-range reconnaissance drone. It is designed to undertake reconnaissance missions several kilometers behind the front lines at transsonic speeds. It can carry a range of payloads, including film cameras, infrared imagers, EO imagers, and imaging radar.[citation needed]

As with previous Tupolev designs, it has a dart-like rear-mounted delta wing, forward-mounted canards, and a KR-17A turbojet engine mounted above the tail. It is launched from a trailer using a solid-propellant booster and lands with the aid of a tail-mounted parachute.

Usage and incidentsEdit

The Tu-141 was in Soviet service from 1979 to 1989, mostly on the western borders of the Soviet Union.[citation needed]

It was pressed back into service by the Ukrainian Air Force after 2014 for the War in Donbas.[1][2]

On 8 March 2022, a Tu-141 reconnaissance drone was reported crashed in Ukraine.[3]

About midnight on 10 March 2022, during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, a Tu-141 crashed in front of a student campus in Zagreb, Croatia, over 550 kilometres (340 mi) from Ukraine.[4][5] Before it crashed, it had flown over Romania and Hungary.[6] There were no casualties. The Ukrainian Air Force said that the drone did not belong to them.[7][8] The Russian Embassy in Zagreb stated that Russian forces had not had such drones in their arsenal since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.[9] The Croatian president, Zoran Milanović, said it was clear the drone came from the direction of Ukraine, entering Croatia after flying over Hungary.[10] On 15 March, an undisclosed source close to the MoD of Croatia was cited in the Croatian news magazine Nacional as saying that the investigation had concluded that the crashed drone belonged to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and carried a bomb that was meant for striking Russia's positions, but the drone had strayed off course and crashed after it ran out of fuel.[11]


Data from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Directory: Part 2[12]

General characteristics

  • Crew: none
  • Length: 14.33 m (47 ft 0.25 in)
  • Wingspan: 3.88 m (12 ft 8.5 in)
  • Height: 2.44 m (8 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 10.0 m2 (108 sq ft) [13]
  • Gross weight: 6,215 kg (13,702 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Tumansky KR-17A , 19.6 kN (4,409 lbf) thrust


  • Maximum speed: 1,100 km/h (683 mph, 594 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 1,000 km/h (620 mph, 540 kn)
  • Range: 1,000 km (620 mi, 540 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 6,000 m (19,700 ft)


  1. ^ a b c "Ukraine Resurrects Soviet-Era Super Drones". War Is Boring. 5 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Ukrainian Soviet-era mini-space shuttle shaped drone captured by pro-Russia separatists". The Aviationist. 2 August 2014.
  3. ^ "Tu-141 of unknown origin shot down over Ukraine". Avia.pro. 9 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Izvučen dio olupine letjelice koja je pala u Zagrebu". N1. 13 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Stručnjak: U Zagrebu se srušila bespilotna letjelica Tu-141, doletjela je iz Ukrajine". Index.hr. 11 March 2022.
  6. ^ "VIDEO MApN, precizări legate de o dronă militară din Ucraina, care a trecut peste România, Ungaria și s-a prăbușit în Croația". alba24.ro. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Tajnik ukrajinskog ministra: Letjelica nije ukrajinska, naše imaju druge oznake". Index.hr (in Croatian). 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  8. ^ "Ukraine military drone crashes into Croatian capital Zagreb". The Guardian. 2022-03-11. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  9. ^ "Rusija za Index: Letjelica koja je pala na Zagreb proizvedena je na području Ukrajine". www.index.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  10. ^ Zagreb, Associated Press in (2022-03-11). "Military drone from Ukraine war crashes into Croatian capital Zagreb". The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  11. ^ "'Jarunski' dron pripadao je ukrajinskim vojnim snagama". Nacional. No. 1247. 15 March 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  12. ^ Munson Air International August 1997, p. 101.
  13. ^ Gordon and Rigmant 2005, p. 321.
  • Gordon, Yefim and Vladimir Rigmant. OKB Tupolev: A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publishing, 2005. ISBN 978-1-85780-214-6.
  • Munson, Kenneth. "Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Directory: Part 2". Air International, August 1997, Vol 53 No 2. pp. 100–108.

This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.

External linksEdit