Manufacturer: Tupolev

Model: Tu-144B

Name: "Backbone" (NATO codename)

Type: Supersonic jet bomber


Status: Operational

Country: Soviet Union

Service: Soviet Air Force

Designation: Tu-44


The bomber version of the Tupolev Tu-144 was known variously as the Tu-144B (Tupolev designation), the Tu-44 (official designation) or the "Backbone" (NATO reporting name). It was built in 10 examples and flew in highest secrecy throughout the 80s from various bases across the Soviet Union...


The idea of a military combat variant of the famous Tu-144 airliner is not so far-fetched. Indeed, several projects studied under the Tu-135 and Tu-144 designations were bombers...

The military designation Tu-44 is just in line with the Soviet practice already in use for Tupolev and the others: two-digit numbers were part of an "official" list of military designations while the alternate were company model numbers. Hence the Tu-14 (= Tu-81), Tu-16 (= Tu-88), Tu-24 (= Tu-98), Tu-22 (= Tu-105). This didn't apply to the civilian airliners which retained the company design number (Tu-104, Tu-134, etc.) and there were a few exceptions (Tu-95/Tu-142 didn't get a sequential number in the "other" list).

Viewers' comments:
  • Unique Russian Bomber! Great! :D:thumbsup: (theF-man)
  • What can I say...except good stuff! (Mimikios)
  • :thumbsup::) (Roddy1990)
  • I like it. (ONI-Defense)
  • interesting (MrThomasAndCartman)
  • Looks like Sukhoi T-4 (LottonTheWizard)
  • Looks great! (Erik Simonsen)
  • Awesome...Love the NATO code names :-) (edwardio1973)
  • This is an amazing photo of the TU-144 whether or not it's retouched! (dinobatfan)

My comments:

I guess that's the old Soviet feeling... LOL

Thanks to ONI-Defense for pointing out that "Of course its NATO reporting name would have to be different, since all bombers are given a name that starts with B."

  • I am curious about something....The digital paint scheme somehow seems a little flatter and not quite as well blended in as you usually do...was this intentional or a work in progress maybe? Just asking because while this is indeed a wonderful picture, it just seems to be not quite up to your usual standards.  Please don't get me wrong still looks great and is a grand idea! :) (dinobatfan)

I absolutely agree with you. This is not quite up to the usual standards, but I found it very hard to make it any darker or more contrasted without losing on some of the details. Also the fact that I had to erase all the windows and markings makes for a duller airframe as well...