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Tu-144LL in flight

Tupolev Tu-144 in flight

The Tupolev Tu-144 (NATO codename: "Charger"; nicknamed "Concordski") is a supersonic transport aircraft. It was the first supersonic transport (SST) to enter into passenger service and remains one of only two to ever do that (along with the Anglo-French Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde).

A total of 16 airworthy Tu-144 aircraft were built. The last commercial passenger flight of the Tu-144 was in 1978. Production ceased in 1984.


Development of the Tu-144 was ordered

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in July 1963 - six months after the go ahead for it's Anglo-French rival. As well as close study of various aspects of Concorde - including a number of failed attempts to collect information through espionage[N 1] - the development programme utilised the A-144, a special variant of the MiG-21 fitted with a scaled version of the wing intended for the Tu-144.[1]


  • Crew: 3
  • Capacity: 70-140 passengers
  • Length: 65.5 m
  • Wingspan: 28.8 m
  • Height: 10.5 m
  • Powerplant: 4 x Kolesov RD-36-51 afterburning turbojets
  • Empty weight: 85,000 kg
  • Loaded weight: 120,000 kg
  • Max. takeoff weight: 180,000 kg
  • Cruise speed: Mach 2.15 (2,285km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 20,000 meters




  1. This resulted in the chief of Aeroflot's Paris office being arrested with a set of Concorde engineering drawings in his briefcase, and a plot to acquire tyre samples from Le Bourget, which was foiled when Aerospatiale scientists substituted an exotic compound that had no use in tyres.


  1. World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 554 Sheet 1 )World Civil Aircraft:Tupolev Tu-144 'Charger' - Supersonic Soviet)