Tu-4 (China)

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This page is about the Chinese heavy bomber Tu-4 (China). For other versions, see B-29/Tu-4 (Family).
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The ␗Tu-4 (commonly known as 图-4轰炸机 in Chinese; or by its NATO Codename Bull 公牛) was one of the earliest strategic bomber of the PLAAF acquired from the Soviet Union as a birthday gift for Chairman Mao Zedong when 10 of them flew to China on his birthday in 1953 as the demand for bombers to take the remaining lands from Nationalist forces arose. Although they have not been used on outbound missions, they have been one of the cornerstones of the PLA during the assaults on the Tibetan Plateau thanks to its good high-altitude performance and excellent firepower against rebels with US-made M2HB which caused havoc to the previous Tu-2 fleet. One of the Tu-4s was then converted as an anti-aircraft gunship to hunt down ROCAF recon planes in the 1960s and one was experimentally converted to the very first AECWS in Asia, KJ-1 with upgraded engine and new radar for early-warning. These bombers were retired in 1988 due to being obsolete and the production pace of H-6 series went smoothly after the manufacture flaws and difficulties have been solved.

Introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision" as one of the bombers of the newly-introduced Chinese air tech-tree, the overall appearance of Tu-4 in PLAAF service is totally identical to its Soviet cousin which was based on the USAF's B-29. While it provided extensive self-defense firepower and sufficient performance at high-altitude with devastating GP bombs which are more than enough to flatten city blocks in a single bombing run, players have to be extremely careful on enemy jets with equally devastating firepower or those with early AAMs as they can make sure Tu-4 would never made it to the designated target with ease.

General info

Flight performance

Max speed
at 9 100 m641 km/h
Turn time32 s
Max altitude12 000 m
Engine4 х Shvetsov ASh-73TK
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight64 t
Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 9,100 m)
Max altitude
Turn time
Rate of climb
Take-off run
Stock 618 604 12000 33.4 35.0 4.7 4.6 1,500
Upgraded 665 641 30.4 32.0 10.5 6.5

For a piston-engined bomber of this size, the Chinese Tu-4 has a decent performance, with sluggish but manageable turn rate and reasonable flatline energy retention and top speed. However, being one of the only few piston-engined aircraft in the midst of Korean War jets, the Tu-4 is hopelessly outclassed in every aspects. Almost every jet aircraft the Tu-4 will face has twice the top speed of an average speed that the Tu-4 can reach, and can easily catches up with the Tu-4 in a minute or less. Even enemy jet bombers are a huge threat to the Tu-4, as they can also try and hunt you down after they've finished the bombing run.

However due to how agonizingly slow the Tu-4 is compared to any other planes at its BR, this can be both a blessing and a curse. A sortie with the Tu-4 would either ended with you getting shot down as soon as you were detected, or that most (if not all) of the enemy team would descend into the lower altitude to fight your teammates below while your lumbering plane only covers a quarter of distance between the spawn point and the base, thus giving you a plenty of time to take down enemy bases. As such, it is recommended to sideclimb a bit at the start of the match, so that even though you would never outclimb any of the enemies, your teammates would act as a distraction long enough for you to begin the bombing run.

Situational awareness is a key to survive in the Tu-4, as any enemy who detect and attempting to catch up with you will be able to easily do so within a minute, even if they are over 10 km away. As soon as you noticed that someone is heading towards you, turn your plane back immediately to prepare to defend yourself, or else you will be easily shot down from the sky.


Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
609 389 332 322 270 ~4 ~2
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 340 < 350 < 290 > 400

Survivability and armour

Crew7 people
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear389 km/h
  • 60 mm Bulletproof glass in front of the pilots.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plates in front of the pilots.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plates behind the pilots.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plates in front of tail control tractions.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plates boxing around rear dorsal gunner and beam gunners.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plate behind the rear ventral turret.
  • 60 mm Bulletproof glass in front of tail gunner.
  • 6.5 mm Steel plate in front of tail gunner.

The Tu-4 is a monster of an aircraft in terms of its profile and size, making it very easy to hit. Wings and the tail control are weak spots, so hitting the wings will result in severe wing damage on the Tu-4, forcing it to return to base or even sending it back to the hangar.

For Tu-4 pilots, situational awareness is a must in keeping the plane in the air, as any enemy can easily catches up with you and leaving little time for you to prepare the defense.

Despite the lack of countermeasures against air-to-air missile, the Tu-4 can protect itself against IR missile by turning off its engines to prevent the missile from acquiring the target. This effectively renders any missile of the Sea Vixen useless, and even capable of preventing the lock of the AIM-9B that is quite common in uptiers in some case.

Against the Tu-4

For those who wanted to take down this giant of an aircraft, do not be intimidated with its powerful defensive armament. The Tu-4's most obvious weakness is its massive size, which means it can be hit even from up to 2 km away. The lack of any countermeasures also means the Tu-4 will be vulnerable against variety of non-IR anti-air missiles.

While playing the Hunter F.1 or the Vautour IIA, it is easy to send this monster of an aircraft back to base with just one burst or simply using the missile. Engaging in a head-on is recommended, as the pilots have little protection, usually knocking them both out.

While flying the Sabres, try to aim for the fuel tanks in the wings. Most of the time, just set the fuel tanks ablaze, or even blowing off the wing, sending the foe back to the hangar.

Do not engage the Tu-4 from the six! Engaging the Tu-4 at its tail, especially from below, is asking for trouble. Always try to engage the Tu-4 from the top, or in head-ons, the fuselage turrets have dead zones when engaging from >~70 degrees.

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB2 984 → 4 010 Sl icon.png
RB10 650 → 14 313 Sl icon.png
SB16 014 → 21 522 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications80 100 Rp icon.png
130 200 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost2 000 Ge icon.png
Crew training78 000 Sl icon.png
Experts270 000 Sl icon.png
Aces1 500 Ge icon.png
Research Aces670 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
90 / 290 / 600 % Sl icon.png
190 / 190 / 190 % Rp icon.png
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
8 000 Rp icon.png
13 000 Sl icon.png
430 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
8 000 Rp icon.png
13 000 Sl icon.png
430 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
4 500 Rp icon.png
7 300 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
4 500 Rp icon.png
7 300 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
6 700 Rp icon.png
11 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
6 700 Rp icon.png
11 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
5 200 Rp icon.png
8 400 Sl icon.png
280 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
5 200 Rp icon.png
8 400 Sl icon.png
280 Ge icon.png
Mods engine extinguisher.png
5 200 Rp icon.png
8 400 Sl icon.png
280 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
4 500 Rp icon.png
7 300 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
4 500 Rp icon.png
7 300 Sl icon.png
240 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 1.png
Mods ammo.png
6 700 Rp icon.png
11 000 Sl icon.png
360 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
5 200 Rp icon.png
8 400 Sl icon.png
280 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
5 200 Rp icon.png
8 400 Sl icon.png
280 Ge icon.png

The stock payload of 40 x 100 kg bombs is rather mediocre, as it can take out only two bases. Unlocking the 20 x 500 kg bombs by researching the "KD-3" modification at rank 2 should be your first priority. Then unlock the full FI-T belts for the 23 mm cannons to improve its damage output. The rest can be chosen at your liking.


Suspended armament

List of setups (7)
Setup 140 x 100 kg FAB-100sv (forged) bomb
Setup 240 x 250 kg FAB-250M-46 bomb
Setup 312 x 500 kg FAB-500M-46 bomb
Setup 420 x 500 kg FAB-500M-46 bomb
Setup 58 x 1000 kg FAB-1000M-44 bomb
Setup 68 x 1500 kg FAB-1500M-46 bomb
Setup 74 x 3000 kg FAB-3000M-46 bomb

The Tu-4 (China) can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

  • 40 x 100 kg FAB-100sv bombs (4,000 kg total)
  • 40 x 250 kg FAB-250M-46 bombs (10,000 kg total)
  • 12 x 500 kg FAB-500M-46 bombs (6,000 kg total)
  • 20 x 500 kg FAB-500M-46 bombs (10,000 kg total)
  • 8 x 1,000 kg FAB-1000M-44 bombs (8,000 kg total)
  • 8 x 1,500 kg FAB-1500M-46 bombs (12,000 kg total)
  • 4 x 3,000 kg FAB-3000M-46 bombs (12,000 kg total)

The Chinese Tu-4 has the same bomb loadouts as its Soviet counterpart, giving it a very impressive maximum load of 12,000 kg, with a wide selection of different bomb sizes. If you are looking to destroy bases in air battles then the 20 x 500 kg option is best as it allows up to 5 bases to be destroyed. If you are looking to do damage to the main airfield then the 4 x 3,000 kg option will give you slightly more TNT equivalent, but offers less flexibility.

Defensive armament

3 х Turret2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannon
Ammunition550 rounds
Fire rate900 shots/min
Turret2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannon
Ammunition500 rounds
Fire rate900 shots/min
Turret2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannon
Ammunition1000 rounds
Fire rate900 shots/min
Main article: Type 23-1 (23 mm)

The Tu-4 (China) is defended by:

  • 2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannons, front dorsal turret (275 rpg = 550 total)
  • 2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannons, rear dorsal turret (275 rpg = 550 total)
  • 2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannons, front ventral turret (250 rpg = 500 total)
  • 2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannons, rear ventral turret (500 rpg = 1,000 total)
  • 2 x 23 mm Type 23-1 cannons, tail turret (275 rpg = 550 total)

Like the bomb load, the defensive armament of the Chinese Tu-4 remains unchanged from the Soviet model, with a total of 10 23 mm Type 23-1 cannons providing all-round coverage. While the defensive armament is excellent, you need to engage targets manually as the AI gunners do not engage at sufficient range to take out threats.

The utility of the turrets is also lessened when facing missile-armed jets, which can engage you from longer ranges. In these cases you want to throttle down or even turn off your engines to make it harder for them to get a missile lock, and so draw them into range of your guns.

Depending on your preference, you may chose not install the "New 23 mm cannons" modification, as this will increase the spread of the shell and as such allowed you a better chance at "spray & pray" and trap the enemy into a cloud of lead, especially at longer ranges.

Usage in battles

The below tactics can be used in all games modes:

Like most planes of its class, the Tu-4 relies on its defensive turrets for aerial combat. A few good hits from its 10 x 23 mm guns can send an attacker back to base, with critical damage or, if not, credit the player with the victory. Maxing out the crew stats is a good idea, it will allow the player to focus more on flying while the AI does the gunning. Don't get too arrogant, remember, the Tu-4 is a huge plane. It is easy to hit, and as mentioned above, especially when the opponents could be jets.

All in all, pay attention to the aircraft's surroundings. The Tu-4 can easily net the team a win so don't let the feeling of invincibility get imbued, or the only reward will be a fiery end.

With this bomber's high battle rating, you should be actively looking out for enemy vehicles. It is possible for an attacker to have a relative closing speed of over 1,000 km/h. Relying solely on the spotting system will allow some fighters to get so close it will be impossible for you to react. It is especially common for the enemy to approach either in a 30° cone straight ahead or to trail behind and below you, generally outside gun range before pulling up sharply.

When first starting with this aircraft, the payload option is 40 x 100 kg bombs which are able to destroy numerous bases. One of the best ways to maximize the payload's effectiveness, 15 x 100 kg bombs are needed for one base. The A.I. gunners will be able to defend the plane as bombs are dropped from the bombsight until switching back to the pilot seat, ready to head to next objective. The best option for base bombing is the 8 x 1,500 kg payload. A single bomb will be enough to destroy a base, provided you do not miss.

Once the Tu-4's bombing run is complete, start descending towards the friendly airfield; enemy fighters will be hunting for the Tu-4, so be more alert. The Tu-4 has a very powerful defensive system installed with 5 turrets, each with two 2 x 23 mm cannons, so the Tu-4 should be able to defend itself reasonably well. If you believe that landing would be putting the aircraft in grave danger, it is worth considering to instead stay high and shoot down approaching fighters, calling out your position will often lower the stigma associated with this action.

Do not rely on the AI gunners. Most of the time the Tu-4 will face top rank jets including Hunter F 1s and F2 Sabres. These adversaries are usually experienced and will not foolishly tail the bomber for long and try to engage at ranges greater than 1 km or engage in a head-on pass. These manoeuvres render the AI gunners largely useless. Laying down a stream of 23 mm rounds is recommended, but beware of jamming. Hits can be scored within 1.5 - 2 km, if somebody is tailing the Tu-4 or engaging in a head-on pass, they can also occur at greater ranges. Combine the turret shooting with a defensive style of flying to utilize it to its full potential; the Tu-4 offers good handling for its size. Be very careful when putting the Tu-4 into a dive. It is just as prone as any other aircraft to suffering structural damage if its limitations are exceeded. Do not rely on flaps to slow down, their weak construction will let you down.

The two most dangerous opponents of the Tu-4 are the S.O.4050 Vautour IIA and the Hunter F 1. With their 30 mm cannons and missiles, one burst will be devastating against the Tu-4. The F-86F-2 is also a dangerous opponent, with four 20 mm cannons with a very high velocity and rate of fire.

When down tiered, the most dangerous opponents are the Su-11, the Me 262 C-2b and the R2Y2 KAIs. All equipped with 30 mm cannons, they are able to send the Tu-4 back to the hangar within one burst. The 163s and Ki-200 extreme mobility are something to be wary of. It isn't uncommon for bomber pilots to lose track of the attacker after a fly-by.

Don't underestimate the other Sabres, such as the F-86F-40 and the CL-13A. Their 12.7 mm machine guns can do a lot of damage, crippling or setting the Tu-4 afire, which could end the match for the plane there.

Do not consider any enemy bomber or attacker as a neutral or even friendly party. It is quite common for Canberras or even B-57s to try and engage you if the opportunity presents itself.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Controllable
Auto control available
Not controllable
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Combined Controllable
1 gear
Auto controlled

Pros and cons


  • Second highest payload in the game (after the F-111A) of up to 12,000 kg (26,455 lbs)
  • Decent climber once flight performance modifications have been purchased (compressor, engine, and engine injection)
  • Very effective defensive 23 mm turrets that have little dead zones, lots of ammo and great damage
  • Gunners are located separately from the gun turret with the exception of the tail turret, increasing their survivability
  • Tricycle landing gears, does not have to worry about propeller strike
  • The plane is so slow that most enemies would often descended to fight your teammates while you're underway, leaving a plenty of space and time for you to perform a bombing run


  • Agonizingly slow and sluggish, took awhile to reach the targets and can be easily intercepted even by jet bombers
  • Huge aircraft, making it easy to spot from distance and making it close to impossible to miss
  • Prone to fires and wing damage, hindering the plane's control
  • Can face supersonic jets or air-to-air missile, the latter of which the plane is almost completely defenseless against
  • Unable to reliably defend itself from opponents attacking at once from multiple directions
  • Hard to handle/correct direction during landing, due to its low roll rate, slow-responding rudder and slow landing gear movement


It's known that at least twelve Tu-4s were aided to People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) by USSR since 1953, making China the only Tu-4 operator outside of the USSR. Ten Tu-4s delivered by the end of 1953 were operated by the Fourth Independent Regiment of PLAAF and later, in 1960, two additional aircraft were aided and served as navigational training aircraft; Tu-4 were saw during the riot-suppression operations over the Tibetan Plateau as a gunship and the Sino-Indo Border War, and sometimes bombing the frozen Yellow River to reopen shipping routes.

Shadow Aircraft 影機

The flight path "Black Bat's" 1960-12-19 Operation

At late 1950s, in view of the harassment and reconnaissance missions from the 34th "Black Bat" Squadron (第34"黑蝙蝠"中隊) of ROCAF stationed at Hsinchu Airbase, PLAAF had plans for modifying Tu-2 into night-time interceptors and had attempted to hunt down P2V-7U flown by the aforementioned squadron, but ROCAF managed to bait that Tu-2 into terrain thus giving a death sentence to this project. By the 1960s, a commander of PLAAF HQ named Han Zhiming (韩志明) suggested a plan to modify a Tu-4 (aka Tu-4P in this case; No. 0049) into an anti-aircraft gunship as both Tu-4 and P2V shared similar service radius. The aircraft had installed a PSBN-M "Cobalt" radar from IL-28 by the upper front turret which can detect targets within 3 km, the gunner sights were also upgraded into infrared sights and the bomb bay was also modified into a command station where it could serve as an airborne control plane for the jet interceptors. This Tu-4 was dubbed "the Shadow Aircraft 影機" by ROCAF.

A detailed information on the very first interception operations conducted by the "Shadow Aircraft" could be found in the Black Bat Squadron Memorial Hall in Hsinchu, their home base. The crew of this P2V flight took off from South Korea on 19 December, 1960 and survived the interception from J-5A, "the Shadow Aircraft" from Cangzhou, Hebei (河北省沧州市) and ground AA; only to knew the existence of such aircraft a year later after multiple interception by this aircraft. According to the records from General Lin Hu (林虎, 1927-2018) and the flight path (shown on right, taken in November 2021) records, the Tu-4P intercepted P2V somewhere near Chengde, Hebei (河北省承德市) with 250 shots fired upon the target; the flight later evaded the interceptors by around 10 pm that day and hid for around 5 hours until they met extensive AA fire in Shandong where the other flight of Tu-4P intercepted P2V again fired again by 3 am the next day for around 35 minutes. [1] The flight survived the interceptions and arrived Hsinchu at around half-past 8 that day. While the records from PLAAF mentioned that the gunship was first flown in 1st March, the mission was only for tracking instead of a head-to-head interception.

After the attempts proved fruitless and the halt on recon flights to Mainland China, the aircraft was converted backed into a conventional bomber and lost in the river of history afterwards.

Description of the flight and crew list

A Brand-New Platform

KJ-1 in public display in Beijing Aviation Museum.

Due to the lack of endurance of the original Ash-73TK piston engine, in the 1970s the remaining Chinese Tu-4s installed new WJ-6 ("渦槳-6", Turboprop-6) turboprop engines and J17G-13 four-bladed propellers (domestic imitation of AI-20 engine and AV-68 propeller). The 4250 horsepower WJ-6 is more powerful than the original piston engine and a one-piece ventral fin or two small endplate fins at the tips of the horizontal tail were mounted to improve horizontal stability of manoeuvre characteristic. Meanwhile, all of the defensive turrets on these modified Tu-4s were removed for better performance.

At that time, the Tu-4 is the optimal heavy-weight long-range air platform operated by PLAAF, so a turboprop Tu-4 (series number 2806501, Red 4114) was chosen as the airframe of 'Plane 926', first airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) plane of PLAAF. A huge rotodome, holding the Type 843 radar, was mounted on its center station of the wings and some small antennas were installed on the fuselage, The project started at 1969 and later be called as KJ-1 ("空警一號", AWACS No.1). The KJ-1 ushered its first test flight in November, 1971. However, the Type 843 radar was found to be lacking in the ability to detect and track low altitude flying objects during the test, so the whole KJ program was disbanded by 1979. Currently the KJ-1 is in public display in the Chinese Aviation Museum, Beijing. Another three Tu-4s with turboprop engines were modified as ECM plane or ELINT planes.

Chinese Tu-4 with DR-5 drone underwing in 1986.

During the Vietnam War, China captured serval wrecks of Ryan BQM-34 reconnaissance drones and one of them was fixed, becoming the sample of reverse-engineering. The resulting product, called Changhong-1 ("長虹一號", Skylight No.1) or WZ-5 ("無偵-5", Unmanned reconnaissance aircraft No.5) was built based on the BQM-34. A modified Tu-4 (series number 225008, Red 4134) with turboprop engines was converted into a drone carrier platform. The red 4131 drone platform is capable carry two Changhong-1s under the pylons mounted underwing. It can also carry two La-17K UAV.



See also

Links to the articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the aircraft;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Tupolev Design Bureau (Ту́полев Опытное конструкторское бюро)
Bombers  TB-3M-17-32 · SB 2M-100 · SB 2M-103 MV-3 · SB 2M-103 · SB 2M-103U · SB 2M-103U MV-3 · SB 2M-105
  Tu-2 · Tu-2S · Tu-2S-44 · Tu-2S-59 · Tu-4
Arkhangelsky Bomber  Ar-2*
Strike Aircraft  Tu-1
Jet Bomber  Tu-14T
Export  ␗SB 2M-103U · ␗Tu-2S-44 · ␗Tu-4
  * While Andrei Tupolev was imprisoned, Alexander Arkhangelsky, second in command at Tupolev OKB was able to append his name to the final production series of the SB bomber.

China bombers
American  Martin 139WC*(␗B-10B) · ␗A-29 · ␗B-25J-30 · ␗PB4Y-2
German  ␗Hs 123 A-1
Soviet  ␗SB 2M-103U · ␗DB-3A · ␗Tu-2S-44 · ␗Tu-4
Japanese  ␗P1Y1 mod. 11
  *Export Name

  1. pp. 132-134, Lin, Hu. Fights to Defend Motherland Airspace. ISBN 7-5056-4167-X, People's Liberation Army Publishing House, 2002.