Revealed: Myasishchev M-4: A Sturdy Opponent of the B-52

The inaugural M-4 (Bison-A) prototype, a Soviet strategic bomber, made its first flight on January 20, 1953. After successfully completing state acceptance trials by March 1954, production commenced later that year, and the aircraft entered active service in 1955. A total of 34 units were produced, including the two prototypes.

The M-4 featured 18 bladder fuel tanks distributed across its fuselage and wings, allowing it to carry a substantial fuel load of 123,600 liters. This capacity provided the aircraft with an impressive range of 9,500 km (5,900 mi), although it fell short of the initial specification of 12,000 km (7,500 mi). Despite this, the M-4 could carry a payload of 24 tonnes in various configurations.

Initial concerns from the United States regarding the M-4’s potential threat did not materialize, as the aircraft never developed the capability to reach U.S. territory, even with subsequent enhancements. By the early 1960s, production of the M-4 ceased. Most of these aircraft were eventually decommissioned and scrapped, but a few were repurposed as aerial refueling planes, continuing to serve until the mid-1990s.

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