Tu-141 Strizh
Tu-141 Strizh at Central Air Force Museum, Monino, Russia
Role Remotely-controlled, UAV
Manufacturer Tupolev
First flight 1974
Introduction 1979
Status Active with the Ukrainian military forces[1][2]
Primary users Ukraine
Soviet Union (formerly)
Produced 1979–1989
Number built 152[3][4]
Developed from Tupolev Tu-123
Developed into Tupolev Tu-143

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



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 within a 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) radius, flying at transonic 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.

Operation and incidents

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

Russo-Ukrainian War

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

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 8 March 2022, a Tu-141 reconnaissance drone was reported crashed in Ukraine.[5]

About midnight on 10 March 2022, a Tu-141 crashed in front of a student campus in Zagreb, Croatia, over 550 kilometres (340 mi) from Ukraine.[6][7] Before it crashed, it had flown over Romania and Hungary.[8] There were no casualties. The Ukrainian Air Force said that the drone did not belong to them.[9][10] 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.[11] The Croatian president, Zoran Milanović, said it was clear the drone came from the direction of Ukraine, entering Croatia after flying over Hungary.[12] On 15 March, an undisclosed source close to the ministry of defence 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.[13]

On 3 July 2022, the governor of the Kursk region wrote on Telegram that "our air defenses shot down two Ukrainian Strizh drones".[14]

On 5 December 2022, explosions were reported at two Russian airbases: the one at Engels-2 reportedly damaged two Tu-95s according to Baza; the other at the Dyagilevo military airbase near Ryazan, destroyed a fuel truck, damaged a Tu-22M3 and killed three, injuring five.[15] The Russian Ministry of Defense said that Ukraine struck these bases with Soviet-made jet drones, and that the drones were subsequently shot down at low altitude when approaching the air bases. The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has not confirmed the information.[16][17]

On 26 December 2022, at midnight, explosions were again reported at Engels-2. Air sirens were reported being heard at the base and surrounding areas. The local governor Roman Busargin reported no damage to "civilian infrastructure". At least two explosions were heard. These explosions have been reported by both the Ukrainian and Russian media. Three people from the “technical staff” have reportedly been killed. According to Russian television, "A Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down at low altitude while approaching the Engels military airfield in the Saratov region," Ukrainian and Russian social media accounts reported a number of bombers have been destroyed. However Reuters could not confirm these claims. A modified Tu-141 was used to undertake the attack.[18][19]

On 26 March 2023, Russia stated that it had downed a Tu-141 near Kireyevsk using a Polye-21[20] jamming system, resulting in three casualties and damage to an apartment block.[21]


Tu-141 on display at the State Aviation Museum in Kyiv

Data from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Directory: Part 2[22]

General characteristics



Former operator


  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. ^ "Что такое Ту-141 «Стриж»" [What is Tu-141 "Strizh"]. www.kommersant.ru. 13 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Беспилотник Ту-141 «Стриж». Инфографика" [UAV Tu-141 "Strizh". infographics]. aif.ru. 7 December 2022.
  5. ^ "Tu-141 of unknown origin shot down over Ukraine". Avia.pro. 9 March 2022.
  6. ^ "Izvučen dio olupine letjelice koja je pala u Zagrebu" [Recovered part of the wreckage of the aircraft that fell in Zagreb]. N1. 13 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Stručnjak: U Zagrebu se srušila bespilotna letjelica Tu-141, doletjela je iz Ukrajine" [Expert: A Tu-141 unmanned aerial vehicle crashed in Zagreb, it flew in from Ukraine]. Index.hr. 11 March 2022.
  8. ^ "VIDEO MApN, precizări legate de o dronă militară din Ucraina, care a trecut peste România, Ungaria și s-a prăbușit în Croația" [MApN VIDEO, clarifications related to a military drone from Ukraine, which flew over Romania, Hungary and crashed in Croatia]. alba24.ro. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  9. ^ "Tajnik ukrajinskog ministra: Letjelica nije ukrajinska, naše imaju druge oznake" [Secretary of the Ukrainian Minister: The aircraft is not Ukrainian, ours have different markings]. Index.hr (in Croatian). 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Ukraine military drone crashes into Croatian capital Zagreb". The Guardian. 2022-03-11. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  11. ^ "Rusija za Index: Letjelica koja je pala na Zagreb proizvedena je na području Ukrajine" [Russia for Index: The aircraft that fell on Zagreb was produced on the territory of Ukraine]. www.index.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  12. ^ Zagreb, Associated Press in (2022-03-11). "Military drone from Ukraine war crashes into Croatian capital Zagreb". The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-03-11.
  13. ^ "'Jarunski' dron pripadao je ukrajinskim vojnim snagama" [The 'Jarun' drone belonged to the Ukrainian military]. Nacional. No. 1247. 15 March 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Moscow Claims Control Of Ukraine's Luhansk Region As Fatal Blasts Reported In Russia's Belgorod". rferl.org. 3 July 2022. Retrieved 3 July 2022.
  15. ^ Roth, Andrew; Sauer, Pjotr (5 December 2022). "Explosions rock two Russian airbases far from Ukraine frontline". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 December 2022.
  16. ^ David Axe (5 December 2022). "Ukraine Pulled Ex-Soviet Recon Drones Out Of Storage, Added Bombs And Sent Them Hurtling Toward Russia". Forbes.com. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  17. ^ "US commercial satellites surveyed Russia's Engels airstrip ahead of Kiev's strike attempt". tass.com. 5 December 2022.
  18. ^ "'Incident' at Russia's Engels air base investigated, no damage to civil infrastructure - local governor". Reuters. 26 December 2022.
  19. ^ GastÓn Dubois (26 December 2022). "Tu-141 Strizh, the improvised weapon Ukraine uses to attack Russian bomber bases". aviacionline.
  20. ^ "Maszty telekomunikacyjne - obroną antyrakietową Rosji?". space24.pl (in Polish). 18 October 2016. Retrieved 2023-04-27.
  21. ^ "Three injured as Russia downs Ukrainian drone south of Moscow". Reuters. 26 March 2023. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  22. ^ Munson Air International August 1997, p. 101.
  23. ^ Gordon and Rigmant 2005, p. 321.

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