Disclosure of the Myasishchev M-4: A Robust Rival for the B-52 Stratofortress

Taking its maiden flight in 1953, shortly after the official launch of the B-52 Stratofortress, the Myasishchev M-4 left a lasting impression on the Americans.

The inaugural M-4 (Bison-A) prototype took to the skies on January 20, 1953, and successfully completed state acceptance trials by March 1954, paving the way for production that commenced later that same year. The aircraft was put into active service in 1955, with a total of 34 units manufactured, including the two prototypes.

Boasting 18 bladder fuel tanks distributed across the fuselage and wings, the M-4 could carry a substantial fuel load of 123,600 liters, providing it with a remarkable range of 9,500 km (5,900 mi). Despite falling short of the initial specification of 12,000 km (7,500 mi), this fuel capacity enabled the aircraft to carry a payload of 24 tonnes in various configurations.

Contrary to initial concerns, the anxieties held by the Americans failed to materialize. Even with subsequent enhancements, the M-4s never gained the capability to reach the United States. As the 1960s dawned, production of the M-4 came to a halt. While most of these aircraft were eventually decommissioned and scrapped, a few were repurposed as refueling planes until the mid-1990s.

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