Tupolev TU-126 “MOSS”

At the end of the 50s, due to the Soviet concern to receive an attack by its gigantic northern border, it was decided to build an airborne fleet of early warning and control aircrafts (AWACS). The order was made to the Tupolev company, which began studies to adapt a “Liana” radar, designated by NATO as “Flat Jack”, to a Tu-95 bomber or in a Tu-116 airliner. Due to the narrow fuselage of both models, finally it was decided to adapt the Tupolev Tu-114 airliner, which after necessary modifications became the Tu-126 Moss AWACS aircraft. The new aircraft was equipped with an air-to-air refueling probe, air control equipment and a rotodome that housed the radar, that was mounted above the fuselage behind the wing.. It seems that Tu-126 Moss never met the expectations placed on it and was built in small quantities, not exceeding 12 or 15 units, which were in service until the arrival of the more capable A-50 Mainstay.

TU-126 MOSS gallery


Información adicional

Ficha Completa
Country of origin

Soviet Union




Airborne Early Warning aircraft

Entered service




Combat weight

171,000 kg

Dimensions (length x wingspan x height)

56.50 x 51.40 x 16.05 meters

Wing area

311 m2

Power plant

4 x Kuznetsov NK.12MV turboprop engines, 14,795 hp each

Power, (total)

59,180 hp


Max. 790 km/h – Cruise 520 km/h

Ceiling, (maximum)

10,700 meters


7,000 km