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Hi everybody, just some random thoughts I had on my mind for some time and maybe anybody can comment on this or has some information or opinions on this subject. It strikes me that the USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union took very different approaches to defensive armament on their bomber (and transport) aircraft in the cold war era. In the RAF, every bomber after the Lincoln and the Washington relied on high speed, high altitude (low flying later) and ECM for self protection. I am not sure if guns/cannons were provided for in the Short Sperrin but the Canberra and the V-Bombers had none. (The cannons on maritime patrol Shackleton were intended for strafing surface targets, I guess). The Soviets took a completely different approach: Even the relatively small Il-28 had a gunner’s position in the tail. The Tu-16, Tu-95 and M-4 virtually continued the B-29/Tu-4 layout with gun turrets in dorsal, ventral and rear positions. A remote controlled tail turret is still installed in the supersonic Tu-22 and Tu-22M/-26 while defensive guns/cannon are missing only on the Tu-160s. As far as I can see, tail turrets are still present on Tu-22Ms and Tu-95s used by the Russian Air Force today. In contrast to all Western designs even transport aircraft like the An-12 and Il-76 were designed with a tail turret. The US somehow chose a middle way between these two approaches: Dorsal and ventral turrets last appeared on the B-36, but the B-47, B-52 and (early) A3D/B-66 still had tail turrets as well as the supersonic B-58. I am not sure when the tail guns were removed from the B-52s. Maybe they were still carried during Desert Storm. AFAIK, over Vietnam at least one BUFF even scored a kill with its tail gun(s). Now I wonder what are the reasons for these different approaches? One might think that Soviet planes were somehow lacking in terms of ceiling, speed and ECM, but even the US clung to guns/cannons. Does anyone know if guns were meant to shoot down air-to-air missiles? It sounds unlikely given the size and speed of the target, however, modern warships use fast firing 20-30mm cannons as a last-ditch defense against ant-ship missiles. So what was/is the rationale behind the defensive armament on cold-war (and some of Russia’s today’s) bombers? Regards, Ole