Tupolev TU-154 Aeroflot airplane model. Tupolev's Tu-154 tri-jet remains the standard medium range airliner on domestic flights in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union and to a lesser extent in eastern Europe and Iran.
The Tu-154 was developed to replace the turbojet powered Tupolev Tu-104, plus the An-10 and Il-18 turboprops. Design criteria in replacing these three relatively diverse aircraft included the ability to operate from gravel or packed earth airfields, to be able to fly at high altitudes above most Soviet Union air traffic, and good field performance. To meet these aims the initial Tu-154 design featured three Kuznetsov (now KKBM) NK-8 turbofans (which also powered the larger, longer-range Il-62) giving a relatively good thrust to weight ratio, triple bogie main undercarriage units which retract into wing pods and a rear engine T-tail configuration.
The Tu-154 first flew on October 4, 1968. The first production example was delivered to Aeroflot in early 1971, although regular commercial service did not begin until February 1972.