The missile carrier is a specialized combat aircraft designed for air delivery to predetermined geographic coordinates and the execution of the air-to-surface cruise missile (CR) launch program.
As a rule, a missile-carrier is understood as a heavy ( strategic ) aircraft, the main type of armament of which is medium-range or long-range cruise missiles. Also, any other aircraft, such as special patrol versions of transport aircraft , fighter-bombers, or front-line aircraft, which, however, are not considered to be rocket carriers, are not armed with various short-range or less frequently medium-range air-to-air missiles, since they are not considered specialized carriers of the Kyrgyz Republic.
The missiles carry a very large charge of strong explosive (EX) with a complex warhead, or are equipped with a special nuclear warhead (spetsBC), and are designed to hit point targets (such as large bridges, dams, large surface ships), or areal targets (such as military and military industrial facilities, transportation hubs, etc.)  . The aircraft carrier, rocket and ground equipment make up the aircraft and missile system .
For example, related products "45-02" and "D-2M" were made up of the K-22M airborne missile system (the Tu-22M2 carrier aircraft with the X-22M (N) suspended missile officially passed as "K-22M system" ).
The first missile carriers were German World War II bombers Do-217E-5 , carrying an anti-ship guided bomb Henschel Hs 293 . Their first combat use took place on August 25, 1943 in the Bay of Biscay — British ships patrolling there were successfully attacked.
The Allies captured V-1 missile ground launch sites led to the first strategic air-launched cruise missile. The first launch of the V-1 in London from the He-111 and Ju-88 missile carriers occurred at 5 am on September 16, 1944 over the North Sea .
In the USSR and Russia
Officially, in the USSR and the Russian Federation , only naval aviation aircraft were called missile carriers . With the launch of the K-10C missiles in service with AVMF, mine-torpedo aviation regiments (MTAP), armed with Tu-16K-10 aircraft, began to be renamed the Sea Rocket Launchers (IRPA) (see Order of the USSR Ministry of Defense on March 21, 1961 and Order of the Navy Civil Code 048 from 04/13/1961). In the future, the MRA (naval rocket-carrying aircraft) operated a large number of rocket-carrying aircraft based on the Tu-16 , and later on the Tu-22 M2 and Tu-22M3. In the Long-Range Aviation , which operated the same types of rocket-carrying aircraft and solving similar tasks, the regiments were not renamed “rocket-carrying”, and traditionally, until recently, were called “long-range bomber”. Since 2009, according to the so-called reform of the Russian Armed Forces "new look", all aviation regiments are essentially disbanded and became part of the airbases .
Models of missile carriers
- Pe-8 and Tu-4 - carriers of an experienced 10X missile and its further development 16X , created on the basis of the German V-1 KR. Missiles were not taken into service.
- Tu-4 K - carrier rocket KS-1
- Tu-16 KS - carrier of KS-1 missiles
- Tu-16K-10 - K-10C launch vehicle
- Tu-16K-16 - carrier rockets KSR-2
- Tu-16K-16-26 - carrier rockets KSR-5
- Tu-16K-11-16 - carrier of the KSR-2 and KSR-11 missiles
- Tu-16K-10-26 - carrier of K-10S, KSR-2, KSR-5 missiles
- Tu-16K-22 - carrier of the Kh-22 rocket
- Tu-22 K (D) - carrier of the Kh-22 rocket
- Tu-22M 2 - carrier of Kh-22M missiles
- Tu-22M3 - carrier of Kh-22M, Kh-15 missiles
- Tu-95 K (D) - carrier of the Kh-20 rocket
- Tu-95KM - carrier of Kh-22 missiles
- Tu-95MS - carrier of Kh-55 missiles
- Tu-160 - carrier of Kh-15 and Kh-55 missiles
Also, the Lun ekranoplan (Project 903), developed by the Alexeyev Design Bureau and armed with anti-ship missiles, can be attributed to the class of missile carriers.
- Contrary to popular belief, the specific tasks of the long-range, strategic, and naval aviation of the USSR have never been to strike a potential enemy nuclear towns (simply killing civilians is completely senseless from a military point of view).
- Order of the USSR Ministry of Defense No. 0028 of 03/20/1961
- Order of the Civil Code of the Navy No. 048 of 04/13/1961