The 3MS-2 and 3MN-2 came to life as conversions of the 3MS and 3MN strategic bombers - the world`s heaviest combat aircraft of the Fifties. By the early Eighties almost all axisting 3M bombers had been converted into tankers. For long time were the most numerous tankers in Soviet strategic aviation fitted with the "Konus" (for cone) air refuelling system.
The 3MN-2 was powered by four VD-7B jet engines each developing 9,500 kgf, whereas the 3MS-2 had four RD-3M-500s of 10,500 kgf. The aircraft featured original "bicycle" landing gear with a "jumping" mechanism facilitating take-off procedure.