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"Tu-160M2: Russia's New Super Bomber" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2017 12:51 p.m. PST

"The new bomber is essentially a prototype of a next generation variant of the venerable Blackjack, the first generation of which was built during the 1980s in the last days of the Soviet Union. Russia operates 16 of the surviving aircraft as long-range cruise missile carriers as a key part of its strategic bomber force. The aircraft have performed well during Russia's Syria campaign acting as launch platforms for the stealthy MKB Raduga H-101 cruise missile, which is thought to have a range between 4,500MKm and 5,500Km.

"The plane with the factory number 804 based on Soviet aircraft breakthroughs will be rolled out of the final assembly workshop of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise and delivered to the flight testing station in November this year," a Russian defense industry source told the Moscow-based TASS news agency. "The plane is expected to perform its debut flight from the enterprise's aerodrome in February next year."

According to the Russian defense industry source, the newly built Tu-160 will initially be capable of performing the same missions as the existing Blackjack fleet when it rolls out the factory in Kazan next year. However, the aircraft will subsequently be modified to the upgraded Tu-160M2 standard…."
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Lion in the Stars14 Nov 2017 3:28 p.m. PST

It's still a 40-year-old design.

I'm not sure how effective those old birds will be in a peer-competitor fight.

Caedite Eos15 Nov 2017 12:22 a.m. PST

Hire old is the B52 again? Or the lancer?

It's a bomber. It doesn't get into a peer competitor fight.

28mm Fanatik15 Nov 2017 9:39 a.m. PST

Bombers don't need to be too "survivable." The days of dropping bombs directly over or near the target is over due to advances in air defense networks. Now bombers deliver cruise missiles at great distances unless they're dropping payload over uncontested or suppressed airspace.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2017 10:49 a.m. PST



Lion in the Stars15 Nov 2017 2:51 p.m. PST

Yes, the B52 and B1 are older.

The B1 is about the same vintage as the Tu160, maybe a bit older since the design dates to the 1970s.

The one good thing I can say about some new-production Tu160s is that they won't have any age issues. The B52 and B1 have serious airframe hours, I think the B1s have had their service lives shortened due to the low-altitude penetration mission (greater stresses down in the weeds versus up in the stratosphere).

But it's not like the US could order any more B1s, the tooling was destroyed (same problem with A10s).

To tell you the truth, there's not much call for a supersonic bomber to carry cruise missiles. You can just about use a basic airliner to carry the missiles to the launching point. You need a supersonic bomber to penetrate defended airspace and I'm not sure a 40yo design is up to the challenge anymore.

Caedite Eos16 Nov 2017 3:13 a.m. PST

There's also a supply chain in place, trained crews, both flight and ground, and operational experience on a proven design they've been operating as man and communist boy.

Plus there's a degree of shock and awe about a supersonic bomber that's not to be sniffed at when it come to projecting power that more Bears off Alaska don't have. Base a few of these in Cuba. 90 miles doesn't seem very far at mach 2.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2017 12:14 p.m. PST

Russia Rolls Out New Tu-160M2, But Are Moscow's Bomber Ambitions Realistic?

"Russia's United Aircraft Corporation, or UAC, has rolled out the first prototype of its upgraded Tu-160M2 Blackjack at its plant in Kazan. The Russian Air Force insists that this design will be a key component of the country's strategic, nuclear capable bomber force, along with its Tu-95MS Bears, but persistent budget shortfalls, limited industrial capacity, and other issues could easily stymie the modernization program.

On Nov. 16, 2017, the same day as the roll-out, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin announced that flight tests of the aircraft would begin in 2018, low rate production would start a year later, and serial deliveries would start in 2023. At that point, UAC hopes to be delivering two or three Tu-160M2s each year. In 2015, the Kremlin first announced the project, which it said would involve restarting the Blackjack production line…"
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