Stratigic Bombers | World Defense

Stratigic Bombers


Dec 5, 2014
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Tupolev Tu-95

The Tupolev Tu-95 (Russian: Туполев Ту-95; NATO reporting name: "Bear") is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040. A development of the bomber for maritime patrol is designated Tu-142, while a passenger airliner derivative was called Tu-114.

The aircraft has four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines, each driving contra-rotating propellers. It is the only propeller-powered strategic bomber still in operational use today. The Tu-95 is one of the noisiest military aircraft, purportedly because the tips of the propeller blades move faster than the speed of sound. Its distinctive swept-back wings are at a 35° angle. The Tu-95 is one of the very few mass-produced propeller driven aircraft with swept wings. The same 35° swept angle was later used in the Boeing 707 and DC8 airliners.

Present and future status
In 1992, newly independent Kazakhstan began returning the Tu-95 aircraft of the 79th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division at Dolon air base to the Russian Federation. The bombers joined those already at the Far Eastern Ukrainka air base.

All Tu-95s now in Russian service are the Tu-95MS variant, built in the 1980s and 1990s. On 18 August 2007, President Vladimir Putin announced that Tu-95 patrols would resume, 15 years after they had ended.

NATO fighters are often sent to intercept Tu-95s as they perform their missions along the periphery of NATO airspace, often in close proximity to each other.

Russian Tu-95s reportedly took part in a naval exercise off the coasts of France and Spain in January 2008, alongside Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers and airborne early-warning aircraft.

During the Russian Stability 2008 military exercise in October 2008, Tu-95MS aircraft fired live air-launched cruise missiles for the first time since 1984. The long range of the Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile means Tu-95MS Bears can once again serve as a strategic weapons system.

In June of 2015 a Tu-95 ran off a runway at the Ukrainka bomber base and caught fire during take-off in the far eastern Amur region.

On July 14, 2015 it was reported that a Tu-95MS had crashed outside Khabarovsk, killing two of seven crew members.

On 17 November 2015, Tu-95s had their combat debut, being employed for the first time in long range airstrikes as part of the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.

- Role Turboprop strategic bomber or missile carrier aircraft or airborne surveillance
- National origin Soviet Union
- Manufacturer Tupolev
- First flight 12 November 1952
- Introduction 1956
- Status In service
- Primary users Soviet Air Forces
Soviet Navy
Russian Air Force
- Produced 1952–1994
- Number built 500+
- Variants Tupolev Tu-114 passenger airliner
Tupolev Tu-142 maritime patrol
Tupolev Tu-95LAL nuclear-powered

Specifications (Tu-95MS)
Data from Combat Aircraft since 1945

General characteristics
  • Crew: 6–7; pilot, co pilot, flight engineer, communications system operator, navigator, tail gunner plus sometimes another navigator.
  • Length: 46.2 m (151 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 50.10 m (164 ft 5 in)
  • Height: 12.12 m (39 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 310 m² (3,330 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 90,000 kg (198,000 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 171,000 kg (376,200 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 188,000 kg (414,500 lb)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Kuznetsov NK-12M turboprops, 11,000 kW (14,800 shp) each
- Armament



Dec 5, 2014
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Tupolev Tu-22M

The Tupolev Tu-22M (Russian: Туполев Ту-22М; NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime strike bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. According to some sources, the bomber was believed to be designated Tu-26 at one time. During the Cold War, the Tu-22M was operated by the Soviet Air Force (VVS) in a strategic bombing role, and by the Soviet Naval Aviation (Aviacija Vojenno-Morskogo Flota, AVMF) in a long-range maritime anti-shipping role. Significant numbers remain in service with the Russian Air Force, and as of 2014 more than 100 Tu-22Ms are in use.

Operational history

The two prototypes Tu-22M0 were delivered to Long Range Aviation’s 42nd Combat Training Centre at Dyagilevo air base, near Ryazan, in February 1973. The aircraft began practice sorties in March. Within 20 days of the aircraft’s delivery, the air and ground crew at the air base had received their type ratings; this was helped by their earlier training at Tupolev, the Gromov Flight Research Institute and the Kazan plant. In June that year, the aircraft were demonstrated to Soviet government officials, destroying tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

The Tu-22M was first unveiled in 1980 during the aircraft’s participation in a major Warsaw Pact exercise. During the exercise, naval Tu-22M2s conducted anti-ship operations by mining parts of the Baltic Sea to simulate an amphibious landing. The exercise was extensively covered by the press and TV media. In June 1981, four Tu-22Ms were intercepted and photographed by Norwegian aircraft flying over the Norwegian Sea.

The first simulated attack by the Tu-22M against a US carrier battle group occurred between 30 September and 1 October 1982. Eight aircraft locked onto the task forces of USS Enterprise and USS Midway which were operating in the North Pacific. They came within 120 mi (200 km) of the task forces. The reaction of the US Navy was thought to have been restrained during this event so as to allow the observation of the Tu-22M's tactics. The bomber also made attempts to test Japan's air defense boundary on several occasions.

The Tu-22M was first used in combat in Afghanistan. It was deployed December 1987 to January 1988, during which the aircraft flew strike missions in support of the Soviet Army's attempt to relieve the Mujahideens' siege against the city of Khost. Two squadrons of aircraft from the 185th GvBAP based at Poltava were deployed to Maryy-2 air base in Turkmenistan. Capable of dropping large tonnages of conventional ordnance, the aircraft bombed enemy forts, bases and material supplies. In October 1988, the aircraft was again deployed against the Mujahideen. Sixteen Tu-22M3s were used to provide cover to Soviet forces that were pulling out of the country. The Tu-22Ms were tasked with destroying paths of access to Soviet forces, attacking enemy forces at night to prevent regrouping, and to attack incoming supplies from Iran and Pakistan. Working alongside 30 newly-arrived MiG-27s, the aircraft also from flew missions aimed at relieving the besieged city of Kandahar. The aircraft had its last Afghan operation in January 1989 at Salang pass.

The Tu-22M suffered from widespread maintenance issues during its service with the Soviet forces. These stemmed from poor manufacturing quality. The engines and airframes in particular had low service lives. The Air Force at one point sought to have Tupolev prosecuted for allegedly rushing the inadequate designs of the Tu-22M and the Tu-160 into service. This was compounded by the government bureaucracy, which hampered the provision of spare parts to allow the servicing of the Tu-22M. With some aircraft grounded for up to six months, the mission-capable rate of the aircraft in August 1991 hovered around 30–40%.

At the time of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, 370 remained in Commonwealth of Independent States service. Production ended in 1993.

The Russian Federation used the Tu-22M3 in combat in Chechnya during 1995, performing strikes near Grozny.

In August 2007, the Tu-22M and the Tu-95 resumed long-range patrol for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

The Russian military acknowledged the loss of a Tu-22MR recon aircraft to Georgian air defences early in the 2008 South Ossetia war. One of its crew members was captured (Major Vyacheslav Malkov), two others were killed and the crew commander, Lt. Col. Aleksandr Koventsov, was missing in action as late as November 2011.

On Good Friday night, 29 March 2013, two Tu-22M3 bombers were flying in international airspace in a simulated attack on Sweden. The Swedish air defense failed to respond. Two Tu-22Ms flew supersonic over the Baltic Sea on 24 March 2015. Two Tu-22Ms approached Öland in international airspace on 21 May 2015. The Swedish Air Force sent two Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighters to mark their presence. On 4 July 2015, two Tu-22Ms approached the Swedish island of Gotland, followed by Swedish and other fighter aircraft. The Russian bombers did not enter Swedish territory.

On 17 November 2015, Russia used 12 Tu-22M3 strategic long-range bombers against targets in Syria, along with cruise missiles fired from the Mediterranean and Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers. In 22–31 January 2016, Tu-22M3s conducted 42 sorties in the vicinity of Deir ez-Zor city, Syria. On the morning of July 12, 2016, six Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bombers carried out a concentrated attack using high-explosive ammunition on Daesh targets east of Palmyra, As Sukhnah and Arak.


The Tupolev company has sought export customers for the Tu-22M since 1992, with possible customers including Iran, India and the People's Republic of China, but no sales have apparently been made. Unlike the Tu-22 bomber, Tu-22Ms were not exported to Middle East countries that posed a threat to the US military presence in the region.[40] During 2001, India signed a lease-to-buy contract for four Tu-22M aircraft for maritime reconnaissance and strike purposes. At the time, the aircraft were expected to be delivered with Raduga Kh-22 cruise missiles.

In January 2013, reports emerged that China had signed a purchase agreement for the production and delivery of 36 Tu-22M3s, under the Chinese designation of H-10, with many components to be manufactured domestically in China under a technology transfer agreement with Russia and Tupolev. Sales of the Russian-built Raduga Kh-22 long-range anti-ship missile and the fleet's intended use as a maritime strike platform have also been speculated upon. Rosoboronexport has reportedly denied any sales or negotiations with China regarding the Tu-22M.

- Role Strategic bomber/Maritime strike
- Manufacturer Tupolev
- First flight 30 August 1969
- Introduction 1972
- Status In service
- Primary users Soviet Air Forces (historical)
Russian Air Force
Ukrainian Air Force
Indian Navy (historical)
- Produced 1967–1997
- Number built 497
- Developed from Tupolev Tu-22

Specifications (Tu-22M3)
Data from Frawley, Donald, Wilson

General characteristics
  • Crew: 4 (pilot, co-pilot, navigator, weapon systems operator)
  • Length: 42.4 m (139 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan:
    • Spread (20° sweep): 34.28 m (112 ft 6 in)
    • Swept (65° sweep): 23.30 m (76 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 11.05 m (36 ft 3 in)
  • Wing area:
    • Spread: 183.6 m² (1,976 ft²)
    • Swept: 175.8 m² (1,892 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 58,000 kg (128,000 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 112,000 kg (246,000 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 124,000 kg (273,000 lb) ; 126,400 kg (278,700 lb) for rocket assisted TO
  • Powerplant: 2 × Kuznetsov NK-25 turbofans, 247.9 kN (55,100 lbf) each
  • Fuel capacity: 54,000 kg (118,800 lb) internally
  • Guns: 1 × 23-mm GSh-23 cannon in remotely controlled tail turret
  • Hardpoints: wing and fuselage pylons and internal weapons bay with a capacity of 24,000 kg (53,000 lb) of
  • Up to 3 × Kh-22 missiles in weapons bay and on wing pylons or
  • Up to 6 × Kh-15 missiles on a MKU-6-1 rotary launcher in its bomb bay, plus 4 × Raduga Kh-15 missiles on two underwing pylons for a total of 10 missiles per aircraft.
  • Various freefall bombs – 69 × FAB-250 or 8 × FAB-1500 might be typical.
The Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent) long-range cruise missile was tested on the Tu-22M but apparently not used in service.


Dec 5, 2014
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Tupolev Tu-160


The Tupolev Tu-160 Beliy Lebed (or White Swan, Russian: Туполев Ту-160, NATO reporting name: Blackjack) is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.

Entering service in 1987, the Tu-160 was the last strategic bomber designed for the Soviet Union. As of 2016, the Russian Air Force, Long Range Aviation branch has 16 aircraft remaining, with fewer being airworthy and in service. The Tu-160 active fleet has been undergoing upgrades to electronics systems since the early 2000s. The Tu-160M modernisation programme has begun with the first updated aircraft delivered in December 2014.

In April 1987, the Tu-160 entered operational service, with the 184th Guards Heavy Bomber Regiment (GvTBAP) in Pryluky in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were the first to receive the new bomber, replacing their Tu-16 and Tu-22M3 aircraft. Squadron deployments to Long Range Aviation began that month, prior to the Tu-160 being first publicly presented in a parade in 1989. In 1989 and 1990, a total of 44 world speed flight records in its weight class were set. In 1992, Russia unilaterally suspended its flights of strategic aviation in remote regions.

A total of 19 Tu-160s were stationed inside the newly-independent Ukraine during the fall of the Soviet Union. On 25 August 1991, the Ukrainian parliament decreed that the new nation would take control of all military units on its territory; a Defence Ministry was created that same day. By the mid-1990s, the Pryluky Regiment had lost its value as a combat unit; 19 Tu-160s were effectively grounded due to a lack of technical support and spare parts. Ukraine considered the Tu-160s to be a bargaining chip in economic negotiations with Russia and of limited value from a military standpoint. Discussions over the Tu-160s were lengthy due to price disagreements. While Russian experts, who examined the aircraft at the Pryluky Air Base in 1993 and 1996, assessed their technical condition as good, the $3 billion price proposed by Ukraine was unacceptable. Due to the stalled negotiations; in April 1998, Ukraine decided to commence scrapping the aircraft under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement. In November, the first Tu-160 was chopped up at Pryluky.

Operational history

In April 1999, immediately after NATO began its air attacks against Serbia, Russia resumed talks with Ukraine about the strategic bombers, proposing to purchase eight Tu-160s and three Tu-95MS models manufactured in 1991 (those in the best technical condition), as well as 575 Kh-55MS missiles. An agreement was reached and a $285 million contract was signed, the value of which was deducted from Ukraine's debt for natural gas. A group of Russian military experts went to Ukraine on 20 October 1999 to prepare the aircraft for the flight to Engels-2 air base. The first two aircraft (a Tu-160 and a Tu-95MS) departed Pryluky on 5 November. During the months that followed, the seven other "Blackjacks" flew to Engels, with the last two arriving on 21 February 2001.

Along with the re-purchase of Ukrainian aircraft, Russia's Defence Ministry sought other ways of rebuilding the fleet at Engels. In June 1999, the Ministry placed a contract with the Kazan Aircraft Production Association for a delivery of a single, almost complete, bomber. The aircraft was the second aircraft in the eighth production batch and it arrived at Engels on 10 September. It was commissioned into service as "07" on 5 May 2000. The unit that was operating the fleet from Engels was the 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Regiment. It formed up in early 1992 and by 1994 it had received 6 aircraft. By the end of February 2001, the fleet stood at 15 with the addition of the eight aircraft from Ukraine and the new-build. As of 2001, six additional Tu-160 have served as experimental aircraft at Zhukovski, four remaining airworthy.

The Air Force fleet was reduced to 14 by the crash of the Mikhail Gromov during flight trials of a replacement engine on 18 September 2003. It would be brought up to 16 aircraft by the completion of a part-built aircraft in June 2006 and the delivery of the Vitaly Kopylov on 29 April 2008. Following acceptance of the testing of the prototype of the long-awaited avionics upgrades the Tu-160 formally entered service with the Russian Air Force by a presidential decree of 30 December 2005.

On 17 August 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was resuming the strategic aviation flights stopped in 1991, sending its bombers on long-range patrols. On 14 September 2007, British and Norwegian fighters intercepted two Tu-160s in international airspace near the UK and Finland. On 25 December 2007, two Blackjacks came close to Danish airspace, and two Danish Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons scrambled to intercept and identify them.

According to Russian government sources, on 11 September 2007, a Tu-160 deployed a massive fuel-air explosive device, the Father of All Bombs, for its first field test. Some military analysts expressed skepticism that the weapon was actually delivered by a Blackjack.

On 28 December 2007, the first flight of a new Tu-160 was reported to have taken place following completion of the aircraft at the Kazan Aviation Plant. After flight testing, the bomber joined the Russian Air Force on 29 April 2008, bringing the total number of aircraft in service to 16. One new Tu-160 is expected to be built every one to two years until the active inventory reaches 30 or more aircraft by 2025–2030.

On 10 September 2008, two Russian Tu-160 landed in Venezuela as part of military manoeuvres, announcing an unprecedented deployment to Russia's ally at a time of increasingly tense relations between Russia and the United States. The Russian Ministry of Defence said Vasily Senko and Aleksandr Molodchiy were on a training mission. It said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies, that the aircraft would conduct training flights over neutral waters before returning to Russia. Its spokesman added that the aircraft were escorted by NATO fighters as they flew across the Atlantic Ocean.

On 12 October 2008, Tu-160 bombers were involved in the largest Russian strategic bomber exercise since 1984. A total of 12 bombers including Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear conducted a series of launches of their cruise missiles. Some bombers launched a full complement of their missiles. It was the first time that a Tu-160 had ever fired a full complement of missiles.

On 10 June 2010, two Tu-160 bombers carried out a record-breaking 23-hour patrol with a planned flight range of 18,000 km (9,700 nmi). The bombers flew along the Russian borders and over neutral waters in the Arctic and Pacific Oceans.

Russian media reports in August 2011 claimed that only four of the VVS' sixteen Tu-160 were flight worthy. By mid-2012 Flight reported eleven were combat-ready and between 2011 and 2013 eleven were photographed in flight.

On 1 November 2013, Aleksandr Golovanov and Aleksandr Novikov went into Colombian airspace in two different occasions without receiving previous clearance from the Colombian Government. The aircraft was going from Venezuela to Nicaragua and headed for Managua. The Colombian Government issued a letter of protest to the Russian Government following the first violation. Two Colombian Air Force IAI Kfirs stationed at Barranquilla intercepted and escorted the two Blackjacks out of Colombian airspace after the second violation.

On 17 November 2015, Russia started using Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M strategic long-range bombers against targets in Syria, along with Kalibr cruise missiles fired from the Mediterranean. This marked the combat debut of the Tu-160 and Tu-95.

- Role Supersonic strategic bomber
- National origin Soviet Union/Russia
- Design group Tupolev
- Built by Kazan Aircraft Production Association
- First flight 19 December 1981
- Introduction 30 December 2005 (IOC in 1987)
- Status In service
- Primary user Russian Air Force
- Produced 1984–1992, 2000, 2008
- Number built 35

Specifications (Tu-160)

General characteristics
  • Crew: 4 (pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, defensive systems operator)
  • Length: 54.10 m (177 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan:
    • Spread (20° sweep): 55.70 m (189 ft 9 in)
    • Swept (65° sweep): 35.60 m (116 ft 9¾ in)
  • Height: 13.10 m (43 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area:
    • Spread: 400 m² (4,306 ft²)
    • Swept: 360 square metres (3,900 sq ft))
  • Empty weight: 110,000 kg (242,505 lb; operating empty weight)
  • Loaded weight: 267,600 kg (589,950 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 275,000 kg (606,260 lb)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Samara NK-321 turbofans
    • Dry thrust: 137.3 kN (30,865 lbf) each
    • Thrust with afterburner: 245 kN (55,115 lbf) each
  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.05 (2,220 km/h, 1,200 knots, 1,380 mph) at 12,200 m (40,000 ft)
  • Cruise speed: Mach 0.9 (960 km/h, 518 knots, 596 mph)
  • Range: 12,300 km (7,643 mi) practical range without in-flight refuelling, Mach 0.77 and carrying 6 × Kh-55SM dropped at mid range and 5% fuel reserves
  • Combat radius: 7,300 km (3,994 nmi, 4,536 mi,) 2,000 km (1,080 nmi, 1,240 mi) at Mach 1.5
  • Service ceiling: 15,600 m (51,181 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 70 m/s (13,860 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 742 kg/m² with wings fully swept (152 lb/ft²)
  • lift-to-drag: 18.5–19, while supersonic it is above 6
  • Thrust/weight: 0.37
  • Two internal bays for 40,000 kg (88,185 lb) of ordnance including