Russia’s Tu-160 Supersonic Bomber Has a Very Special Way of Attacking Its Target

    TNI Staff

    Security, Europe

    From very far away…thanks to long-range cruise missiles. 

    The existing Tu-160 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 4,500Km and 5,500Km.

    Developed during the closing stages of the Cold War, the Mach 2.05 capable Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack was the Soviet Union’s ultimate strategic bomber.

    The requirement for the Tu-160 emerged from a 1972 Soviet competition to develop a Mach 2.3 capable strategic bomber that would be Moscow’s response to the Rockwell International B-1A Lancer. While President Jimmy Carter would eventually cancel the high speed, high altitude B-1A (though President Ronald Reagan resurrected the low altitude—but much slower Mach 1.25 capable—B-1B during the 1980s) in favor of the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the Soviet Union would continue to develop the Tu-160.

    The Tu-160 made its first flight on December 18, 1981, with production starting in 1984 at the Kazan Aircraft Production Association in central Russia. The jet entered service in April 1987 with the 184th Guards Heavy Bomber Regiment at Pryluky in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Social Republic just as Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev were negotiating the end of the Cold War. In the end, 36 Tu-160 bombers were produced (including nine test aircraft) before the December 26, 1991, collapse of the Soviet Union.

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