Strategic air force is the most important component of Russia's nuclear shield. Tu-160MS [romanized: Belyj Lebeď, lit. 'White Swan'; NATO reporting name: Blackjack] and Tu-95 strategic bombers, nicknamed “Bearin Soviet times, are the main defensive and striking power of Russian long-range aviation.
It is no coincidence that the announcement of the beginning of preliminary tests of the assembled from scratch “White Swan” Tu-160 exploded the madia landscape.
This event was long awaited. In a nutshell, supersonic bomber Tu-160 with a variable wing sweepback was added to the arsenal of long-range aviation in 1987. In 1994, the production of missile carriers was stopped. However, in 2015, it was decided to return to the production of the famous “White Swans.”
“The resource of strategic missile carriers is designed for 40 years,” Lieutenant General Anatoly Zhikharev, commander of the Long-Range Aviation, said that year. “The plan is to carry out additional modernization of the airplanes in the next few years. Obsolete systems and units of Tu-160 and Tu-95MS will be replaced. It will also allow increasing time in commission. At the same time, design bureaus are actively introducing the most perspective developments. As a result, the radio electronic equipment will be completely replaced, weapons systems will be changed.”
Two strategic bombers Tu-160 were collected under the newly adopted program. The first was rebuilt on the basis of the airframe from the Soviet reserve, and the second was collected from scratch. Last week, a source in the aircraft industry told TASS that the aircraft plant named after S.P. Gorbunov in Kazan was ready to test a new multi-purpose Tu-160 bomber.
“The aircraft is ready and fueled in the hangar. By the end of the year, the Tu-160 will be definitely tested on the runway.” Earlier, the plant’s representatives said that the aircraft makers had the task of putting the plane in the air before the end of the year. Meanwhile, as it turned out, the rocket-carrier’s flight is not planned this year yet.
Despite the fact that its former design was used and only the letter “M” was added to its name, it is a completely new machine. Revived “White Swan” is equipped with an improved control system, the latest onboard defense system and a modern communication system with enhanced noise immunity. Unique weaponry of Tu-160 will significantly expand the capabilities of the aircraft in the application of conventional and nuclear weapons. What is very important is that deep modernization of combat Tu-160 is in progress simultaneously with tests of new missile-carrying airplanes.
Wek.ru reported recently that during the last month Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that about 30 sorties of U.S. combat aircraft were registered near the Russian border and this was 2.5 times more than during the same period last year. Therefore, the strengthening of the combat capabilities of Russian strategic bombers is not a threat but a serious warning of provocative actions on the part of NATO.