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Tu-160 (bomber)

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Tu-160/NATO: BLACKJACK are modern Russian strategic bomber aircraft. Originally produced between 1980 to 1992, the production line is open again, and delivered a new aircraft in May 2000. 14 aircraft are now in service in Russia. Existing aircraft are undergoing major avionics upgrades and new cruise missile; the first upgraded aircraft was delivered in July 2006.[1]

There are similarities between the Tu-160 and U.S. B-1 Lancer. Both are supersonic, with intercontinental range with air refueling. Both have variable-geometry wings, and, while not a stealthy design like the B-2 Spirit, present a smaller radar cross-section, especially in the engines, than older bombers such as the B-52 or Tu-95/NATO:BEAR.[2] Note that the Tu-160, however, is considered, in arms control agreements, to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, but the B-1 and Tu-22M are not.

Weapons

The maximum payload is 80,000 pounds of bombs, missiles, and presumably penetration aids. It can carry missiles, not all of which may be in production, including:

The KH-55 and Kh-55 are to the U.S. AGM-86 ALCM in nuclear and conventional versions, as the Kh-102 and Kh-101 is to the cancelled U.S. AGM-129 ACM stealthy cruise missile.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Tu-160 Blackjack Strategic Bomber, Russia", Air Force Technology
  2. Juniper, Andrew, Tupolev Tu160 Blackjack
  3. "Kh-555", Globalsecurity.org
  4. "Kh-101/Kh-102", Globalsecurity.org
  5. "Raduga Kh-65 / Kh-SD", Globalsecurity.org