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Friday, June 28, 2013

Russian Supersonic White Swan

The Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber (NATO reporting name of Blackjack) was manufactured by the Tupolev aircraft research and engineering complex joint stock company of Moscow and the Kazan-Gorbunov Aircraft Production Association in Tatarstan from 1980 to 1992.

The maiden flight of the bomber was completed in December 1981 and it entered service in April 1987. Production has since restarted and a Tu-160 was delivered to the Russian Air Force in May 2000. About 35 aircraft were built of which only 16 are in service in Russia. The aircraft has an operational range of 14,000 km and a service ceiling of 16,000 m. The maximum flight speed is 2,000 kph at high altitude and 1,030 kph at low altitude.
The Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber. (Picture from: http://www.airforce-technology.com/)
The Tu-160 was designated as White Swan due to its maneuverability and anti-flash white finish. The purpose of the aircraft is the delivery of nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theatres of operation. The aircraft has all-weather, day-and-night capability and can operate at all geographical latitudes.
The engines of the Tu-160 are installed in two pods under the shoulders of the wing. The air intake incorporates an adjustable vertical wedge. (Picture from: http://www.airforce-technology.com/)
The aircraft propulsion system consists of four NK-32 augmented turbofan engines, which each provide a maximum thrust of 25,000 kg. The engines are installed in two pods under the shoulders of the wing. The air intake incorporates an adjustable vertical wedge. The bomber has an in-flight refuelling system. In the inoperative position, the refuelling probe is retracted into the nose of the fuselage in front of the pilot's cabin. The aircraft fuel capacity is 160,000 kg.
Specs of the Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber. (Picture from: http://en.rian.ru/)
The Tu-160 is similar to the 216 ton American B-1B but never really lived up to its potential. Still, it is the most modern heavy bomber the Russians have. It's a 267 ton aircraft that can carry up to 40 tons of bombs and missiles. The aircraft can refuel in the air. It was built mainly to deliver cruise missiles. Noting the success of the B-1 in Afghanistan and Iraq with smart bombs, the Tu-160s were modified to do the same, in addition to retaining their cruise missile carrying capability.
Cockpit view of the Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber. (Picture from: http://englishrussia.com/)
The Russian Air Force will receive more than 10 modernized Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers by 2020, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. According to official data, Russia has at least 16 Tu-160 aircraft in service. There are plans to increase their number to 30. "The Tu-160 in service with the Air Force are already undergoing modernization," Air Force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said. "We are planning to receive more than 10 aircraft of this type."
Side view of the Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber. (Picture from: http://englishrussia.com/)
The Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation. The modernized version, Tu-160M, features new weaponry, improved electronics and avionics, which double its combat effectivness. The aircraft is highly computerised, and the avionics systems include an integrated aiming, navigation and flight control system, with a navigation and attack radar, an electronic countermeasures system, and automatic controls.
The Tu-160 Blackjack will be upgraded to improve Russia's long-range bomber fleet, which includes the Tu-22M3 Backfire-C (pictured). (Picture from: http://aviationintel.com/)
The upgraded aircraft will remain in service until a fifth-generation strategic bomber is developed, the Air Force officials earlier said. Russia will also modernize about 30 Tu-22M3 Backfire-C strategic bombers to a Tu-22M3M variant by 2020. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | RIA NOVOSTI | AIRFORCE-TECHNOLOGY.COM]
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