Diplomatic protest 10,000 times is not as good as its wings instigate once. This sentence was said by Russian President Vladimir Putin. This wing refers to a long-range strategic bomber with great strategic deterrence capabilities.
When it comes to Russia’s long-range strategic bomber, the Tu-160 “White Swan” is a model that must be mentioned. Because of its bright white body, the Russians call it the “white swan”, but NATO calls it the “pirate flag”.
From the perspective of the dark gray fuselage color and slightly clumsy body shape of long-range bombers in the United States and other countries, the Tu-160 bomber is indeed a visually more attractive aircraft. The old saying is so good that it doesn’t work.
But this does not apply to Tu-160, because Tu-160 is not only good-looking, but also superior in performance and deterrence. Its R&D and manufacturing unit is the famous Tupolev Design Bureau of the former Soviet Union, which was originally planned to replace the Tu-22 and Tu-95 bombers.
The Tu-160 bomber was the last strategic bomber project of the Soviet Union before its disintegration, and thus represented the highest level of the Soviet Union in this field. Tu-160 did not disappoint the Soviets in actual performance.
It is still the world’s fastest and longest range strategic bomber. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine also obtained 19 bombers of this type.
Except for 8 used to mortgage debts to Russia, the others were all destroyed on the spot under the flicker of the Americans. The reason why the Americans tried to destroy these Tu-160s was mainly because they were afraid that they would eventually be acquired by Russia. It is not difficult to see that the Americans are very afraid of the power of Tu-160.
Before the Kazan Aircraft Factory restarted Tu-160 production, the Russian Air Force had only about 15-16 complete combat-capable Tu-160 bombers.
In view of the fact that Russia did not have enough funds to develop the next generation of stealth strategic bombers in a short period of time, and the Russian national defense is very short of a strategic bomber to make up for the current shortcomings, Russia had to start the Tu-160 production line again. This not only solves the problem of Russia’s international military game, but also saves money, is fast, and can take shape soon.
Judging from what Putin said, Putin himself is very fond of long-range strategic bombers. In a reality like Russia, other conventional military forces cannot effectively compete with the United States.
Therefore, this kind of long-range strategic bomber that can play a huge role in the Trinity is placed at a key position. Even Putin personally flew a Tu-160 bomber in 2005, when he was the commander of the Russian Air Force long-range aviation commander.
In April 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected the Russian Air Force’s long-range aviation force. He once launched a cruise missile on a Tu-160 strategic bomber.
After receiving the President’s order, the Russian Air Force immediately launched four X-X-type aircraft from two bombers. 55 cruise missiles, all hit the missile range target located in Karskia Peninsula. Of course, the launch mission plan has already been completed.
Everyone likes to compare the American B-1B and Tu-160, because these two bombers were born in the same period and belong to the first generation of products.
The former Tu-160 is about 20% larger than the B-1B, and its maximum flight speed is also much larger. So looking at it now, the improved model of Tu-160 is better than B-1B. But don’t forget, the B-1B in the United States has been upgrading for so many years.
And there is one thing, Tu-160 may not be able to compare with B-1B, that is actual combat experience.
In the “Desert Fox” operation in December 1998, the Americans invested in the B-1B for the first time in an aerial bombardment of Iraq. In 1999, another six B-1Bs were put into the joint bombing missions of NATO countries against Serbia.
In that mission, B-1B only accounted for 2% of the total number of NATO aircraft, but 20% of bombs were dropped. In the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, B-1B also participated.
In contrast, it was not until 2015 that the attack on the Islamic State terrorist organization was the first actual combat of Tu-160. So now, the combat efficiency of the B-1B may be higher.
After all, the actual combat experience of the B-1B is more than that of the Tu-160, and the combat data is more reliable.
At the beginning of 2020, the Tu-160M bomber, which was upgraded and equipped with the latest airborne defense system, anti-jamming communication system and new weapon system, completed its first flight.
Unlike the Tu-160M2, which had its first flight around 2018, it is a modernization based on the original Tu-160, while the Tu-160M2 is the first new strategic bomber manufactured by Russia after independence.
It is reported that the fully upgraded Tu-160M will begin to serve the Russian Aerospace Forces in 2021.