Russia Upgrades Old Tu-160M ​​Bomber To Supersonic Aircraft, Capable Of Flying Up To Mach 2+

Russia Upgrades Old Tu-160M ​​Bomber To Supersonic Aircraft, Capable Of Flying Up To Mach 2+
Russia Upgrades Old Tu-160M ​​Bomber To Supersonic Aircraft

Moscow - Russia develops its first new supersonic strategic bomber capability. The Tu-160M ​​bomber will be capable of traveling at speeds of Mach 2+ and be launched by the end of the second quarter of 2022.

The first Tu-160M ​​bombers were actually scheduled to be delivered to the Russian air force in 2023. However, the process was accelerated to the second quarter of 2022 after it was reported that all development was proceeding smoothly. "We managed to complete this task much faster," said Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov quoted from Bulgarian Military, Saturday (5/2/2022).

The Tu-160M ​​bomber is a development of the legendary Tu-160 aircraft in the Soviet Union era. The development of the Tu-160 White Swan (White Swan) was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin through Foreign Minister Sergei Shoigu in 2015. Russia plans to buy 50 Tu-160M ​​bombers and production of the aircraft begins in 2019.

By the end of this year, Russia will receive a second Tu-160M ​​for testing. The difference between the Tu-160M ​​/ M2 bomber and its older brother Tu-160 the White Swan is not that big. However, Russia claims that the Tu-160M/M2 has new weapon systems, avionics and electronics, which will enhance the bomber's combat capabilities.

Manufacturer Kazan Aviation Plant [KAPO] continues and updates in the field of electron beam welding or titanium work. In addition, the new Tu-160M/M2 will have a completely redesigned new hull. It is assumed that the load to be carried by the Tu-160M ​​/ M2 is different and equipped with the latest technological advances. Moreover, by 2020 the older Tu-160 bombers are capable of carrying the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile.

The test of the Tu-160's ability to launch the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal was also very successful. Military observers assume that the new Tu-160M/M2 will also be a carrier for hypersonic weapons. In addition to hypersonic missiles, the Tu-160M/M2 could be capable of carrying various cruise missiles, as well as short-range hypersonic aero-ballistic missiles.

The difference between the old and new Tu-160 is not very big, some features will be preserved. For example, the development of a maximum speed of Mach 2+ remains, including a cruising speed of 960 km/h. The crew of the Tu-160 consists of four people, namely the pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, and defense systems officer.

It is not known what engine the new Tu-160 will use, but the older version uses the Kuznetsov NK-32 engine. Three-spool low bypass turbofan jet engine after combustion, providing 137.3 kN of thrust and 245 kN of afterburner. It is said that a new engine has been designed, namely the NK-32-02 turbofan from Kuznetsov.

In the September 2020 test flight, when two Tu-160s were able to break the world record of flying for more than 25 hours and covering a distance of more than 20,000 kilometers. This bomber has a length of 54.1 meters, a wingspan of 55.7 meters, with a wingspan of about 400 m2. When empty, the aircraft weighs about 110,000 kg, after being loaded with weapons, missiles, and bombs, the maximum weight reaches 275,000 kg.

The Russian Tu-160 bomber is often compared to the US B-1 Lancer bomber, although the two have different roles. The Russian Tu-160 bomber has another role, namely as an anti-aircraft missile platform, which is characterized by carrying strategic missiles. Another difference is speed. Russian bombers are faster and have a greater combat range. However, the B-1B bomber had more combined payload, plus an external payload.

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