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Tupolev Tu-160 Strategic Bomber: Performance, Speed, Specs. Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) is a supersonic tactical bomber produced by the joint research company and the Tupolev Moscow aircraft complex and the Kazan-Gorbunov Aircraft Production Association in Tatarstan from 1980 to 1992. The Tu-160 flight test was completed in December 1981 and began operations in April 1987. Production has resumed and a Tu-160 was sent to the Russian Air Force in May 2000. About 35 aircraft were built out of which only 16 were in service in Russia.
The Tu-160 is designated as White Swan given that of its maneuverability and anti-flash white finish. The purpose of this aircraft is the delivery of nuclear and conventional weapons deep within the theatres of continental operations. This aircraft can operating in all weather, day and night and can operate at all geographical latitudes. The modern variant of the Tu-160M2 is equipped with the newest generation Russian trip missiles and a new engine designed by the Kuznetsov Design Bureau, which is reported to significantly expand the range of aircraft.
Tupolev Tu-160 Engine
The Tupolev Tu-160 is powered by four Kuznetsov NK-321 turbofan engines, each of which provides an optimum thrust of 25,000 kg. The engine is mounted on two pieces under the shoulder of the wing. Air intake combines vertical slices that could be adjusted.
The bomber has a refueling system in flight. In the non-operational position, the refueling probe is pulled into the nose of the aircraft facing the pilot cabin. The fuel capacity of the aircraft is 160,000 kg.
The max speed and cruise ship speed of the Tupolev Tu-160 are 2,220 km/ h and 960 km/ h, respectively. This aircraft can ride at a speed of 70 m/ sec. The aircraft’s distance is 12,300 km. The combat radius is 7,300 km. Service ceiling is 16,000 m. Tu-160 has a flight endurance of 15 hours.
Tupolev Tu-160 Specs
The Tu-160 bomber airframe has a distinctive appearance, with the wings and fuselage gradually being integrated into a one-part configuration. The fuselage structure is based on titanium beams, twisted boxes all of which are welded. Throughout the entire fuselage, all main fuselage members are secured to titanium beams.
The tapered wings outside variable geometry sweep back from 20 ° to 65 ° to provide high-performance flight characteristics at supersonic and subsonic speeds. Tail surfaces, horizontal and vertical, all intact and all moving.
The Tu-160 uses fly-by-wire control. The aircraft is equipped with a three-strut landing gear, tail wheel and parachute brake. It can attack tactical targets with nuclear and conventional weapons in the movie theater of continental operations. For take-off, the aircraft requires a 3,050 m concrete runway. The aircraft weighs around 110,000 kg and its max take-off weight is 275,000 kg.
Tupolev Tu-160 Cockpit and Avionics
The Tu-160 cockpit can accommodate 4 crew members, consisting of a pilot, co-pilot, a navigator and an operator. All four crews are equipped with zero/ zero ejection seats, which gives the crew the option to safely issue all levels of altitude and airspeed, including when the aircraft is parked. All flight data are presented on conventional electro-mechanical indicators and monitors, and not head-up displays or cathode ray tube displays.
Tu-160 flight control is accomplished with a control stick as used in fighter aircraft, not a control wheel or yoke normally used on large transport aircraft or bombers.
The Tu-160 avionics system includes an aiming navigation system, integrated flight navigation and control, with navigation and attack radars, an electronic countermeasure system, and automatic control. That makes this bomber very computerized.
Tupolev Tu-160 Weapons
Tu-160 bombers can carry nuclear and conventional weapons including long-range nuclear missiles. The missiles are housed in multi-station launchers in each of the two arms bays. In addition, the Tu-160 can also be armed with an important trip missile Kh-55MS, which is known in the West by NATO designation and the US code name Kent. Up to 12 Kh-55MS missiles could be carried, six in each bay. The Kh-55MS is driven by a turbofan engine. The optimum distance is 3,000 km, and armed with 200 kt nuclear warheads.
The bay of weapons is also equipped with a launcher for the Kh-15P, which has the name NATO and code name AS-16 Kickback. The Kh-15P Kickback has solid rocket fuel propulsion, which provides a range of up to 200 km. The kickback could be fitted with conventional 250kg warheads or nuclear warheads. This aircraft is also capable of carrying various air bombs with a total weight of up to 40 tons.
Tupolev Tu-160 Price
The price of the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack Calculated Bomber is around US $ 70 Million. Russian President Vladimir Putin through the Ministry of Defense awarded Tupolev a contract to purchase 50 units of the most current Tu-160M2 variant. The cost of this first contract is 160 billion rubles (nearly US $ 2.8 billion), and sets the first Tu-160M2 shipment in 2023. The last bomber delivery on the first purchase, according to the contract, is scheduled for 2027.