Tupolev Tu-160M (modernization & new production)

4 Tu-160M(2 newly builded and 2 modernized) at Kazan plant:

 

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Hi-res:

(c)UAC
 

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4 Tu-160M(2 newly builded and 2 modernized) at Kazan plant:

Why, look at all those smiling happy faces surrounding El Putin...
 
I assume the two modernised ones are the named ones, and the new builds are yet to be named?
Impressive reinstatement of production of a large, complex system.
 
I have to say i don't quite get why they felt they needed more Tu-160 , supersonic swing wing bombers were never cheap just look at US B1B which is a much smaller and simpler plane, that was ultimately chosen over B1A was nearer Tu-160 size .
 
I have to say i don't quite get why they felt they needed more Tu-160 , supersonic swing wing bombers were never cheap just look at US B1B which is a much smaller and simpler plane, that was ultimately chosen over B1A was nearer Tu-160 size .
Because Tu-95 fleet is aging and they need to replace and even increase strategic aviation capabilities. Poslannik is in development, there may be problems with it that move deadline further to the right. So Tu-160, which production line was conserved is an obvious choice as additional stopgap measure. Added capability of supersonic flight is a nice bonus, as Poslannik is strictly subsonic.
 
Better of going the Tu-160 route for now than the PAK-DA stealth bomber which will be more expensive still.
 
Better of going the Tu-160 route for now than the PAK-DA stealth bomber which will be more expensive still.
I still did not understand the advantage of the PAK-DA (or B-21) over the Tu-160. It is clear that none of them will be sent directly over enemy territory with conventional bombs. Their task is to deliver rockets with a sufficiently long range to the required distance and launch them. And the Tu-160 can do it twice as fast. Or I'm missing something
 
I still did not understand the advantage of the PAK-DA (or B-21) over the Tu-160. It is clear that none of them will be sent directly over enemy territory with conventional bombs. Their task is to deliver rockets with a sufficiently long range to the required distance and launch them. And the Tu-160 can do it twice as fast. Or I'm missing something
Stealth. The same as B-21/B-2/Chinese bomber. It's no silver bullet, but it significantly reduces detection range. So you can fly closer before you're inevitably detected and you'll have greater reach using same missiles as Tu-160.
 
I still did not understand the advantage of the PAK-DA (or B-21) over the Tu-160. It is clear that none of them will be sent directly over enemy territory with conventional bombs.
B-21 literally intended for this as part of it's RFP is penetrating advanced air defences to deliver smart weapons as long range missiles are very expensive and not good with mobile targets. Supersonic dash is useless in 21 century and just very expensive option left from 70s.
 
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supersonic swing wing bombers were never cheap just look at US B1B which is a much smaller and simpler plane, that was ultimately chosen over B1A was nearer Tu-160 size .

B-1A and B-1B are basically the same size, give or take a couple of feet, which is basically down to not needing quite as much streamlining at the nose and tail. The B-1B is actually a good bit heavier than the B-1A as well.
 
Speed was everything back in the 1960s 1970s when the push for Mach 3 flight resulted in the massive XB-70 then things calmed down with the Mach 2 B-1A and then the B-1B which had requirements for reduced RCS over outright speed.
 
Putin flew on a Tu-160M. You can see blurred elements of dashboard:

View: https://youtu.be/auSkev8hnw0

p.s.: If I counted everything correctly, then there are 7 Tu-160M in total:

2 unnamed
Valentin Blyznyuk
Ilya Murometc
Aleksandr Molodchiy
Igor Sikorsky
Valentina Tereshkova
 

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About manufacturing including electron-beam welding machine:

View: https://youtu.be/RICXrVGMhRQ

 
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Like the B-1 it is quite an amazing looking aircraft. I'll miss seeing the B-1 when it is retired and will be kind of jealous of the Russians still getting to fly their equivalent.

I know the Tu-160 can do a bit over M2.0 at altitude but is it known what can it manage down on the deck (sea level) with engines at full afterburner?
 
I will miss the B-1B when it is finally retired and will be equally jealous of the VKS who get to fly the Tu-160. Further I had always thought that the Tu-160 could only do high altitude/hi Mach runs, unless somebody else knows differently.
 
I will miss the B-1B when it is finally retired and will be equally jealous of the VKS who get to fly the Tu-160. Further I had always thought that the Tu-160 could only do high altitude/hi Mach runs, unless somebody else knows differently.
I had assumed it was capable of low-level penetration missions hauling some nuclear weapons like the B-1 but I'm not sure actually.
 
I still did not understand the advantage of the PAK-DA (or B-21) over the Tu-160. It is clear that none of them will be sent directly over enemy territory with conventional bombs. Their task is to deliver rockets with a sufficiently long range to the required distance and launch them. And the Tu-160 can do it twice as fast. Or I'm missing something
Well, for B-21 penetration is certainly the goal.
 
But what about the stealth capabilities of the B-21? I recently read an article that the current top stealth aircraft F-22 and F-35 are optimized for frequencies of 9-10 GHz or already less for 6-18 GHz. And all radars working in the V/UHV band (0.03-3 GHz) such as SPECTRA on the Rafale, are able to detect these aircraft without problems. These restrictions also apply to B-2 or B-21?
 
But what about the stealth capabilities of the B-21? I recently read an article that the current top stealth aircraft F-22 and F-35 are optimized for frequencies of 9-10 GHz or already less for 6-18 GHz. And all radars working in the V/UHV band (0.03-3 GHz) such as SPECTRA on the Rafale, are able to detect these aircraft without problems. These restrictions also apply to B-2 or B-21?
No, large bombers can achieve (and aim for) wideband, all-aspect stealth.
 
The TU-160 is certainly a very aesthetically pleasing aircraft and I wonder how much that informs people’s view of it?
The B-1 has much better curves/area ruling.


Regarding bomb-bays for supersonic drops...

Was it PLUTO / SLAM that would slide them out of tail ?? Perhaps with a stabilising drogue ?? IIRC, was the only way to prevent turbulence tumbling everything apart, or potentially tossing even a rotating bay's 'drop' back against fuselage ??

( I'm reminded of the fatal woes a supersonic recon drone encountered when launched supersonic... )
No, the out-the-tail bomb bay was the A-5 Vigiliante.

Pluto/SLAM was kicking the submunitions out at an upward angle to kill their forward velocity and give the missile time to get out of the blast radius.
 
Speaking of this topic. How about the F-35's infrared engine footprint. That engine has the performance of an aircraft carrier's reactor, and at least it must radiate strongly towards the rear. Are today's infrared sensors able to detect this source and at what distance?
 
Of course supersonic dash isnt useless. This is wrong on many levels. It may not fit into YOUR perceptions of what is valuable. Not all modern military doctrine is based upon our military doctrine.
 
Of course supersonic dash isnt useless. This is wrong on many levels. It may not fit into YOUR perceptions of what is valuable. Not all modern military doctrine is based upon our military doctrine.
Crud, even the B-1s were doing max speed sprints across Afghanistan when someone radioed for air support. Lots of times when a Bone was the closer-in-time aircraft because it could do Mach 1.2 or a squidge more and whatever else was up in the air couldn't.
 
The commander of the Russian aviation in the nineties, Peter Deinekin, flew Tu-160 and B-1B. Flying at low altitude on an American plane made a very good impression on him. The Tu-160 is much heavier and maneuvers less aggressively, this is obvious
By the way, for those who believe in reincarnation. The Tu-160 is the XB-70, and the Su-57 is the F-14 ;)
 
Speaking of this topic. How about the F-35's infrared engine footprint. That engine has the performance of an aircraft carrier's reactor, and at least it must radiate strongly towards the rear. Are today's infrared sensors able to detect this source and at what distance?

Not invisible but smaller than most aircraft bar the B-2 with its ability to temporarily store it, on the F-35 they counter it by taking a clean cold air intake to the APU, dumping the aircrafts excess internal heat into it through a heat exchanger then mixing it with the aircrafts exhaust to dampen that signature as well. Theres also a skin coating that scatters infrared light of different wavelengths into different directions to minimise the volume of infrared being emitted in any one direction (for example due to leading edge heating).
 
Speaking of this topic. How about the F-35's infrared engine footprint. That engine has the performance of an aircraft carrier's reactor, and at least it must radiate strongly towards the rear. Are today's infrared sensors able to detect this source and at what distance?
I'm hearing stories of detecting planes on thermal by their skin heat at 80km in clear air.

I suspect that's supersonic planes, since aircraft at 35,000 tend to cold soak to the external air temperatures at ~500 knots.
 
I'm hearing stories of detecting planes on thermal by their skin heat at 80km in clear air.

I suspect that's supersonic planes, since aircraft at 35,000 tend to cold soak to the external air temperatures at ~500 knots.
A subsonic plane is still visible from extended ranges against sky even w/o a halo in far infrared(heated edges&skin alone).
There are ways to limit it (and due to the atmosphere it isn't always reliable), but ultimately this is why devices like Pirate or Legion are a thing.
 
Supersonic dash is useless in 21 century and just very expensive option left from 70s.
From the beginning, the Tu-160 was not a bomber but a carrier of missiles with thousands of km range, supersonic speed being a tool for lowest deployment and turnaround times, and not for penetration of the enemy airspace. I see no reason to think this ability is not relevant today, and certainly the operational concepts of B-21 and Tu-160 have little to do with each other.
 
It's not relevant today hence PAK DA has appeared and Bears stay aloft. AMSA and B-1 were not designed for supersonic dashes over Afghanistan to drop bombs on Toyota convoys. And yes, Soviet/Russian and NATO concepts were/are very different.
 
It's not relevant today hence PAK DA has appeared and Bears stay aloft. AMSA and B-1 were not designed for supersonic dashes over Afghanistan to drop bombs on Toyota convoys. And yes, Soviet/Russian and NATO concepts were/are very different.
Survivability of the own force and accelerated attrition of the enemy in case of nuclear confrontation is indeed as relevant today as it was in the past. The fact that VKS is not only modernizing the fleet of Tu-160 but announced the production of new units in parallel with the expected introduction of PAK-DA in service points precisely in that direction. The cost and efforts of both the airframe and the project to put it back in production do not indicate a stop-gap measure, but the struggle to maintain and increase a capability considered critical, at least to me. But what do I know...
 
Survivability of the own force and accelerated attrition of the enemy in case of nuclear confrontation is indeed as relevant today as it was in the past. The fact that VKS is not only modernizing the fleet of Tu-160 but announced the production of new units in parallel with the expected introduction of PAK-DA in service points precisely in that direction. The cost and efforts of both the airframe and the project to put it back in production do not indicate a stop-gap measure, but the struggle to maintain and increase a capability considered critical, at least to me. But what do I know...
It makes sense to me to have two different aircraft in service as your strategic bombers. Even the US is doing that with B-52s and B-21s. One type is the stand off cruise missile carrier (and permissive environment bomber), the other is one that can penetrate an A2AD bubble.

Stealthy aircraft are expensive, so you will struggle to afford enough to carry that leg of your deterrent. The US would need over 400 B-21s to replace all the bombers in service, for example. Based on capacity.
 

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