Ukrainian tu-160s and their sale to Russia

phrenzy

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HI all,

Another question, hopefully others find this interesting enough that it's worthy of a new thread.

I was reading the wiki article on the tu-160 today and came across the curious fact that Ukraine had come into possession of 19 tu-160s when they decided that anything within its borders belonged to them (no political judgement there). After chopping a couple up as part of a strategic arms limitation treaty they ended up selling some to Russia:

In April 1999, immediately after NATO began its air attacks against Serbia, Russia resumed talks with Ukraine about the strategic bombers. This time they proposed buying back eight Tu-160s and three Tu-95MS models manufactured in 1991 (those in the best technical condition), as well as 575 Kh-55MS missiles. An agreement was finally reached and a contract valued at $285 million was signed. That figure was to be deducted from Ukraine's debt for natural gas.

So a couple of questions:

1: I know this was from a time when Russia and Ukraine were still very friendly and when $285m was a very large amount of money in eastern Europe but this seems like a mad bargain, does anyone know roughly what the price/cost of the kh-55ms is/was? Basically, I'm wondering what the price payed for the bombers was with the cruise missiles deducted.

2: does Ukraine retain any white swans or were the 11 not sent to Russia all destroyed? Obviously since Russia is struggling to keep theirs in the air any remainders wouldn't be be
of great use to Ukraine as combat aircraft but they would be useful bargaining chips, either to give or sell to Russia or to threaten to hand over to the US/NATO/other European country.

3: are there any other similar stories of high end military gear getting"left behind" when the iron curtain fell? I know the issue of nuclear weapons was briefly sticky but that aside it must have been on for young and old in terms of MI units trying to get the latest and greatest former Soviet planes/tanks/radars etc. since do much of even the highest tier technology seems to have been left outside of Russia.
 

kaiserbill

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To answer question 2.
PRYLUKY, Ukraine — Ukraine broke up the last of its 19 Tupolev 160 strategic bombers and a Tu-22M Backfire bomber Friday, fulfilling part of a disarmament deal with the United States by destroying planes capable of carrying nuclear bombs.

Huge scissors operated by an excavator cut the bombers' noses along the lines specified by Ukrainian and U.S. experts so that the bombers could never be reconstructed.

The cutting, conducted at an airbase near Pryluky, 130 kilometers east of the capital, Kiev, by the Raytheon Technical Services Co., went on for about 25 minutes.

Army engineers then cut the bomber into pieces with chainsaws.

Only a few reporters were admitted to the closely guarded and brief ceremony, attended by a military delegation from the United States, which helped fund the destruction.

As the official dismantling ceremony began, the Tu-160 stood with its tail already cut off and its hull gutted at Pryluky.


.....snip.....


By Friday, 10 Tu-160 and 20 Tu-95 Ukrainian bombers had been eliminated, and one Tu-160 and two Tu-95 aircraft were turned into static displays or converted for laboratory use. Four remaining Tu-95s are to be dismantled by May, and all work under the disarmament program is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 4.

Nonferrous metals from the dismantled bombers have been sold to fund social programs for military officers and their families, and to improve military units participating in the disarmament program, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said. (Reuters, AP)

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/ukraine-scraps-last-tu-160-bombers/255541.html

It appears only one Ukrainian Tu-160 may have survived at the time. Whether it still survives is questionable.
Having the US involved in the scrapping means they definitely had a look at the aircraft, but it is worth bearing in mind that these aircraft were barely operational, and although I stand under correction here, I think that most of the early Tu-160's weren't even identical.
 

kaiserbill

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sferrin

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phrenzy said:
HI all,

Another question, hopefully others find this interesting enough that it's worthy of a new thread.

I was reading the wiki article on the tu-160 today and came across the curious fact that Ukraine had come into possession of 19 tu-160s when they decided that anything within its borders belonged to them (no political judgement there). After chopping a couple up as part of a strategic arms limitation treaty they ended up selling some to Russia:

In April 1999, immediately after NATO began its air attacks against Serbia, Russia resumed talks with Ukraine about the strategic bombers. This time they proposed buying back eight Tu-160s and three Tu-95MS models manufactured in 1991 (those in the best technical condition), as well as 575 Kh-55MS missiles. An agreement was finally reached and a contract valued at $285 million was signed. That figure was to be deducted from Ukraine's debt for natural gas.

So a couple of questions:

1: I know this was from a time when Russia and Ukraine were still very friendly and when $285m was a very large amount of money in eastern Europe but this seems like a mad bargain, does anyone know roughly what the price/cost of the kh-55ms is/was? Basically, I'm wondering what the price payed for the bombers was with the cruise missiles deducted.

2: does Ukraine retain any white swans or were the 11 not sent to Russia all destroyed? Obviously since Russia is struggling to keep theirs in the air any remainders wouldn't be be
of great use to Ukraine as combat aircraft but they would be useful bargaining chips, either to give or sell to Russia or to threaten to hand over to the US/NATO/other European country.

3: are there any other similar stories of high end military gear getting"left behind" when the iron curtain fell? I know the issue of nuclear weapons was briefly sticky but that aside it must have been on for young and old in terms of MI units trying to get the latest and greatest former Soviet planes/tanks/radars etc. since do much of even the highest tier technology seems to have been left outside of Russia.

Let's not forget that "casino" they sold China for a measely $20 million. (To this day that's still one of the biggest dropped balls on the part of our intelligence services IMO. At $100 million it would have still been a bargain for the US even if we just scrapped the thing.)
 

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