June 16, Command of aerospace defense of North America released footage captured the moment of intercepting Russian Tu-95 bomber American fighter F-22 off the coast of Alaska. Russian strategic bomber, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, flew up to Alaska as part of the mission, designed to prove the capability of applying long-range strike.
Bomber Tu-95 was created in 50-ies of the last century and can rightly be called “seasoned warrior”, and it intercepts the F-22 was adopted at the beginning of the XXI century. The fact that the Tu-95 is still actively involved in nuclear deterrence, said that Russian nuclear forces, airborne is dominated by the “veterans.”
Among the nuclear forces of land, sea and air-based latest has been given little attention, because of what they can not compete with the other two. When obtaining a new strategic bombers has been postponed indefinitely, we have to “squeeze” the full potential of the “old soldiers”, thereby limiting the development of nuclear deterrence.
Nuclear airborne forces run by “veterans”
Initially for dropping nuclear weapons were used by the bombers, but after that learned to use ballistic missiles, are better able to penetrate to the target, they become the main way of casting nuclear weapons, aircraft dropping nuclear bombs, has faded into the background. Nuclear forces, airborne has not been retired completely due to the fact that agility and adaptability to combat the bombers is much higher than that of Intercontinental land-based missiles and ballistic missile submarines, plus they are able to strike a conventional strike. Therefore, nuclear power, airborne still remain part of the nuclear forces of certain powers.
In March in the journal “Bulletin of the atomic scientists” (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) has been published information according to which Russian nuclear forces, airborne have at their disposal 68 strategic bombers, including the 42 series aircraft Tu-95 and 16 Tu-160, with 50 bombers capable of nuclear strike.
Planes series Tu-95 was put into service in 1956. The earliest models have been scrapped, but the new aircraft — the Tu-95MS is a platform to launch cruise missiles, long-range, can carry 6-10 of cruise missiles X-55, a nuclear warhead with a capacity of 250 kilotons, and the maximum range of the missile is 2,500 kilometers. Due to the small number of Tu-160, the majority of tasks on remote patrols perform Tu-95MS. Tu-95МСМ is the latest upgraded model of the Tu-95, and equipped with the latest electronic equipment and screws and have the ability to carry cruise missiles X-101 with a conventional warhead and the Kh-102 nuclear warheads. Both missiles have stealth characteristics, are able to penetrate to the target better than the X-55, their range is also increased and may exceed 3 thousand kilometers.
The Tu-160 is much newer than the obsolete Tu-95. Its design involves changing geometry of the wing, he is able to fly at supersonic speed, its maximum takeoff weight is 285 tons, maximum range of flight — 15 thousand kilometers, combat radius of 7300 miles, bomb load — 40 tons, the drum launchers in the cargo compartment is 12 X-55 missiles or cruise missiles Kh-101/102.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has a positive approach to the world’s largest bomber Tu-160 and gives it a great value. In 2005, the exercise he ran the Tu-160 and fired off two cruise missiles. In January 2018, Putin visited Kazan aviation plant. S. P. Gorbunova and witnessed the first flight of the strategic bomber Tu-160M2. According to the President of Russia, the strategic bomber Tu-160M is the main force in the system of a nuclear strike.
Tu-160M2 — this is the newest improved model of the Tu-160. Thanks to the engine upgrade, electronic equipment and airborne weapons has increased its combat radius, the level of protection and impact force, both nuclear and conventional. Tu-160M2 plan to put into mass production in 2023. Previously Deputy defense Minister Yuri Borisov told the media that in the future videoconferencing will adopt 3-4 of these aircraft every year, it is planned to create 50 Tu-160M2.
If the production plan of the Tu-160M2 will move successfully, over time, these bombers will be able to replace Tu-95MS and act together with the bomber, the PAK DA in the strengthened complex of nuclear deterrence.
The advancement of the Tu-160 will help Russia to demonstrate its strength abroad. In October 2019 Ministry of defence announced that two strategic bombers Tu-160 landed at air force base Waterkloof in South Africa. Then the bomber appeared first on the African continent. In December 2018, the Tu-160 made another long flight, has attracted attention from abroad. Bomber traveled over 10 thousand kilometers and landed in Venezuela.
The “issue price” or the plight of a new bomber
The production of new Tu-160M2 will help nuclear airborne forces to solve the problem of the obsolescence of aircraft models, but the Tu-160M2 was constructed in the 70-ies of the last century, is not invisible and is unable to compete with the new American b-21. Therefore, in order to repulse the US, Russia has accelerated the development of the strategic bomber of the new generation PAK DA.
May 27, news Agency TASS reported that Russia has started the creation of the first prototype strategic bomber of the new generation PAK DA, final Assembly should be completed in 2021. The PAK DA is the strategic stealth bomber designed by the scheme “flying wing”, development of which is underway in Russia. It is believed that in the future the aircraft, also known as “Article 80”, will replace the Tu-160 and Tu-95, the armament at the present time. Testing the new bomber is expected to start in 2023, and 2027 to put it into production.
In 2007, the Russian air force has officially articulated technical requirements for long-range bombers and has determined that the lead development will be the design Bureau “Tupolev”.
In accordance with the requirements of the Russian Armed forces, first PAK DA will have stealth characteristics. This will be reduced visibility in the radar and infrared detection. This effect is achieved thanks to the aerodynamic configuration and materials. To reduce radar reflective surface of the fuselage surface of the aircraft is made of composite materials that reflect radio signals, and radar absorbing coatings. Currently, stealth technology include configuration, materials, electronic interference and imitation. Design the exterior design is the most direct and effective way to make an aircraft invisible to radar and weapons. Stealth characteristics are designed to attenuate reflected from the object radiation, in other words, changing the external appearance contributes to the refraction or reflection of light and reduce the effective area of the object. Bomber, the PAK DA, is designed according to the scheme “flying wing”, has an internal weapons Bay and air intake is at the top of the fuselage, not allowing the ground-based radar to reflect from his signal. Moreover, the radar signal is quenched non-metallic composites and absorptive coating. Y-2 effective reflecting surface, the radar wave is only 0.1 square meters. When you create PAK DA is unlikely to achieve such performance, however, the reflecting surface of a new bomber will be much smaller than the Tu-160, it will also significantly increase the possibility of penetration to the target.
Invisibility to infrared rays is in second place after the invisibility to radar. Infrared equipment provides detection and tracking of targets by determining the difference in temperature between the object and the environment. In other words, the invisibility to infrared rays includes shielding, the coating with low emissivity, heat containment, and reducing or changing the characteristics of the object under infrared radiation in order to impede detection. Infrared radiation of aircraft usually includes its own and reflected. In the case of the bomber, the infrared rays can come from heating during the flight of the shell plating of the jet exhaust and the engine nozzle to the same plane of the reflected radiation from the vertical rasseivayushchei sunlight, Earth, air and celestial bodies. However, the construction of aircraft mainly ignored own radiation of the aircraft, and all reflected, for example, from celestial bodies, is ignored.
Secondly, the PAK DA will have the possibility of applying long strokes. Despite the fact that the new bomber has a wonderful ability to penetrate to the target, it is not necessary to risk and to fly up close, because it is equipped with cruise missiles long range. Most pilots of the bomber will assess the possibility of a missile launch at a distance of several thousand kilometers from the target at the initial stage of a nuclear or conventional war. When superiority in terms of conventional war, due to the optimal bomb load of the plane, you can strike at a target with little cost. Development of a system for transportation of ammunition on the bombers, allowed PAK to carry advanced cruise missiles Kh-101/102, the range of which exceeds 4 thousand kilometers, and also to hang hypersonic missiles X-47 “Dagger” and X-32 “Zircon” (as in the text. Actually 3M22 “Zircon” — approx. ed.) to perform anti-ship operations. Of non-nuclear weapons, the bomber is expected to be equipped with missiles, satellite-guided and unguided bombs.
Third, the new bomber will be able to carry out combat missions independently. Currently the battlefield is changing before our eyes. During firing at a target, the bombers are highly dependent on the observation and study of the field of the information coming out in real time, and advance planning of the operation based on the data about the target obtained by other means. In past wars the American b-52 bombers and b-2 had the support of the whole information network of reconnaissance satellites, reconnaissance aircraft and AEW. For independent combat missions, the bomber needs to possess the ability of data collection and tracking, as well as to be equipped with radar with active phased array search and reconnaissance electronic equipment and opto-electronic equipment.
Currently the main problem facing the bomber, the PAK DA, is not technical but financial. After the events in Crimea, the Russian economic development slowed down, in addition, a large part of the military budget is spent on modernization of nuclear forces and conventional weapons is not so much. As an example we can consider the su-57, designed for the conquest of the air. Its development is barely moving, the plane has still not been officially adopted, and by 2028 it will be bought just more than 70 aircraft of this model. Given the cost of building the b-2, the PAK DA was much more expensive su-57, and this puts into question the successful completion of its development. The future of Russian nuclear forces, airborne will still be committed to “patch up” the Tu-95 and Tu-160 and Tu-22M3M, which even perfected the process of refueling, will share between them responsibility.