The Russian Air Force’s strategic bomber fleet consists of a triumvirate of aircraft, including the Tupolev Tu-95MS ‘Bear’, the Tupolev Tu-22M strategic and maritime strike bomber, and the Tupolev Tu-160 ‘White Swan’, NATO reporting name ‘Blackjack
The War Zone has taken note of a recent Russian Defence Ministry photoshoot featuring Russia’s most advanced bombers being demonstrated on an airfield runway with “a fearsome-looking array” of munitions laid out in front of them.
“Until now…there have been precious few opportunities to see Russia’s strategic bombers displayed alongside their potential payloads. That has changed with the accompanying set of photos recently released by the Russian Ministry of Defence,” contributor Thomas Newdick writes, referring to the MoD photoshoot.
The photos include a Tu-160 ‘White Swan’ bomber, with 12 Kh-101/102 stealthy cruise missiles and 12 Kh-55SM strategic cruise missile laid out in front of it. The former missiles include both a nuclear and non-nuclear variant, and have a reported range of between 2,000 km to as much as 10,000 km, depending on configuration. The latter are the Kh-101/102’s predecessor, and have an estimated range of about 3,000 km. The Kh-55SM were first introduced into service in the mid-to-late 1980s, while the Kh-101/102s are thought to have begun deliveries in the early 2010s, with the non-nuclear variant used against terrorist targets in Syria.
The second photo features a Tupolev…