BEHOLD: Russia's 5 Most Powerful Military Aircraft

August 11, 2019 Topic: Security Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaMilitaryTechnologyWorldAircraft

BEHOLD: Russia's 5 Most Powerful Military Aircraft

Best of the best? You make the call. 

For exactly this purpose, the Russian Federation recently announced it will resume production of the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers (NATO reporting name “Blackjack”).

The Tu-160 is incredibly fast for a strategic bomber, achieving a maximum speed of 2,220 km/hour. This far outpaces the American strategic bombers like the B1-B Lancer (1,448 km/hour) and the B-52 (1,000 km/hour). The Blackjack boasts an impressive 7,300 km combat radius and made its first transatlantic flight from Murmansk to Venezuela in 2008. The Tu-160 is equipped to carry nuclear and conventional weapons. The turbofan-propelled Kh-55MS missile can be launched from the Tu-160 carrying a 200 kt nuclear warhead with an incredible range of 3,000 km.

As of 2015, Russia is the only country to fly Tupolev’s Blackjack. Russia is expected to build fifty additional Tu-160s under the new plans. The newly built strategic bombers will be upgraded models, dubbed the Tu-160M2. Production is expected to commence after 2023. Moscow intends to simultaneously initiate production of the PAK DA stealth bomber, also a Tupolev design.

Evan Gottesman is a former editorial assistant at The National Interest.