Russia’s Putin Flies On Board Strategic Bomber, Cruise Missiles Launched
MosNews | August 17, 2005
Russian president Vladimir Putin took a flight on Tuesday on board a Tu-160 strategic bomber to visit the site of joint military exercises of strategic Air Force units and the Northern Fleet.
Two bombers, Pavel Taran with the Russian leader aboard, and Alexander Molodchy, have already launched two cruise missiles each. All the missiles have hit targets at the Pemboi training ground near the North Russian city of Vorkuta, RIA-Novosti news agency quoted the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov as saying.
The bombers have committed a maneuver flying at a minimum height of 200 meters at the speed of 900 kilometers per hour.
The exercises are targeted at creation of an long-range air group at a north-western strategic direction that would be able to commit a military mission.
The Tu-160 Blackjack is a multi-purpose strategic bomber designed to destroy land- and sea-based targets using strategic cruise missiles, short-range guided missiles, nuclear and conventional bombs while flying at subsonic speeds at low and medium altitudes and at speeds over Mach 1 at high altitudes. The aircraft has variable geometry wings (from 20 degrees up to 65 degrees) that allow high maneuverability at supersonic and subsonic speeds, the agency reported. The aircraft’s wingspan of 54 meters is half the size of a football field.
The Tu-160 is similar in overall configuration to the U.S. B-1 strategic bomber, but has a heavier take-off weight and payload. The aircraft is equipped with a retractable in-flight refueling probe. A regular crew comprises two pilots, a navigator/bombardier and an electronic systems operator.
The Tu-160 is equipped with a combined navigation-and-weapon aiming system, which includes radar for detecting targets on the ground and sea at long distances, an optical-electronic bombsight, an automatic terrain-following system, as well as active and passive radio-electronic warfare systems. The total number of on-board CPUs exceeds 100. The navigator’s workstation alone comprises eight computers. The bomber’s total combat payload is 40,000 kilograms.
Earlier in the day, Putin has visited the international aerospace show MAKS-2005 that had opened near Moscow. The show is to be attended by guests and specialists from 40 countries, who will inspect 654 exhibits and around 200 aircraft and spacecraft. Russia is going to present the life-size model of the brand-new Clipper shuttle and the world’s first commercial tourist project on circling the moon.