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Russia To Receive Two Modernized Strategic Bombers In 2007

The Tu-160 bomber. Lieutenant-General Igor Khvorov reiterated that Russian strategic bombers never carry nuclear weapons when on combat duty. "At present, strategic bombers are deployed on the ground while on combat duty, but are capable of responding to orders immediately and carry out combat tasks anywhere in the world."
by Staff Writers
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Mar 06, 2007
Russia will commission two modernized Tu-160 bombers in 2007, the Strategic Air Force commander said Monday. Russia is currently carrying out an ambitious program to upgrade and modernize its strategic Air Force assets. The upgraded fleet will include both new and modernized Tu-160 Blackjack, Tu-22 Blinder and Tu-95 Bear bombers. "We are modernizing the fleet of Tu-160 bombers...and are planning to receive two [modernized] aircraft by the end of this year," Lieutenant-General Igor Khvorov said.

He added that one of the previously commissioned bombers will conduct test bombing runs in spring 2007.

According to various sources, 16 Tu-160 bombers are currently in service with the Russian Air Force and they will continue to be the mainstay of Russia's strategic air assets.

The Tu-160 has a strong resemblance to the U.S. B-1B Lancer, although it is larger and faster, and is powered by four afterburning turbofan engines, allowing supersonic speeds of over Mach 2.

It has a flight range of 12,300 kilometers (7,640 miles) and can carry up to 40,000 kilograms (88,200 pounds) of weaponry, including nuclear missiles.

Khvorov also said that Russia was maintaining its global leadership in developing new missile systems, especially cruise missiles.

He said Russia's strategic bombers will conduct about 10 cruise missile test launches this year, including during the joint CSTO-SCO maneuvers named Peaceful Mission Rubezh-2007 which will be held in the Russia's Volga-Urals area and will involve ground and air units from all member countries.

However, the general reiterated that Russian strategic bombers never carry nuclear weapons when on combat duty.

"At present, strategic bombers are deployed on the ground while on combat duty, but are capable of responding to orders immediately and carry out combat tasks anywhere in the world," Khvorov said.

Source: RIA Novosti

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