May 28, 2015
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
“We will buy not fewer than 50 aircraft over time, in order to recoup all the expenses needed to resume production.”
That announcement was made by the VVS Chief of Staff, Colonel-General Bondarev. He said that the decision to resume Tu-160M was already made, and that industry “confirmed its capabilities” which, in his words, “is of considerable importance.”
Bondarev did not say when exactly the production would resume.
The bombers currently in service are undergoing modernization which includes the replacement of virtually all of their radar and navigation equipment. The VVS will receive at least 10 modernized White Swans by 2020.
In Shoygy’s estimate, the Tu-160 is a “unique machine that was ahead of its time by several decades, and which still has not fully exploited its capabilities.”
It had to be done. It seems the PAK DA will not fly for a long while, and we need something right now…
On the other hand, the resumption of Tu-160 production may facilitate the PAK DA development. After all, we haven’t built such large aircraft and engines for a long time.
Then there’s the production know-how, the preparation of cadres, both of which are vital aspects of aircraft development. They’ll be able to acquire experience, develop technologies which then they’ll be able to sell, nor not to sell.. It will also create jobs for everyone, from ordinary workers to highly qualified engineers and scientists.
Long-range aviation is a heavy burden even for the US, but in their case development and production is done by corporations, while we have our defense industry which means we can do it far more cheaply. Shoygu is one of the few on Putin’s team who does everything correctly.
And the Tu-160 will suffice for a long time! And one can hardly call a modernized Tu-160, with a doubled nuclear missile load, a stop-gap measure. By 2016 the Tu-160 will receive modernized NK-32 engines, which will propel it at the top speed of 2400km/hr. It is practically a space plane, since it operates at great altitudes during combat missions. 35km is beyond the reach of any, even the most modern, fighter, and with upgraded engines it might be able to reach 40-45km.