B-52 vs. Tu-95: Cold War nuclear titans that keep flying

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MOSCOW – The US B-52 and Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers came into service in the 1950s, but to this day remain an essential part of Russia and the US nuclear potential.

These aircraft were created as a means of transport for nuclear weapons , since the technological level of that time did not allow the development of high-range, high-precision ballistic missiles.

Since then, the missiles have become the centerpiece of nuclear strategy, but the flights of these aircraft near the borders of both countries continue to cause media turmoil.

So similar and so different

Both bombers were developed with the same goal – to transport nuclear bombs to enemy territory. The first to be born was the B-52, whose development was attended by engineers from Nazi Germany . The main requirement was the ability to reach any point in the Soviet Union.

Faced with this threat, Josef Stalin ordered the development of a similar plane to counteract the B-52. Obviously, the mission of the Soviet alternative was the same: to be able to reach anywhere on enemy territory. This is how the Russian bomber Tu-95 was born.

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The two aircraft took off for the first time in 1952, but the first to go into service was the B-52 in 1955, a year before the Soviet Union’s strategic bomber. The similarities do not end here. Thus, these bombers have practically identical dimensions.

Over time, both planes were modernized . Currently the Tu-95 has the active electronic scanning radar Novella-NV1.021 which allows you to view the objectives at a distance of 90 kilometers if flying and 320 kilometers for marine targets. In addition, it can simultaneously track up to 50 objectives.

The B-52 has also been modernized and is now equipped with the AN / AAQ-6 optical-electronic observation system, GPS navigation and a laser gyroscope-based SPN / GEANS inertial navigation system.

Precision against power

The US bomber carries a greater combat load, 31.5 tons against 21 tons of the Tu-95. However, the permissible dispersion radius when launching unguided bombs is 80 meters for the B-52, while in the case of the Soviet aircraft it is only five meters.

Thus, the two strategic bombers are very similar and at the same time different. Each has certain advantages and disadvantages , but none has absolute superiority. Interestingly enough, for over half a century these two planes have been in service for their countries, and are expected to continue flying until the 2040s.

This means that they are likely to reach an entire century of flight, which would make them the longest-lived military aircraft in history.

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