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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tu-95 BEAR (TUPOLEV) Status

Russia, Ukraine and India (Bear F) used the Bear.

When the START-1 treaty was signed in 1991, 147 bombers and missile carriers still served in the Russian forces: 84 TU-MS and 63 TU-95K-22, TU-95K and TU-95M. An additional 11 TU-95U were used for training.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, one unit of Bear aircraft remained in Ukraine, with twenty three TU-95MS, one TU-95K and one TU-95M aircraft. These aircraft were passed to Ukraine, and were subject to decommissioning under the provisions of the START-1 treaty. A total of 11 strategic bombers and 600 air-launched missiles exchanged by Ukraine to Russia in payment for the gas debt were transferred in mid-February 2000. Two Tu-160 bombers flew from Priluki in the Ukrainian Chernigov region for the Russian air base in Engels. The missiles were sent to Russia by railroad. Three Tu-95MS bombers and six Tu-160 airplanes had already arrived at Engels since October 1999 in fulfillment of the intergovernmental agreements. Before being moved to Russia, 19 Tu-160 airplanes were stationed at the Priluki airfield and 21 Tu-95MS were located in Uzin.

At the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union, thirteen TU-95MS-16 and twenty seven TU- 95MS-6 were based in Kazakhstan. Subsequently, all Bear aircraft located in Kazakhstan were transferred to Russia.

Russian Tu-95 and TU-95MS aircraft are now deployed at two air bases. A total of nineteen TU-95MS16 and two TU-MS6, operating in the 121st heavy bomber air regiment, which forms part of the 22nd Air Division that is headquarteed in Engels Air Base in the Moscow region. At the Ukrainka airbase (73th Heavy Bomber Air Division) at Svobodny, there are 16 TU-95MS16 and 26 TU-95MS6 bombers that were redeployed from the Dolon airbase at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan. The TU-95K-22 bombers are subject to decommissioning. In early 1997 five TU-95K-22 were decommissioned and re-equipped in Zngyelse, and five at the Ryazan training center. Eight TU-95 are located at the flight-test institute in at Zhukovskiy [Ramenskoye], and one TU-95K aircraft serves as a static display in Ryazan.

The TU-95MS, constructed in the middle and early 1990s, will be operational until 2010 and 2015. Russia is currently working on a new air-to-surface missile to replace the existing Kh-55.

In late June 1999, two TU-95 Bear bombers flew within striking distance of the United States as part of Moscow's largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War. The bombers were intercepted by four US F-15 fighters and a P-3 patrol plane near Iceland and escorted in a clockwise flight around the island. The Bears, and two Blackjacks, were from the Donbass Red Banner 22nd heavy bomber division based at Engels Air Base east of Moscow. They initially flew across the central Norwegian Sea. When they got about halfway across, the Blackjacks split off from the Bears and flew along the Norwegian coastline.

On 16 September 1999, a pair of Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were detected by the US Air Force headed toward the Alaska coast. U.S. fighter jets were sent to intercept the aircraft which had been caught on radar. Air Force officials said both bombers turned before crossing into US airspace and about 90 miles from the approaching fighters. The Soviet Union regularly tested U.S. air defenses by flying toward Alaska during the Cold War, but this was the first time the Air Force had documented such a test as happening since March 1993.

Ten Tu-142s entered Indian service in April 1988 for long-range surface surveillance and anti-submarine warfare. According to the 'Times of India,' on 05 February 2006, India held negotiations with Russia and Israel to procure 6 to 8 more Tu-142 aircraft. However these negotiations were called off in 2003. It was likely that the aircraft that would have been procured, would have been refurbished ex-VVS storage stocks. India is making substantial purchases of the Novator 3M-54 Alfa missile to equip Kilo class submarines and its new frigates. It is believed that an air-launched variant will be purchased to arm the Tu-142s currently in service and the six to eight additional aircraft being sought by the Navy. If an air-launched version of the Alfa is procured, it is anticipated that India's Tu-22M3s will eventually be equipped to fire them.

Tu-95MS bombers began arriving in the Air Force in 1982-1983-ies. Tu-95MS their external contours are very similar to the first Tu-95 of the mid-1950s. And it may give the impression that this machine is hopelessly outdated. As of 2012 the avionics of all the Air Force Tu-95MS strategic bombers will be fully modernized by 2020. The planes constitute the backbone of the Russian strategic aviation, and are equiped with new weapons. The modernization of the Tu-95MS is conducted by the St. Petersburg Scientific-Technical Center Zaslon ["Barrier"] under the leadership of JSC "Tupolev". The overall strategic goal of modernization is to bring the service life to 40-45 years from the date of manufacture. However, according to "Tupolev" this is not the limit - the Tu-95 can be used successfully to the the 2040s.

Russia’s Long Range Aviation will bring the number of the Tu-95 up to 43 in 2015, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force Colonel General Viktor Bondarev said on 23 December 2014.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 12:13:08 ZULU