The Tu-95 is the oldest and the most honored aircraft of the Russian Air Force. It is a strategic bomber, which still makes the bulk of the long-range aviation. Unlike its predecessors, the modernized Tu-95MS has a new wing with a higher speed profile. A new stabilizer has been installed, now it can automatically, depending on the centering change associated with fuel production, change the installation angle. The onboard radio-electronic equipment (avionics) has been completely replaced. The latter includes two onboard computers, an onboard electronic defense complex Meteor-NM, etc. The onboard electronic warfare systems are being modernized. The main changes concern strike weapons. Nicknamed a ‘Bear’ in the West, it is rightfully considered one of the symbols of the Cold War. Tu-95?? strategic missile carrier (NATO codification: Bear) was developed as a carrier of long-range strategic air-launched cruise missiles. The aircraft is a modified version of Tu-95. It is the world’s fastest production turboprop missile carrier aircraft; one of the components of the nuclear triad. Tu-95?? was put into mass production in 1981 as a modification of Tu-95 strategic bomber, which had been in operational service with the Russian Air Force since 1957.
In the framework of the modernization it is planned to update a few dozen strategic bombers, while the rest will be written off. Modernization will extend the service life of the aircraft until 2025, at the same time, experts say that the machine will last until 2030-2040. Currently, the air force of Russia is 32 strategic bomber Tu-95MS bombers, and about 60 aircraft in storage.
In 1968-1972 years the OJSC Aviation Plant "Aviacor" in Samara produced antisubmarine aircraft Tu-142. In total, the plant produced 18, Tu-142, including the first three number 4200, 4201, 4202. In 1973, MAP decided to transfer production of the Tu-142 to the factory number 86 in the city of Taganrog. At the end of 1970 on the basis of long-range anti-aircraft Tu-142M was a new strategic bomber Tu-95MS, which became the basis of long-range aviation of the Armed Forces of the USSR. In 1981, in parallel with the release of passenger Tu-154, the plant began mass production of the aircraft. In the early 1990s, it has been fully formed four regiments of strategic bombers as part of the 37th VA (CH). Serial production of Tu-95MS was completed in 1992 (a total of 90 aircraft were produced). Testing of aircraft, manufactured and repaired the plant, since 1941 and to this day are made at the airport Bezymyanka.
Tu-95 aircraft of various modifications were in operational service until the early 1990s; they underwent quite a number of major modification and modernization works for engines, weapon structure and equipment. In the 1970s-1980s, ?u-95?-22 missile carriers carrying ?-22? missiles were created on the basis of mass-produced ?u-95??. In the late 1960s, in-depth modernization of Tu-95RD resulted in Tu-142 long-range antisubmarine aircraft; later on, based on its Tu-142M modification, Tu-95MC strategic missile carrier aircraft carrying long-range cruise missiles was created.
In the early 1970s, at the Raduga Design Bureau, under the leadership of General Designer I.S. Seleznev, work began on the creation of small-sized strategic aviation cruise missiles Kh-55. A modernized version of the Tu-142M aircraft, designated Tu-142MS, was proposed as a carrier of the new weapon (TsAGI scientists made a significant contribution to the formation of the concept of this complex). Initially, the Tu-142MS was considered as an alternative to the more complex and expensive multi-mode Tu-160 bomber, also equipped with a CD. In the future, it was decided to continue working on the programs in parallel.
Initially, it was supposed to equip the aircraft with two cargo compartments, each of which was supposed to accommodate six CDs on multi-position drum launchers. However, difficulties in ensuring an acceptable alignment, as well as a large amount of improvements, forced the designers to limit themselves to one cargo compartment for six missiles. The bomber also received improved, more economical NK-12MP engines with a new drive for a more powerful alternator. Conversion of the production Tu-142M aircraft into the Tu-95M-55 version, intended for testing new missile launchers, began in July 1977 and was completed in July 1978. On July 31, the upgraded aircraft made its maiden flight. Later, it was actively used for testing the RC. In 1978 g. at MMZ IOpytK, they began to re-equip another Tu-142M into a full-fledged missile carrier, equipped with a full set of equipment and weapons. The work was completed in September 1979. The aircraft, which received the designationTu-95MS, made its first flight in September 1979, and in 1981 a new missile carrier was launched into series at the Taganrog Aviation Plant, and in 1983 its production was transferred to Kuibyshev.
The bomber is equipped with an in-flight refueling system. In the bow of the Tu-95MS there is a non-retractable fuel receiver rod. The aircraft has a three-pillar landing gear, with twin cylinders. The main struts are biaxial, retracted in flight into the wing gondolas, the bow is uniaxial, retracted into the fuselage. Below in the middle of the fuselage are the doors of a large bomb bay. The crew (ship commander, his assistant, navigator, co-navigator, flight engineer, operator of onboard communications systems and aft gunner) is located in pressurized cabins located in the forward and aft parts of the fuselage. The crew has a small galley and toilet. Emergency evacuation of the aircraft is carried out using a moving floor (conveyor with a moving belt) through hatches in both cockpits.
The Tu-95MS is equipped with a navigation and sighting system with the Obzor radar. There is also an airborne defense complex (BKO), which includes reconnaissance equipment, as well as active and passive jamming systems. The equipment includes a panoramic radar "Rubidium-MM", coupled through the attachment "Cesium" with an optical bomber sight OPB-5. To control the fire of defensive weapons on the aircraft, the Argon radio sight is installed. The aircraft is equipped with radio stations, intercom, radio altimeters, radio compass, long-range navigation equipment, and short-range navigation system.
Tu-95MS carried by KR RKV-500A (X-55): 6 on the intra-fuselage drum multipurpose PU MKU-6-5 and 10 on 4 underwing pylons. Instead of them, up to 8 Kh-55M KRs are suspended on pylons. Missile carriers can also carry 2 containers for small-caliber bombs on the ventral suspension. The defensive armament of the Tu-95MS consists of 2 twin 23-mm GSh-23L double-barreled cannons located in the stern defensive installation (unified with the Tu-143MZ and Il-76 aircraft).
Two modifications of the missile-carrying bomber were built - Tu-95MS-6 with missile armament located in the cargo bay and on two underwing external hardpoints (31 aircraft were produced) and Tu-95MS-16 with four underwing hardpoints (57 aircraft). The latter had a number of differences, in particular, instead of two AM-23 cannons, two GSh-23L double-barreled guns were installed, the cockpit instrumentation was changed, the cabin ergonomics improved, etc. Subsequently, in accordance with the terms of the Russian-American agreements on strategic offensive weapons, all aircraft were standardized for the armament of the Tu-95MS-6 variant. Serial production of the Tu-95MS continued until early 1992. At present, the Russian Air Force has 28 Tu-95MS-6 and 35 Tu-95MS-16 aircraft.
In February 1994, the Russian General Staff ordered the 40 Tu-95 Bear H strategic bombers based at Chagan aerodrome in Kazakhstan to prepare to relocate to military air bases in Russia. A remnant of the host air force squadron would remain at Chagan for a year to work with Russian 12th Main Directorate technical officers deactivating, packaging, and transporting the 340 air-launched cruise missiles and nuclear weapons to Russia. Finally, by the spring of 1995 the Russian air force squadron left, abandoning the base, its facilities, and seven obsolete, inoperable Tu-95 bombers. When Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defense acquired the base, it inherited the seven Bear H bombers, which were subject to elimination under the protocols of the START Treaty. In 1997, Kazakhstan’s Defense Minister requested and the U.S. Defense Department agreed that the CTR program would provide equipment and services to eliminate these obsolete bombers.
Ukraine had inherited 19 Tu-160 Tupolev bombers, 25 Tu-95MS Tupolev heavy bombers, and 1,068 air-launched cruise missiles. These were modern long-range aircraft, with sophisticated weapons. For the Ukrainian Air Force and the government, the decision of what to do with the inherited Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers was difficult. These were strategic nuclear bombers, but the nuclear weapons had already been shipped to Russia. The aircraft were large and very expensive; their maintenance cost the state a small fortune. The project stipulated the elimination of 44 bombers – 19 Tu-160s and 25 Tu-95MSs, and 1,068 air launched cruise missiles by December 2001. Ukraine agreed to send 11 strategic bombers, eight Tu-160s and three Tu-95s, and 581 Kh-55 cruise missiles to Russia in return for a $285 million reduction in Ukraine’s natural gas debt. All elimination work was done at Ukrainian air bases Priluki, Uzin and Belaya Tserkov. It went quickly. Within six months, Ukrainian subcontractors had dismantled and eliminated 11 Tu-160s, 27 Tu-95s and 483 Kh-55 airlaunched cruise missiles.
From November 2015 to mid-2017, the Aerospace Forces fired more than 95 Kh-555 ALCMs and the latest Kh-101 at terrorist targets in Syria. The carriers of these aviation weapons (ASP) are the strategic missile carriers Tu-160M, Tu-95MS and Tu-95MSM. The main part of the strikes with the use of high-precision APS fell in November 2015, when 83 ALCMs were launched. During 2016-2017, the long-range aviation aircraft of the Aerospace Forces used about 15 Kh-101 missiles from the Tu-95MSM strategic missile carriers. These aircraft, as part of the modernization work, were additionally equipped with four twin underwing launchers APU-5M for launching the latest Kh-101 ALCMs. The Kh-101 missiles have been used in the Syrian operation before. In particular, on November 17, 2016, Tu-95MSM aircraft first used this aircraft weapon during an operation in Syria.
On 05 July 2017 strategic missile carriers Tu-95MS took off from the Engels airfield on the territory of the Russian Federation, made a flight with refueling in the air and stroke on targets of ISIS terrorists on the border of the provinces of Hama and Homs (Syrian Arab Republic) with the latest cruise missiles H-101. As a result of the missile strike 3 large warehouses of weapons and ammunition, as well as a command post of terrorists near the town of Akerbat were destroyed. This was confirmed by data of objective control. The strikes with the latest high-precision missiles H-101 were made from the range of about 1,000 km. The Russian Su-30SM fighter jets carried out the air cover of strategic missile carriers Tu-95MS. After successful completion of combat mission all the Russian aircraft returned to the airfield of their location. X-101 – the latest Russian strategic cruise missile air-launched, manufactured with the use of modern technology to reduce radar visibility. The effective maximum range up to 4500 km.
Taking off from the Engels airbase in the Saratov region on 26 September 2017, Tu-95MS bombers fired cruise missiles at objects of international terrorist groupings in Syria. The aircraft scrambled from the Engels airfield and flew over territories of Iran and Iraq. In the Syria airspace, the strategic bombers fired Kh-101 cruise missiles at the most important ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra objects located in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Idlib. The unexpected strikes eliminated terrorists’ command posts, hardware and manpower concentration areas as well as ammunition depots. The objective monitoring data has confirmed elimination of all assigned targets. Su-30 and Su-35 fighters were covering the Tu-95MS bombers. The strategic bombers successfully flew about 7,000 kilometers. They were in-flight refueled by Il-78 tanker aircraft. The missile strikes were carried out against the ISIS objects in order to support offensive of the Syrian Arab Army to eliminate the last terrorists’ bridgehead.
On 30 January 2018 strategic missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-95MS delivered 66 cruise missile strikes in Syria, each of them destroyed the intended target, said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. He said that during the operation, the crews of the Russian Aerospace Forces successfully completed 34,561 sorties ... Strategic missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-95MS launched 66 attacks with cruise missiles, each of which destroyed the intended target," the message said.
The crews of the Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 strategic aircraft completed their combat missions in Syria as accurately and without loss as possible. This was announced 21 December 2018 by the commander of long-range aviation, Lieutenant General Sergei Kobylash in an interview with the newspaper "Krasnaya Zvezda". “In accordance with the decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, strategic Tu-160, Tu-95MS aircraft with the use of long-range precision weapons and modernized Tu-22M3 aircraft with the use of aerial bombs were used to carry out missions in the Syrian Arab Republic."
Within the framework of a large-scale modernization program for aircraft systems of strategic and long-range aviation, Tupolev PJSC is currently addressing tasks of increasing the operational effectiveness and extending the operational lifetime of Tu-95MC strategic bomber in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of Russia.
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