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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tu-95MSM Modernization

One important fact can be confidently stated: the Tu-95 was, is and will in the foreseeable future be the main strategic bomber of the Russian Air Force. Recall, according to various sources, there are 50 such machines in the Air Force. Ss of 2020, Russia had 60 Tu-95 units of various versions in service. They can be used successfully until the 2040s. Now it is the world's fastest turboprop production aircraft - a missile carrier and one of the elements of the nuclear triad, although not the most important against the background of intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine ballistic missiles.

A more modern navigation computer system was installed on the bomber, as well as an integrated control system. The missile carrier also received new capabilities in terms of optical and radio reconnaissance. Tu-95MSM bombers have been modified to use the Kh-101 and Kh-102 stealth missiles. The X-101 missiles have a range of 5,500 km. To adapt the aircraft for them, the armament compartment was expanded, and four universal pylons appeared under the wings, each of which is designed to suspend any two missiles from the Tu-95 and Tu-160 arsenal. In addition, in the process of modernization, the engines and propellers, weapons control systems, on-board computing systems and other electronics were updated.

The Tu-95 was created at the height of the Cold War as a response to the creation of the Convair B-36 bomber in the United States. The aircraft was created with turboprop engines, because at that time only they allowed reaching a flight range of 12 thousand kilometers. Namely, such a range was necessary in order to "deliver" charges to the United States in the event of war. Two coaxial counter-rotating propellers were needed because if one propeller were used, its diameter would be 7 meters.

Today, a strategic bomber is primarily a platform for launching missiles or dropping precision bombs, which the Americans demonstrate to us by their example. Moreover, the range of missiles can exceed several thousand kilometers, which allows the aircraft to operate without entering the range of enemy air defense. Consequently, the requirements of stealth with respect to the “strategist” are not as ultimatum as in the case of fighters risking to feel enemy air-to-air or ground-to-air missiles in their own skin.

As part of the modernization of the Tu-95MSM [Tu-95MS Modernized], existing airframes received a new radar, a new information display system, an upgraded defense complex, upgraded NK-12MPM turboprop engines with the installation of new AV-60T propellers. In 2016, experts at the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies noted that, as part of a complete modernization of the Tu-95M?M, the Obzor-MS radar station should be replaced with a new Novella-HB1.021 radar. It was also planned to install a new SOI-021 information display system, the upgraded Meteor-NM2 airborne defense complex, and in addition, the machine should receive modernized Kuznetsov NK-12MPM turboprop engines with the installation of new AV-60T propellers.

Pyotr Butovsky in the article “Russian bombers to be armed with new Kh-50 theater-level cruise missile” in the magazine “Jane's Missiles & Rockets” drew attention to the X-50 medium-range missile. According to the expert, the Tu-95MSM strategic bomber will be able to carry up to fourteen such missiles, including six on the internal suspension - that is, even more than the Tu-160, which, as follows from the text of the article, will be able to carry up to twelve such products in the internal compartments. According to the data, the X-50 cruise missile will be able to hit targets at ranges of up to 1,5 thousand kilometers. It has a length of about 6 meters and a mass of more than 1500 kilograms. Cruising flight speed - 700 kilometers per hour, maximum - more than 950.

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Russia’s Aviakor aviation factory delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces the first modernized Tu-95MSM strategic bomber/missile carrier, the company’s press office reported 21 November 2015. "The upgrade has significantly boosted the combat capabilities of the aircraft and the operating conditions for the crew," Alexei Gusev, CEO of Aviakor, said.

The aircraft was named Dubna (after a town outside Moscow). The adjustment of the Tu-95 for the new armament and new military requirements took three months. The second aircraft is currently being upgraded by Aviakor and would be delivered to the Defense Ministry later in 2015. In December 2015, the third bomber would be delivered to the factory for modernization.

PJSC "Tupolev" signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation for the creation of a deeply modernized strategic missile carrier Tu-95MSM, "Interfax" reported in August 2018, quoting the general director of the company Alexander Konyukhov." The contract for deep modernization - Tu-95MSM - was signed a month and a half ago, in June 2018. Work has been launched at the Taganrog Aviation Plant, "Konyukhov said. "The first flight of the Tu-95MSM is scheduled for the end of 2019," said the head of Tupolev.

He also noted that the decision to deeply modernize the fleet of combat aircraft Tu-95MS will be made by the Ministry of Defense based on the results of state tests. Alexander Konyukhov also said that state tests of the Tu-95MS strategic missile carrier with an upgraded engine will be completed by the end of 2018. "The tests are going on successfully, we will complete the GSE by the end of this year," A. Konyukhov said. He noted that during the tests, the Tu-95MS strategic missile carrier with an upgraded engine confirms the declared characteristics. In 2018, the head of the UAC in an interview with Interfax gave a description of the Tu-95MSM. "The modernization will significantly increase the navigation accuracy and reliability indicators, expand the possibilities for conducting associated optical and radio reconnaissance, extend the life of the aviation complex, improve the takeoff and landing characteristics of the aircraft," Slyusar said then.

A.Konyukhov already reported that the Tu-95MS with the modernized power plant NK-12MPM entered state joint tests. He noted that this engine allows improving the flight characteristics of the aircraft, as well as increasing its payload. According to the head of Tupolev, upon completion of these tests, the RF Ministry of Defense will decide how many Tu-95MS will be equipped with an upgraded engine. As reported, at present, on a planned basis, overhaul and modernization of the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic missile carriers are being carried out, which can significantly extend their service life. Also "Tupolev" is working on the creation of prototypes of deeply modernized Tu-160M ??aircraft and long-range Tu-22M3M missile-carrying bombers.

The Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov previously stated that as part of the modernization of the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS "more powerful engines are installed on them, the onboard electronic equipment is transferred to the domestic element base, the range of weapons used is expanding." Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee Vladimir Shamanov reported that the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS aircraft were being modernized for the use of new long-range cruise missiles. In April 2018, the general director of Tupolev Konyukhov told Interfax that the "strategist" Tu-95MS with the modernized power plant NK-12MPM had entered the state joint tests (GSE). The strategic missile carriers Tu-95MS and Tu-160 are the air component of the nuclear triad. Tu-95MS is designed to solve shock missions to defeat the most important targets in remote areas and in the deep rear of continental theaters of military operations.

Long-range aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces were involved in the Syrian operation, for the strategic missile carriers Tu-160 and Tu-95MS, this was the first combat use. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, during the operation in Syria, Russian "strategists" Tu-160 and Tu-95MS inflicted 66 cruise missile attacks on terrorist targets, each of which destroyed the intended target.

The deeply modernized Tu-95MSM performed maiden flight at the airfield of TANTK them.G.M.Beriev in Taganrog. The flight took place in normal mode, at an altitude of 9000 meters, lasted 2 hours 33 minutes, systems and equipment worked without any remarks. According to the report, the beginning of flight tests of the Tu-95MSM was announced to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu by UAC General Director Yuri Slyusar before the opening of the Army-2020 military-technical forum. While visiting the exhibition of the latest aviation technicians at the Kubinka airfield Yuri Slyusar told Sergei Shoigu about the beginning of flight tests of the first experienced deeply modernized strategic missile carrier Tu-95MSM.

It is reported that the first flight of the Tu-95MSM made the day before, taking off from the airfield TANTK them. G.M.Beriev in Taganrog. The plane was piloted by the crew under the direction of test pilot Andrey Voropaev. The flight took place in normal mode at an altitude of 9000 m, lasted 2 hours 33 minutes, systems and equipment worked without any comments. It is not entirely clear what sort of "first" is being claimed here, since the "first" Tu-95MSM test prototype flew back in 2015. Presumably this is the "first" of the serial modernization modified aircraft.

The completion of work on the creation of a deeply modernized strategic missile carrier Tu-95MSM was reported in March 2020. The message said that the Tupolev company, together with the Beriev Aircraft Company, completed work on the creation of the first deeply modernized Tu-95MSM and began testing the updated systems. Later it became known that the plane will make its first flight by the end of August this year.

Yuri Slyusar, General Director of PJSC UAC, Vice President of SoyuzMash of Russia LLC, emphasized: “This is an aircraft with a new armament system, a new on-board electronic equipment complex, with new modified engines, new propellers. The combat capabilities of the vehicle have doubled after this upgrade. After departure, tests will continue. Modernization of the fleet of strategic missile carriers will continue along this path."

The modernization will significantly increase the navigation accuracy and reliability indicators, extend the service life of the aviation complex, and improve the takeoff and landing characteristics of the aircraft. As part of a deep modernization, new systems were installed on the Tu-95MSM: weapons control, aircraft control, flight and navigation equipment, an onboard communications complex, a radar station, and objective control equipment. The result of the work performed will be a significant increase in the efficiency indicators of the aviation complex when used as intended. Tu-95MSM is the first experienced strategic missile carrier, a new modification of the world's fastest turboprop aircraft-missile carrier Tu-95MS, designed to solve combat missions while protecting the country's distant borders.

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Page last modified: 09-11-2020 18:34:45 ZULU