What is the Tupolev Tu-160M?

Feb. 23, 2024

The Russian President recently unveiled the newly modernised Tupolev Tu-160M nuclear-capable strategic bomber at Kazan Aviation Plant.

About Tupolev Tu-160M:

  • The Tu-160M, is a modernised version of a Cold War-era bomber that the former Soviet Union would have deployed in the event of nuclear war to deliver weapons at long distances.
  • It is a Russian supersonic variable-sweep wing strategic missile-carrying bomber.
  • It is called "White Swan” in Russia and is code-named “Blackjacks” by NATO.
  • Russia claims it is the world’s fastest-flying supersonic and heaviest payload-carrying bomber.
  • It is designed to hit targets in remote areas with nuclear and conventional weapons.
  • Features:
    • The Tu-160M, which has a crew of four, is capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles or 12 short-range nuclear missiles.
    • It can fly 12,000 km (7,500 miles) non-stop, without refuelling.
    • It is powered by four afterburning turbofan engines.
    • It has a maximum speed of 2,220 kilometres per hour and ascends to heights of 16,000 metres. 
    • It showcases features like an innovative navigation system, an upgraded radar, and even a refuelling probe for in-flight refuelling, which further extends its range.