RuAF upgraded Tu-95 bombers with four additional underwing pylons

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The Air and Space Forces [VKS] of the Russian Federation have begun modernization of the Tu-95 strategic bomber, MSM version. Russian media reports that modernization is about increasing the combat capability of the bombers. It is about the integration of four additional underwing pylons to carry the cruise missiles.

Photo credit: Twitter

Previously, these bombers could carry a total of 4 Kh-101 or Kh-102 cruise missiles. These missiles can be equipped with a conventional warhead or a nuclear one. After the upgrade, the Tu-95MSM will be able to carry two additional missiles under each of its wings. That is eight missiles of this model.

Experts point out that this is one of the rare modernizations of this bomber, primarily concerning the external payload capacity. Most likely, experts say, the war in Ukraine is the reason why the Ministry of Defense decided on such a modernization.

About Kh-101 missile

The Kh-101 cruise missile is a long-range, subsonic missile developed by Russia. It has a range of up to 5,000 kilometers [3,100 miles], making it capable of striking targets far beyond Russia’s borders. The missile is designed to be highly accurate, with a reported circular error probable [CEP] of less than 10 meters. This means that the missile can hit a target within 10 meters of its intended aim point.

Photo credit: Reddit

The Kh-101 is capable of carrying a variety of warhead types, including high explosive, fragmentation, and penetrator warheads. The missile can also be equipped with a nuclear warhead, although it is not clear if Russia has deployed the missile in this configuration.

The Kh-101 is powered by a turbofan engine, which allows it to fly at subsonic speeds. The missile is also equipped with a guidance system that uses a combination of inertial navigation and satellite guidance to navigate to its target.

The destructive power of the Kh-101 depends on the warhead type and the target it is used against. However, given its long range and high accuracy, the missile is capable of delivering a devastating blow to a wide range of targets, including military installations, infrastructure, and other high-value targets.

The main difference between Kh-101 and Kh-102

The Kh-102 missile, on the other hand, is designed for nuclear strikes against ground targets. It has a range of up to 5,500 km and can carry a 250 kt nuclear warhead. Like the Kh-101, it is equipped with a guidance system that uses GLONASS and GPS signals. It also has a low-altitude flight profile and advanced electronic countermeasures to evade enemy air defenses.

About Tu-95MSM bomber

The Tu-95MSM bomber has an impressive maximum operational range of up to 15,000 kilometers [9,320 miles]. This range allows the aircraft to conduct long-range strategic missions without the need for mid-air refueling, making it a valuable asset for the Russian military.

However, it is important to note that the actual range of the Tu-95MSM can vary depending on factors such as payload, altitude, and weather conditions. In some cases, the range may be reduced to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the mission.

To achieve this impressive range, the Tu-95MSM is equipped with four powerful Kuznetsov NK-12 engines, each capable of producing up to 15,000 horsepower. These engines allow the aircraft to reach a maximum speed of 920 kilometers per hour [570 miles per hour] and maintain a cruising speed of 750 kilometers per hour [466 miles per hour].

Photo credit: Wikipedia

In addition to its impressive range, the Tu-95MSM is also capable of carrying a variety of weapons and payloads. This includes nuclear and conventional bombs, cruise missiles, and torpedoes. The aircraft’s payload capacity is estimated to be around 20,000 kilograms [44,092 pounds], allowing it to deliver a significant amount of firepower to its targets.

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