Beriev Delivers Modernized Tu-95MS Strategic Bomber to Russian Aerospace Forces

Russian aircraft manufacturer, Beriev delivered another Tu-95MS strategic bomber to the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) after its modernization.

Tupolev Tu-95 (Russian: Туполев Ту-95; NATO reporting name: “Bear”) is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform.

First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040.

A development of the bomber for maritime patrol is designated Tu-142, while a passenger airliner derivative was called Tu-114.

The aircraft has four Kuznetsov NK-12 engines with contra-rotating propellers. It is the only propeller-powered strategic bomber still in operational use today. The Tu-95 is one of the loudest military aircraft, particularly because the tips of the propeller blades move faster than the speed of sound. Its distinctive swept-back wings are at a 35° angle. The Tu-95 is one of very few mass-produced propeller-driven aircraft with swept wings.

Tu-95MS strategic bombers are based on the Tu-142 airframe. This variant became the launch platform of the Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile and put into serial production in 1981. Known to NATO as the Bear-H and was referred to by the U.S. military as a Tu-142 for some time in the 1980s before its true designation became known.

Tu-95MS6 is capable of carrying six Kh-55, Kh-55SM or Kh-555 cruise missiles on a rotary launcher in the aircraft’s weapons bay and 32 of the type were built. Tu-95MS16 variant is fitted with four underwing pylons in addition to the rotary launcher in the fuselage, giving a maximum load of 16 Kh-55s or 14 Kh-55SMs and 56 of the type were built.

Tu-95MSM is a modernized version of MS16 with advanced radio-radar equipment as well as a target-acquiring/navigation system based on GLONASS. Four underwing pylons for up to 8 Kh-101/102 stealth cruise missiles. 15 aircraft have been modernized as of late August 2017. Its combat debut was made on 17 November 2016 in Syria.

All Tu-95s now in Russian service are the Tu-95MS variant (48 Tu-95MS and 12 Tu-95MSM), built in the 1980s and 1990s.

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