Air International 2015-09
A.Mladenov - Blackjack /Military/
A narrow fuselage and pronounced leading-edge root extensions, blended with the aircraft’s body and variable-geometry wings, gives the Blackjack a menacing presence.
There are four crew members in a Tu-160 - as pictured during a deployment to Venezuela in September 2007.
Most of the Baikal integrated self-protection suite is housed in the tail cone.
The 6950th Guards Aviation Base at Engels in western Russia controls two Tu-160-equipped squadrons. The 121st TBAP is set to be re-activated and will accommodate the entire Blackjack fleet inherited from the 6950th Guards Air Base.
The Tu-160’s distinctively pointed nose, large wing leading-edge extensions and blended wing-body combine with a variable-geometry wing for multi-mode flight operations.
With Tu-160 production at Kazan continuing at a very slow rate in the early 2000s, the last Blackjack was only delivered to the RuAF in 2008.
The Blackjack has an all-moving tailfin for yaw control.
This is the first upgraded Tu-160M, taken on strength in December last year. It is capable of using the new conventional-warhead MKB Raduga Kh-555 and Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles plus the nuclear-tipped Kh-102 missile.
Most long-range operations are performed with one air refuelling; ultra-long operations of more than 20 hours requiring two.
The Blackjack's need for extensive ground servicing equipment, most of which is mounted on heavy truck chassis and trailers, is why the type rarely operates awayfrom its Engels base.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Tu-160 cockpit, sitting in the co-pilot’s seat ahead of his flight aboard Pavel Taran (Red 03, c/n 07-03) on August 16, 2005, during which two Kh-555 ALCMs were test-launched.