Air International 2015-08
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A.Mladenov - Still Going Strong /Military/
A Tu-95MS Bear-H approaches an Il-78M Midas for fuel. The global 'power projection' missions are performed with one or two refuellings; a record-breaking flight of 42 hours and 20 minutes in July 2010 involved four.
The Tu-95MS upgrade and life extension will enable the bomber to be capable of soldiering on in the nuclear deterrence and long-range conventional strike roles until 2035 or even 2040.
The Engels-based Bear-H force includes 13 Tu-95MS-16s, capable of carrying 16 ALCMs plus five more Tu-95MS-6s, outfitted for six nuclear-tipped ALCMs.
The Tu-95MS' circular-section fuselage has a 2.9m diameter, and can accomodate a six-unit rotary launcher for Kh-55, Kh-55SM and Kh-555 missiles.
The current serviceability rate of the Tu-95MS fleet is around 50%, with plans to increase it to 75% by 2020 thanks to overhaul and the improved supply of spare parts and serviceable engines.
The Tu-95MS is maintenance-heavy, especially given the complex engine's counter-rotating propellers, designed for high efficiency, extended range and high cruise speed.
The Tu-95MS is the principal aircraft used by the Russian Air Force for high-profile 'show of force' patrols.
Low utilisation until the mid-2000s means the RuAF still regards the Bear as having used little fatigue life, with minimal corrosion damage.
This aircraft, serial Red 10 and named 'Samara', is among the first Bear-Hs upgraded to the Tu-95MSM standard, with the aircraft capable of deploying then Kh-101/Kh-102 ultra-long range ALCMs carried on large APU-5M twin-round pylon under the wings.
A Kh-555 ALCM carried on a rotary launcher.
The Tu-95MS is the principal aircraft used by the Russian Air Force for high-profile 'show of force' patrols.
A Tu-95MS Bear-H approaches an Il-78M Midas for fuel. The global 'power projection' missions are performed with one or two refuellings; a record-breaking flight of 42 hours and 20 minutes in July 2010 involved four.