In 1984 the Soviet era design team at Tupolev works started production of the strategic heavy bomber Tu-160.This was the Soviet answer to the American B-1. The Soviet bomber had variable geometry wings like the American bomber. Production stopped in 1992. #vladimir putin in his quest for military parity with America resurrected the bomber. Given the codename " Blackjack" by NATO, it is a formidable weapon. The Russians have now upgraded the plane and plan to manufacture about 50 of the upgraded model. Production is slated to commence in 2018. This is alarming for Europe which views Russia with suspicion., reported Military News.

White Swan

The Russians call their bomber "#White Swan" and it is capable of speeds in excess of Mach 2.

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The new version of the plane will carry cruise missiles as well as PGM (precision guided munition). These are laser guided and can strike a target with astonishing accuracy. The plane also incorporates stealth technology and like its American counterpart has variable geometry wings that fold depending upon the speed at which the plane flies. With a range of 4500 miles, the plane can strike any target in America. It is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

New version

The new version will have upgraded engines and will remain the backbone of the Russian strategic bomber fleet until 2045. The earlier bomber is still in use. 36 of them were built, out of which 19 were in Ukraine. They sold eight back to Russia and the remaining were scrapped. The older version of the plane has been used to attack ISIS targets in Syria.

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This version cannot fire PGM but the new model can.

PAK-FA

The development of the Blackjack has led to the PAK-FA program being put on hold. This plane was touted as the most advanced bomber in the world. The Russian economy cannot sustain development and manufacture of two almost similar models. For reasons of economics, the older version is preferred. The Russians may launch this bomber later.

TU-160M

The TU-160M is more than a match for the B-1. No other country has a similar warplane including China. The Russians are justifiably proud of this plane which can cover entire Europe and strike America. The engines of the plane develop much more power and thrust than the earlier plane. Four Kuznetsov turbo-fan engines power the plane. It is capable of carrying a combination of 36 cruise missiles. The plane has a crew of four and a max speed of 2200km an hour.

Last word

Vladimir Putin is the driving force behind the development of bomber. Despite the relatively poor state of the Russian economy Putin has decided to further his ambition to dominate Europe and the Pacific. This has led to a Russia-phobia in America which finds expression in the Russian connection. The new Russian plane is the biggest plane in the world.