Russia to Refit 8 Strategic Bombers in 2018July 10, 2018
In yet another push toward upgrading the air-based leg of its nuclear triad, Russia will overhaul eight Tupolev Tu-160 and Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers by the end of 2018, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said in June.
“By the end of this year eight such planes are to be overhauled. This will prolong their life cycle and enhance combat capabilities,” Shoigu was quoted as saying by TASS news agency during a June 29 conference call.
The Russian Air Force currently operates 16 Tu-160, half of which are reportedly not airworthy, as well as around 60 Tu-95MS (including about a dozen upgraded Tu-95MSM variants) with an estimated two-thirds of the latter not combat-ready.
The nuclear-capable Tupolev Tu-95MS, and its improved Tu-95MSM variant, is a four-engine, long-range, turboprop, strategic bomber that can be armed with a wide range of weapons including nuclear stand-off cruise missiles.