Tuesday, April 25, 2006File:Tu 16019.jpg
A senior Russian air force commander has claimed that new, upgraded Tu-160 bomber aircraft were unchallenged by US air defense systems when they penetrated a radar zone near the Canadian coast in US territory during an April training exercise, reports the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Commander of Russia’s long-range strategic bombers, Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said that the bombers successfully carried out four mock Tu-95MS cruise missile launches, 200 mock bombings, and 53 mock sorties during the exercise. The RIA Novosti reported that the United States Air Force is currently investigating how the Tu-160’s escaped detection.
Lieutenant General Igor Khvorov said, “They were unable to detect the planes either with radars or visually.”
Khvorov denies any link of the tests to the current US-Iranian tension, saying, “Of course, our exercises did not have anything to do with the situation in Iran, but their organization indirectly echoed in that region.”
The Tupolev Tu-160 is a strategic bomber introduced in 1987. It resembles the North American B-1B Lancer, but is larger and faster, being powered by four NK-32 afterburning turbofans, the largest in any combat aircraft. It is not considered to be a stealth aircraft due to its exposed engine inlets and broad wing gloves.
According to Khvorov over the course of this year, two additional Tu-160s will be commissioned for the long-range strategic bomber fleet with the numerous upgrades, including the ability to launch cruise missiles, aviation bombs, and satellite communication.