This is the Russian version of the B-1 Lancer

While the B-1B Lancer has been one of two mainstays in the U.S. Air Force inventory of strategic bombers, Russia has a bigger bomber than the mighty Lancer.

This plane is the Tupelov Tu-160 Blackjack.

The Blackjack was intended to fill the same role as the B-1B – a long-range supersonic low-altitude penetrator. Russia had earlier developed the Tu-22M/Tu-26 Backfire as a supersonic bomber, but the Backfire was plagued by short range, and was more of a medium bomber along the lines of the FB-111A than a true strategic bomber.

Russian Tupolev Tu-160 bombers. Photo from Wikimedia Commons user Alan Wilson.

Russian Tupolev Tu-160 bombers. Photo from Wikimedia Commons user Alan Wilson.

According to MilitaryFactory.com, the Tu-160 has a top speed of 1,243 miles per hour, and a range of just under 8,700 miles. It can carry up to 12 AS-16 Kickback surface-to-air missiles, 6 AS-15 Kent air-launched cruise missiles, or up to 88,000 pounds of bombs. The plane made its combat debut during Russian operations in support of the regime of Bashir al-Assad in Syria.

Only 34 Blackjacks were built, counting the prototypes. At the end of the Cold War, production ended for a while. The bombers had been based in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they were divided between Russia and Ukraine. The Ukrainians then sold eight airframes back to Russia, while 11 others were scrapped under the Nunn-Lugar disarmament program.

3-view graphic of the Tu-160. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Tu-160 achieved full operating capability in 2005. Currently, 16 of these planes are in service, as compare to roughly 60 B-1B Lancers. The Russians announced plans to re-open the production line for this powerful weapon according to a 2015 report by Flight Global, with plans to build up to 50 airframes.

You can see a video about this Russian bomber below.

TOP ARTICLES
Nigeria will spend a billion dollars to fight Boko Haram

Boko Haram, once one of the most feared groups in Africa, is still a problem. Nigeria, however, has decided they aren't putting up with them anymore.

ISIS may have obtained anti-tank missiles from the CIA

Somehow, ISIS has gotten a hold of weapons purchased by the CIA and Saudi Arabia and dispersed, without permission from either, to allied fighters.

How the Army plans to counter massive drone attacks

The United States military is experiencing more and more drone attacks in combat zones, and they have a plan to start shooting them down faster.

Marines want to swarm enemy defenses with hundreds of small boats

It looks like the Marine Corps is ready to get their own boats instead of borrowing them from the Navy all the time. Is this the end of water taxis?

This bearded Marine brings joy to the Corps

He's making a gear list. He's checking it twice. Gonna find out who's boot or grunt. Gunny Clause is coming on base. So stand at ease, kiddos.

This new device helps amputees manage phantom limb pain

Amira Idris designed a device helps amputees experiencing the phenomenon known as phantom limb pain (PLP) — and now she's giving the device to vets.

5 stories you may have missed for the week of December 16th

With everything going on in the world, it's difficult to keep track of every story that pops up. Check the stories you may have missed this week.

This is why the U.S.military uses 5.56mm ammo instead of 7.62mm

A common debate among gun enthusiasts revolves around why the U.S. chose to implement the 5.56mm N.A.T.O. round into service instead of the 7.62mm.

Combat Flip Flops are all about freedom — and not just for your feet

Buy a comfy pair of flip flops — put Afghanistan to work. Buy your lady a sarong — put an Afghan girl through school. This is global democracy, step two.

The 13 funniest military memes for the week of Dec. 15

I hope you're ready for a Star Wars heavy meme cache this week. A lot happened since the last meme call, but c'mon... we know what you really care about.