Warplanes: April 6, 2000


Russia has rebuilt its strategic air command, reorganizing it as the 37th Strategic Air Army. This includes two divisions of Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, two divisions of Tu-95 Bear bombers, and four divisions of Tu -22M Backfire medium bombers. This canceled a 1998 plan to take all long-range aircraft away from the Air Force and put them under a new joint strategic force with the Strategic Rocket units. This force is currently tasked almost entirely for strategic nuclear deterrence, with the planes carrying the Kh-55SM (AS-15 Kent) cruise missile with a 200KT nuclear warhead. This force is steadily being moved into the conventional role and will be dual-capable within a few years. The Backfires are increasingly old, but the Tu-95s are no more than 15 years old and the Tu-160s are about 10 years old. Both types can be refurbished to keep flying for two or three more decades. The bombers are being rearmed with the new non-nuclear Kh-101 long-range cruise missile. It is fitted with a high-explosive penetrating warhead of 400kg. It is reasonably accurate, with a circular error probable of 6-20m. The Kh-55SM missiles are being upgraded into Kh-555s with conventional warheads and precision homing capabilities.--Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close