The Russian Ministry of Defense said that the strategic bombers of the Aerospace Forces completed a planned flight over the waters of the Baltic Sea. The corresponding press release was at the disposal of RT.
“Two Tu-160 strategic missile carriers completed a planned flight in airspace over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea,” the statement said.
The ministry also emphasized that after the flight program, the crews of the Russian Aerospace Forces returned to the airfield. According to the Ministry of Defense, the duration of this aviation operation was more than seven hours.
Meanwhile, the ministry emphasized that the aircraft of the air forces of a number of European countries escorted Russian missile carriers in some parts of the flight.
“At certain stages of the route, long-range aircraft were escorted by the F-16 fighter planes of the Belgian, Danish and Polish air forces, the F-18 Finnish air force, the JAS-39 Gripen of the Swedish air force,” the defense ministry said.
The Ministry of Defense also published a video of the flight, which shows the fighters accompanying the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Earlier, the press service of the Belgian Air Force reported that its fighters flew air to escort Russian aircraft.
“Today, two Belgian F-16s from the NATO mission intercepted two Russian Tu-160s and two Russian Su-27s over the Baltic Sea,” a Twitter report said.
Also in Brussels, it was noted that this is the first mission of this nature for the Belgian unit involved in the protection of the Baltic airspace since September 3.
Some close ups of a Russian Blackjack from today's interception by the @BeAirForce. #DYK The Tupolev # TU160 Blackjack is a nuclear capable supersonic strategic bomber. It has a range of 12300 km and a maximum speed of twice the speed of sound. # NATO # BAPpic.twitter.com / Xp54adwPuI- Belgian Air Force🇧🇪 (@BeAirForce) September 17, 2019
We add that in July, Russian Tu-160 bombers carried out a similar operation, flying in airspace over the neutral waters of the Baltic.
Tu-160 - a supersonic strategic missile carrier with variable wing geometry (the ability to change the angle of the wing with respect to the aircraft body ) Among the pilots, he has the nickname White Swan, and in NATO codification, the aircraft is designated as Blackjack.
The development of the Tupolev design bureau is recognized as the fastest and most powerful strategic bomber in the history of military aviation. It is capable of carrying both nuclear and conventional shells with a total mass of up to 40 tons, and the radius of destruction exceeds 7000 km. Its flight range without refueling is almost 14,000 km. Moreover, the total thrust of four engines is 100,000 kgf. For comparison: the power of the American strategic bomber B-52 is 61 680 kgf.
Tu-160 has been in operation since 1987, at the disposal of the Russian Air Force there are 16 such aircraft. At the same time, in 2017, the Russian leadership decided to resume the serial production of the strategic bomber in the M2 modification at the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant (KAZ, a branch of PJSC Tupolev). The first demonstration flight of the Tu-160M2 ("Peter Deinekin") made on January 25, 2018. The board was named in honor of the ex-commander in chief of the Russian Air Force (1992-1998), Hero of Russia, who died on August 19, 2017.
According to initial plans, by 2023, the Russian Air Force will have about 50 upgraded Tu-160s, and the existing 16 aircraft will be finalized to version M2.
Note that in December 2018, the US ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, called the Russian Tu-160s that arrived in Venezuela “museum exhibits” from the 1980s.
“Aircraft of this age are not a provocation. They are really from the museum, ”he said.
The Russian Ministry of Defense described the statement by the American diplomat as "amateurish," emphasizing that it was made "against the backdrop of the silence of professional experts from the Pentagon."
The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, Major General Igor Konashenkov reminded the representative of the US Department of State that the Tu-160, by its characteristics (developed speed, combat load, range and inaccessibility of any air defense systems), still has no analogues in the United States and other NATO countries.
“Therefore, even if we compare the strategic missile carrier Tu-160 with the“ museum exhibit ”, it is only for admiration of the Russian envoys for this masterpiece of domestic engineering in the field of aircraft engineering,” he pointed out.
We add that the incompetence of the US ambassador to Colombia was also indicated by the American political and military analytical publication The National Interest. The material of the online magazine indicated that the Tu-160 proved its reliability in Syria, and "age does not necessarily mean operational backwardness."