Lightguns said:Funny, I thought I would feel different about this when it was Russians but it still offends me as a soldier. I do not understand the need for that part of the world to disrespect the dead. These aren't even ISIL types.
Any reason a ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead that can be launched from a Russian SSBN with just minutes of flight time to the U.S. seaboard isn't already the highest threat capability?..
US Worrying Seriously About Russian Cruise Missiles
USN “Admiral Warns: Russian Subs Waging Cold War-Style ‘Battle of the Atlantic’”–and RCN?
US Concerned About Russian Submarines with Nuclear Armed Cruise Missiles Near Washington
What Makes Russia’s New Tu-160M2 Blackjack Supersonic Bomber Special
Russia’s new Tupolev Tu-160M2 Blackjack supersonic strategic bomber is expected to make its first flight in late 2018 and enter into full-rate production by 2021. The Tu-160M2 is a new upgraded variant of the late Soviet-era Blackjack, which was built in very small numbers before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
“The first Tu-160M2 is expected to take off by the end of 2018, followed by full-scale production in 2021,” Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev, commander of the Russian Air Force told the state-owned RIA Novosti news outlet.
The new date reflects a slight shift from previous Russian government statements, which had indicated the new production Blackjack would fly in 2019 with production starting in 2023. Many analysts, expect that the new Blackjack will become the backbone of the Russian strategic bomber force of the future assuming Moscow can find the funding for the project in the current economic climate.
The Tu-160M2—though it more or less retains the same airframe—is practically a new aircraft under the hood. The new bomber will feature completely new mission systems and possibly be powered by upgraded versions of the existing Kuznetsov NK-32 afterburning turbofan. The Russians plan to buy about fifty of the new Tu-160 variant, however it is not clear if the 16 original model Tu-160 airframes will be upgraded to the new standard.
Moscow can make do with the upgraded Tu-160M2 for its strategic bomber force because unlike the United States Air Force, the Russian Air Force does not expect the massive aircraft to penetrate into enemy airspace to deliver its payload. Instead, the Tu-160—which is capable of speeds of over Mach 2.0—would dash into position to launch long-range standoff cruise missiles. As such, stealth is not considered to be particularly important. Indeed, one of the advantages of a highly visible strategic bomber is that it enables nuclear signaling.
But the Tu-160M2 is not likely to replace the long-serving Tupolev Tu-95 Bear—the two bombers will likely operate side-by-side for decades to come...
For the Russian Air Force, the bomber’s payload of cruise missiles is far more important than the bomber itself. The stealthy new Kh-101—which proved itself over Syria—and its Kh-102 nuclear-tipped variant are both designed to penetrate into heavily defended enemy airspace—allowing the bomber to strike from afar. Both missiles have ranges well in excess of 1800 miles and will comprise the primary armament for the Russian strategic bomber fleet...
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for the National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.
NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”? Part 2
Russia plans to equip Tu-22M3 long-range bombers with new Kh-32 cruise missile
Russia is finalizing the trials of a sophisticated cruise missile designated as Kh-32 and intended to equip the Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range bomber fleet, according to the Izvestia daily. Once launched, the product of the Raduga Design Bureau climbs to an altitude of 40 km, to the stratosphere, to dive on the target at a steep angle.
A source in the Russian armed forces said the batch includes five tactical Su-34 bombers for the 277th bomber aircraft regiment of the Eastern military district deployed at the Khurba airfield in Khabarovsk region. The previous batch of four aircraft was handed over to the Russian armed forces in May 2016. The aircraft were also deployed in the 277th regiment.
Russian carrier-based Su-33 fighters receiving new bombing computer
- 16 September 2016
The SVP-24 is a specialised navigation and targeting system produced by Russian avionics developer Gefest and T. It enables combat aircraft to deliver conventional ordnance with accuracy approaching guided munitions, Russian sources claim. Historically the Su-33 had only a basic air-to-ground capability.
Gefest and T has now delivered the first Su-33 with SVP-24 under its contract signed with the MoD, and is installing the system on two more naval fighters. The company expects to put SVP-24 on all aircraft in the squadron before Russian Navy carrier Admiral Kuznetsov deploys to the eastern Mediterranean in November, according to Izvestia . The carrier's air group will likely consist of 10 Su-33 and four MiG-29KR fighters.
The Syrian army and its allies are close to pushing anti-government rebels out of Aleppo as thousands of civilians flee the fighting, leaving the regime of Bashar al-Assad close to taking the smoking ruins of the country’s second-largest city.
Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the Syrian army was holding fire Thursday, allowing civilians to leave the city before government forces fight their way through the last remaining rebel neighborhoods, with Russian aircraft providing cover overhead. Activists in the city reported continuing airstrikes and rocket assaults on Friday however, despite the Russian claims.
The fall of Aleppo will mark a major victory for both Assad and and his ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose 15-month intervention in the Syrian civil war was launched to prop up the faltering Assad regime under the guise of fighting the Islamic State.
But there was another reason for the campaign of Russian air strikes and special operations support: providing Moscow with a venue to show off its newly modernized military hardware.
After years of mouldering away under post Cold war budget crunches, Putin has spent billions to modernize the Russian arsenal, churning out new tanks, submarines, drones, cruise missiles, and fighter jets that have pounded both Syrian rebels as well as Ukrainian troops in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region.
Speaking with senior military officers at the Kremlin on Wednesday, Putin said that the military should use those experiences to “equip the Army and the Navy with prospective weapons” for future fights.
While many are focused on the Russian armor and sorties, some in the U.S. defense establishment have noticed another sign of Russian progress: their ability to work through local forces in Ukraine and Syria, allowing Moscow to exert influence while keeping deployments small, costs down, and troops away from the front lines.
“The Russians have become quite adept at working with proxy forces,” a senior Defense official told FP. ”In Ukraine, it’s obviously the so-called separatist forces – Russian trained, Russian equipped, in some cases Russian commanded,” over which “they exercise an exquisite command and control.”
In Syria, U.S. officials have seen small groups of Russian special operations forces “work quite effectively” with Assad regime troops and the Iranian Qods Force and Hezbollah. “That’s been their M.O. in the Donbass and in Syria,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The ability of the Russians to work so effectively through partners — some of which are separated by language — has impressed some analysts, given how difficult it is to work with other nations, let alone foreign militia groups.
“This is something the U.S. has had trouble with, even people we’ve worked with for ages, like our NATO allies,” said Olga Oliker, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Russia has had long relationships with the Iranians and Syrians, which makes some interaction easier, particularly when it comes to coordinating Russian planes flying air support for ground offensives by Syrian and Iranian-backed forces.
“They rely a lot on the Syrians and Iranians for targeting information, and the country that provides that information has a lot of power,” added Oliker, resulting in a dynamic in which the Russians are likely unable to confirm who they’re bombing.
Russian forces realized early on that while they could change facts on the ground, their intervention came too late to save a Syrian army which had been ground down by constant combat and desertions. “The Russian military has been frustrated by both the Syrian army which exists in name only, and Iranian forces pursuing their own objectives,” said Michael Kofman, a research scientist at CNA Corporation.
But by deploying aircraft, helicopters, and launching cruise missiles at rebel targets, Moscow has “turned Syria into both a weapons testing ground and a large operational exercise,” from which their military and defense industry have been gaining invaluable insights, Kofman said. The combination of militia forces, Russian private military contractors and special forces provide a potent mix for the Russian way of war — a war being fought against American and Western backed forces in both Ukraine and Syria.
But there have been other benefits for Moscow.
Russian weapons sales have been on the rise for the past several years, and Moscow’s interventions in Ukraine and Syria have offered a valuable marketing platform to sell foreign clients on its technologies that come cheaper than equipment made by NATO nations, and without western world’s political strings attached.
In July, Putin noted that exports of Russian-made weapons and military equipment reached $4.6 billion for the first half of 2016, and “we should continue to highlight the demonstration of our weapon manufacturers’ achievements.”
One unexpected demonstration that was subsequently touted by Russian officials came in February, when Syrian rebels fired an American-made TOW missile at an advanced Russian T-90 tank. The missile hit it squarely in the turret but failed to destroy the tank, and in a video posted by the rebels, a Syrian soldier could be seen climbing out of the turret after the smoke cleared.
But other aspects of the Russian intervention haven’t always gone as planned, exposing the limits of its military might. Over the past month, two fighter planes have crashed into the Mediterranean while trying to land on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, which itself has become an Internet meme for the black smoke belching from its smokestack and the tugboat it is forced to deploy with due to frequent breakdowns.
Another Russian Su-24 fighter was shot down by a an American-made Turkish F-16 after it allegedly strayed into Turkish territory in November 2015, with one pilot managing to survive the crash. During the rescue mission, a Russian Mi-8 helicopter was damaged by ground fire, then blown up by Free Syrian Army rebels with a U.S.-made TOW missile. The incident was filmed by the rebels and promptly posted online.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has issued instructions to study the possibility of replacing the Tupolev Tu-154, Tu-134 and Ilyushin Il-62M passenger planes by new Russian counterparts, Kommersant daily writes on Friday citing sources close to the Russian Defense Ministry and air carriers’ management teams.
"Consultations are now underway with the industry to select the best options," one of the sources said.
According to the paper, the Russian Defense Ministry and enterprises that are part of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation are to agree on a "roadmap", decide which aircraft will be taken out of service in the first place and build a production schedule for the plants.
"Tu-154 could be replaced by the SSJ 100 short-haul aircraft, and Il-62 and Tu-154 - by the Tu-214 longer-range plane. The military is presently working on this issue," a source in the industry said.
According to the sources quoted by the paper, the minister ordered to upgrade the Defense Ministry’s fleet without attracting additional funding. The exact deadlines have not been disclosed.
The reason for renovating the Russian Defense Ministry’s passenger fleet was the crash of the ministry’s Tupolev Tu-154 plane near Sochi on December 25, 2016. The aircraft, en route to Syria, crashed shortly after taking off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi ...
New MiG-35 “Fulcrum Foxtrot” Demonstrated For Putin and Foreign Market
MiG-35 Demo is Both Product Debut and Contrast of Russian and Western Doctrine in the F-35 Era.
In a widely publicized event on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017 the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau (MiG) parented by United Aircraft Corporation officially demonstrated the new MiG-35 to the Russian government. A subsequent demonstration for export customers was carried out today Jan. 27.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is reported to have viewed the first demonstration via remote video due to poor weather in the region.
The new MiG-35 (NATO reporting name: “Fulcrum Foxtrot”) is a greatly upgraded aircraft based on the earlier MiG-29 airframe. Significant upgrades on the MiG-35 include a completely new fly-by-wire flight control system, vastly improved cockpit, substantially upgraded avionics and an overall design philosophy that provides an enhanced degree of operational autonomy on the MiG-35 compared to earlier Russian combat aircraft. The MiG-35 will also integrate precision-guided targeting capability for air-to-ground weapons, a rarity in previous Russian air-ground doctrine.
There is a significant engine upgrade on the new MiG-35. The aircraft uses two impressive Klimov RD-33OVT engines fitted with bi-directional thrust vectoring nozzles. This contrasts aircraft like the current Russian Su-35 and the U.S. F-22 Raptor that only use single-axis vertical thrust vectoring.
This marks a fascinating departure from previous Soviet-era combat aircraft capabilities while retaining the Russian penchant for lower unit cost in exchange for numerical superiority, a doctrine that has pervaded Russian military thinking for the entire century.
The Russians have always traded unit capability for numerical superiority, relying on the hope that quantity would beat quality in a major conflict. Interestingly, this doctrine has shifted moderately toward a centrist mix of quality and quantity apparently in search of the best solution for indigenous use as well as attracting export buyers.
The new MiG-35 is an example of this shift.
Russia has included significant sensor and capability upgrades on all recent combat aircraft, especially ones intended for the export market. Additionally, the reported domestic production for MiG-35 is only 37 aircraft, a very small acquisition by older Soviet and even modern Russian standards. A larger production capacity is earmarked for export sales, likely in the form of a 50-unit order from Egypt...
Cold Water on PAK FA
ODK General Director Aleksandr Artyukhov has dampened the prospects for Russia’s developmental fifth generation fighter aircraft, the T-50 or PAK FA. Friday [Jan. 27] in Lukhovitsy at the presentation of the MiG-35, Artyukhov told RIA Novosti that R&D on PAK FA’s “second phase” engine won’t be complete until 2020.
This contrasts with the more hopeful announcement late last year from Sukhoy aircraft plant KnAAZ when the “second phase” engine or “item 30” commenced stand tests.
ODK’s Artyukhov told the media that the plan is to begin flight tests of the “second phase” engine this year.
Existing prototypes fly with the first phase or “item 117S” engine (AL-41F1S). However, “item 30” advertises reduced infrared signature, increased thrust, supercruise, improved fuel efficiency, and lower life-cycle costs.
Artyukhov’s predecessor said more than two years ago that a PAK FA with a “second phase” engine would not fly until 2017. ODK once hoped this would happen in 2015, but OAK’s former chief Mikhail Pogosyan said possibly not even before 2019.
But even with a tested “item 30” engine, it will be a challenge to integrate and test it fully this year. So the first PAK FA fighters to reach the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) will probably have “item 117S” engines.
As the PAK FA’s engine has slipped, so has the aircraft itself...
First test flight of new Russian Tu-160M2 missile carrier is scheduled for 2018
Kazan aircraft plant has completed the industrial welding of the first Tu-160M2 Blackjacks missile carrier. The Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov said this information to journalists during his visit to the plant.
As reported The Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov during his visit that, The Ministry of Defence confirms the previously announced dates: the first test flight of the aircraft is scheduled for 2018, and the beginning of mass production in 2021.
“A great job is done, we have several times addressed with words of gratitude to the industry that in a relatively short time, ahead of previously set schedules restored processes, associated with the reproduction of the Tu-160M2,” – said Yuri Borisov.
The new Blackjacks are going to be practically a new design under the hood with completely new avionics, propulsion and even airframe modifications. As such the aircraft will be given a secondary precision-guided munitions capability.
The Tu-160M2, a modernized version Russia’s much-acclaimed Tu-160 strategic bomber, will carry an impressive arsenal of Kh-555 and Kh-101 cruise missiles, and also the latter’s nuclear-tipped version, the Kh-102 [emphasis added].
The Kh-555 boasts an advance flight control system allowing the missile to change curse on the go. The Kh-555 carries a cluster or fragmentation/incendiary warhead and has an effective range of over 2,000 kilometers (over 1,240 miles).
The Kh-101 is even deadlier, capable of taking out targets up to 5,500 kilometers away (3,400 miles) [emphasis added].
NORAD and Russian Cruise Nukes: “de-escalation”? Part 2
Document: Pentagon Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat Report
Russia to Build 5th Generation Fighter-Interceptor in Addition to PAK FA, PAK DA
Russia’s advanced MiG-35 fighter jet to go into serial production in 2019
UAC Plans For Constrained Russian Defense Budgets
The Russian Air Force has been a major customer of the state-sponsored United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) for almost a decade. Since the peak of deliveries to the service passed in 2015, however, the future of the Russian manufacturer’s defense products is likely to be more limited and more focused on new designs—depending, of course, on how much funding is available in the military’s next rearmament program.
UAC delivered 98 combat aircraft to the air force and foreign customers last year, down from 124 aircraft in 2015—when deliveries to the Russian military peaked under the government rearmament program running from 2011-20. The total budget for that time frame is 20 trillion rubles ($336 billion). Deliveries for the remaining years are likely to be decreased because of general cuts to Russia’s federal budget. “We are starting to adjust the government defense orders according to the decision of the Russian government,” Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said in June. Ninety percent of defense orders for this year have already been placed, he added.
With that budget decline in mind, Russian manufacturers are pinning their hopes on a new rearmament program for 2018-25. Its approval is expected this September. But the anticipated amount has already been decreased. The defense ministry initially requested $926.8 billion, but Russian media cited government sources in June who said the final program’s budget will be around $286.5 billion.
UAC Looks Ahead
T-50 fighter prototype to fly with new engine near year-end
Speed is lower priority for future strategic bomber
Russian military to pursue future heavy unmanned aircraft
UAC consolidation planned for 2019
With a smaller budget, the program now is likely to be more focused on new armaments rather than modernization of existing platforms.
For the air force this means completion of the development of Russia’s fifth-generation fighter—the Sukhoi T-50. The aircraft that first took off in January 2010 is being tested now by the air force. The service expects two more prototypes—the 10th and 11th airframes—to join the trials this year, according to Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov. T-50 prototypes now fly with Al-41F engines, but Borisov says trials with new powerplants are expected to start by year-end. The engines, known as Item 30, are developed by Russia’s United Engine Corp.
Deliveries of the new fighters will start after 2018. “The first purchase of the production T-50 aircraft is planned under the next government rearmament program for 2018-25 [emphasis added],” Borisov says.
Until then, the air force is likely to rely on the generation 4++ Sukhoi Su-35, a midlife upgrade of the proven Flanker airframe. The military already operates more than 50 aircraft of the type and will have almost 100 airframes by 2020 [emphasis added, not big numbers]. Nevertheless, the type will not officially be placed in service until year-end, Borisov says. He adds that the fighter will be modernized based on experience gained in its Syrian operations.
Another priority of the next program is likely to be the future strategic bomber developed under the PAK DA program. Its preliminary design was completed in 2016.
According to Borisov, this future aircraft should be capable of remaining airborne for long stretches of time, taking off and landing at any airfield while carrying an abundance of armament—and remaining invisible. “But the requirement for speed is not as important anymore because of the new parameters of the air-delivered weapons,” he says.
According to Vice Premier Dmitry Rogozin, the new bomber may appear in 2023-24. As with fighters, the military has a “fall-back option”—the Tu-160M2—an upgraded Tupolev Tu-160 legacy bomber. It should be ready by 2023 [emphasis added] and will be also used to test technical solutions for PAK DA aircraft.
“The avionics suite that we plan for Tu-160M2 should migrate to PAK DA as much as possible. The airframe and the engines will naturally be new, but where we can harmonize and save on development, we will do this to make these programs cheaper,” Borisov says...
Russia’s State Armaments Program Supports MiG-35 Orders
ZHUKOVSKY, MOSCOW OBLAST—Russian aircraft corporation MiG has been thrown a lifeline by the Russian government.
Russia’s State Armaments Program for 2018-25 supports procurement of the Mikoyan MiG-35 lightweight multirole fighter, Deputy Minister of Defense Yuriy Borisov confirmed at the MAKS Air Show here July 18.
The confirmation came on the opening day of the show, where the MiG-35 has taken center stage in the hopes of luring domestic and foreign military customers. The armaments program, similar to the White Paper process, details how much will be spent on military modernization over the short and medium-term, and which forces should be prioritized or modernized. It seems replacing the Russian Aerospace Force’s remaining Soviet-era MiG-29s with the new MiG-35 is a high enough priority to make the list.
Since the end of the Cold War, the Mikoyan Design Bureau has struggled to gain widespread market attention compared to Sukhoi, which boasts strong state support for its super maneuverable Su-30 multirole fighter, Su-34 tactical bomber and future T-50 fifth-generation warplane, as well as the Sukhoi Superjet commercial airliner. There has even been recent discussions within United Aircraft Corporation about merging Mikoyan and Sukhoi.
Borisov said during a press briefing that the Russian Armed Forces would begin buying aircraft once the State Armaments Program (GPV) is rolled out...
Russia Upgrades Tu-160M2 Bombers
The United Engine Corporation announced that it has begun bench test on their new NK-32 02 engine. The new engine has been designed for the Tupolev-160M2 strategic bomber.
“The bench tests of the new NK-32 02 series engines meant for the strategic missile carrying bomber Tupolev-160M2 are in progress at the public joint stock company PAO Kuznetsov in Samara,” the UEC said.
Tu-160 launching Kh-101 against targets in Syria, November 2015
The upgrade will enhance fuel efficiency and endurance.
“Its endurance has been improved. Equipped with this engine, the Tupolev-160M2 bomber will have far greater capabilities, including a longer range of flight,” the UEC said.
In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to resume the production of the Tu-160M2 strategic bomber. More than 50 bombers have been planned according to Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov as well as six engines should be fully operational for the strategic bomber in the first quarter of 2018.
The Tu-160M2 has a service flight range of more than 12,000 km and a combat radius of 7,300 km. Its two internal bays can carry up to 40,000 kg (88,185 lb) of ordnance including two internal rotary launchers each holding 6× Raduga Kh-55SM/101/102/555 cruise missiles (primary armament) [emphasis added] or 12× AS-16 Kickback short-range nuclear missiles.
Powerful New Engines Take Flight on the Sukhoi Su-57
New and more powerful engines have been installed on the second prototype Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter, which is also known by its Russian acronym PAKFA. The stealthy jet made its first flight with the new "Item 30" powerplants on December 5. The flight lasted for 17 minutes and was uneventful, according to Sukhoi chief test pilot Sergei Bogdan.
The Item 30 engine is described as a generation ahead of the AL-41FM1 that powers the other Su-57s. It provides about two tonnes more thrust at takeoff, at 17,000 kg (37,500 pounds) and therefore gives a notable boost to the Su-57’s thrust-to-weight ratio. Unlike the older practice of one design bureau heading the development process, the new engine is a joint effort of several specialized design houses and engineering teams at manufacturing plants, each taking work packages from the central office of the United Engine Corporation (Russian acronym ODK). Key companies taking part in the development effort for the Item 30 are UMPO in Ufa, Saturn in Rybinsk, and Salut in Moscow.
The Russian defense ministry previously agreed to launch development and limited production of the Su-57 with AL-41FM1 engines, because of the lack of a bona-fide next-generation engine more suitable to the airframe and its systems. Ten development prototypes of the Su-57 made their first flights between 2010 and 2014. The defense ministry has additionally ordered 12 production fighters. Deliveries will commence next year, and under current plans, the Russian air force expects two or three Su-57s by the end of 2018 and the rest in 2019.
But the AL-41FM1 has itself been described as a next-generation engine by the Rybinsk-based Saturn manufacturing company. Saturn (which took over the Moscow-based design house named after Arkhip Lyulka) developed the AL-41FM1 from the AL-31F that powers the Sukhoi Su-27/30/34 family of fighters, via the AL-41F, which never entered service. That larger engine, also known as "Item 20," was intended to power the Mikoyan Article 1.42/1.44 and Sukhoi Su-37. But it did not go into quantity production because both fighter types were shelved after short flight trials. The Russian air force opted instead for a lighter fighter, falling between the MiG-29 and Su-27 in size, for which the original AL-41F developing about 20,000 kg (44,000 pounds) was too big.
Compared with the AL-31F, the AL-41FM1 (also known as "Item 117") has an increased-diameter fan of 934 mm versus 905 mm (36.8 inches versus 35.6 inches) and runs at higher gas temperatures through the use of modern construction materials. It develops 14,500 kg (32,000 pounds) of thrust and weighs about 1,450 kg (3,200 pounds), whereas the AL-31F develops between 12,300 and 12,800 kg (27,000-28,000 pounds) of thrust and weighs about 1,500 kg (3,300 pounds)
Another version of the Item 117 engine, designated AL-41F1S, was selected for the Sukhoi Su-35S multirole fighter that entered service in 2014. The latter was accepted by the Russian air and space force as a transition type between the fourth and fifth generation of fighters. More than half of the nearly 100 Su-35s on order have now been delivered to the Russian air force.
How many Su-57s will be delivered with AL-41FM1 engines before production switches to the new Item 30 powerplants is not yet clear. ODK and UAC officials say that testing of the latter will take a couple of years.