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The Russian Military Merged Thread- Air Force

MarkOttawa

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Engines:

Russia's New Su-57 Stealth Fighter Has A Big Problem That Won't Be Fixed Until 2025

Russia has started testing its new Sukhoi Su-57 PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter with its new next-generation Saturn izdeliye 30 engines. The flight-testing with the new engines will run for several years. In the meantime, the Russians will build a dozen Su-57s equipped with interim Saturn AL-41F1 afterburning turbofans producing 32,500lbs thrust each for operational testing.

“They [the trials] have just begun. They will, of course, last several years," Yuri Slyusar, president of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation told the Moscow-based TASS news agency.

There are few details available about the Saturn izdeliye 30 engines, but the new powerplant is expected to deliver 24,054lbs dry thrust and 39,566lbs of afterburning thrust. However, they should be ready for use around 2025. The Russian air force could buy as many as 160 of the next iteration of Su-57, which will be equipped with the new engines.

Right now, Moscow will only buy 12 Su-57 aircraft, which are expected to be delivered in 2019. Overall, the Russian air force is not likely to buy more than 60 of the initial version of the Su-57 in total...
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/russias-new-su-57-stealth-fighter-has-big-problem-wont-be-23643

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Note improved Kh-101 cruise missile's range, NORAD in mind:

Upgraded Tu-160 Bomber Makes First Flight

The Tupolev Tu-160M2 made its first flight on January 25, and the Russian defense ministry confirmed an order for 10 of the swing-wing supersonic bombers worth 160 billion roubles ($2.8 billion). At the same time, the ministry said that the Tu-160’s main weapon, the Kh-101 cruise missile, has been improved based on combat experience over Syria. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin witnessed the flight as he was visiting the Kazan Aircraft Production Association (KAPO). He described it as “a serious step forward in development of the high-tech sphere and in strengthening the defense capability of this country.” Surprisingly, he suggested that a civilian version of the airplane should be produced. In response, Yuri Slyusar, president of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), announced that a supersonic civilian jet concept is already being studied.

The Tu-160M2 development prototype was completed and rolled out last November. It spent seven minutes in the air on its first flight, making some gentle maneuvers to assess handling qualities at a height of 300 meters (about 1,000 feet).

The Tu-160M2 and the newly suggested civil version will be powered by Kuznetsov NK-32-02 engines each developing a thrust of up to 25 tons (55,000 pounds). This is enough to take the world’s biggest combat jet to an altitude of 18,000 meters (59,000 feet) and to accelerate to Mach 2.0. The reduced fuel burn will confer an increase in range to over 12,000 km (6,500 nm), the range rising further by means of aerial refueling.

In 2015, the Russian defense ministry voiced its desire to procure as many as 50 improved Tu-160s and instructed KAPO to commence work on restoration of the type’s production line. So far, the investment into this has come to 37 billion roubles ($670 million). The initial contract for 10 aircraft will extend production through 2027 [emphasis added].

Between October 2015 and November 2017, Russian forces performed 166 launches of land-attack missiles at targets of ISIS and other terrorist organizations, including approximately 100 from naval platforms and the rest from the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers. Over Syria, the most widely used version of the Kh-101 was that with a 400 kg (880-pound) high-explosive warhead. It also comes with penetrating and cassette-type warheads.

According to Boris Obnosov, general director at the Tactical Missile Corporation (TMC), the recent improvements to the Kh-101 are to do with climate conditions and better planning of flight trajectories. Although the weapon performed well enough and scored many direct hits at assigned targets, there were, reportedly, several cases in which the missiles refused to leave the aircraft.

According to the Russian media, the improved air-launched weapon has a maximum range of approximately 5,500 km (nearly 3,000 nm) [emphasis added], depending on cruise altitude, which ranges from 30 to 10,000 meters (100 to nearly 33,000 feet). It has a circular error probable within five meters (16.5 feet)...

web2-2018-1-tu-160m2-credit-russian-president-website.jpg

The Tu-160M2 prototype returns to land at Kazan after its maiden flight. (Photo: Russian President’s website)
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2018-01-31/upgraded-tu-160-bomber-makes-first-flight

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MarkOttawa

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Yikes!

Russia Just Sent Its Best Fighter Plane to Syria
The Su-57 could soon encounter its rival, the F-22 Raptor, over the Middle East

Moscow sent two of its most advanced fighter jets to Syria yesterday. The Su-57s flew into Khmeimim air base yesterday, representing a major escalation of Russian air power in the region. The deployment is a chance to test the jet in real-world conditions, but Russia risks losing the aircraft to guerrilla warfare—particularly drone attacks.

Last night, video circulating on social media purported to show two Su-57 jets landing at Khmeimim, Russian’s main air base in Syria. It's good to be skeptical of such rumors at first, since a lot of fake military news circulates on social media, such as China deploying its only aircraft carrier to Syria and American destroyers in the Black Sea suffering EMP-like blackouts due to Russia wonder weapons.

Early video of the Su-57 incident was shaky and abrupt, and nobody expected the Russians to send the Su-57 to Syria. Still, as more sightings, video and confirmation piled up it became clear the deployment was real...
https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a18659251/russia-su-57-syria-f-22/

Plus this tweet:
https://twitter.com/DefenseBaron/status/966744351404642304

Kevin Baron‏ @DefenseBaron

JUST IN: Gen. Mike Holmes, @USAF_ACC, says at #AWS18 reported arrival of Russian stealth SU-57 fighter jets to Syria “raises the level of complexity for the (USAF) crew’s to deal with.”

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What's the Su-57 really all about?

Close-up photos of Russia’s new ‘stealth’ jet reveal its true purpose — and it’s a big threat to the US

    Russia’s fifth-generation fighter jet that made an appearance at Russia’s Victory Day parade isn’t really a stealth jet.
    The side-mounted radars on the Su-57 allow it to excel at a tactic called “beaming” that can trick the radars on US stealth jets.
    But it’s unclear now if Russia will ever produce the Su-57 in reasonable quantities.

Russia’s “fifth-generation,” “combat-tested,” “stealth” fighter jet has a lot of dubious claims made about it, but recent close-up photography of the plane from Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9 reveals it’s just not a stealth jet.

Russia has tried to sell the plane as a stealth jet to India, but India backed out. Considering a shrinking economy and defense spending, it’s unclear now if Russia will ever produce the Su-57 in reasonable quantities.

Business Insider asked a senior scientist working on stealth aircraft how to evaluate the plane’s stealth, and the results were not good.

Take a look at the pictures below and see if you can spot what’s wrong [see original]:

The scientist, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of stealth work, pointed out six major problems from the pictures.

First, take a look at the seams between the flaps on the aircraft – they’re big. For reference, look at the US’s F-22, the stealthiest fighter jet on earth:

The flaps at the end of the wing have very tight seams, which don’t scatter radar waves, thereby maintaining a low profile.

Secondly, look at the Su-57’s vertical rear tails. They have a wide gap where they stray from the fuselage. Keeping a tight profile is essential to stealth, according to the scientist.

Look at the F-35’s rear tails for reference; they touch the whole way.

Third, look at the nose of the Su-57. It has noticeable seams around the canopy, which kills stealth. The F-35 and F-22 share a smooth, sloped look.

It’s likely Russia doesn’t have the machining technology to produce such a surface. The actual nose of the Su-57 looks bolted on with noticeable rivets.

Finally, take a look at the underside of the Su-57; it has rivets and sharp edges everywhere. “If nothing else convinces that no effort at [stealth] was attempted, this is the clincher,” the scientist said.
Russia didn’t even try at stealth, but that’s not the purpose [read on]...
ba1076a52f1e6d30c08494aa3303585d3811589f-800x451.jpg


https://www.businessinsider.nl/russian-su-57-stealth-jet-photos-reveal-its-a-threat-to-f-22-f-35-2018-5/

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And...it looks like Russia is pulling the plug on the SU-57.

Russia admits defeat on its 'stealth' F-35 killer by canceling mass production of the Su-57 fighter jet

Russia announced earlier this month that the Su-57, its proposed entry into the world of fifth-generation stealth-fighter aircraft, would not see mass production.

"The plane has proven to be very good, including in Syria, where it confirmed its performance and combat capabilities," Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on Russian TV on July 2, as reported by The Diplomat.

But despite Russia's nonstop praise for the plane and dubious claims about its abilities, Borisov said, per The Diplomat: "The Su-57 is considered to be one of the best aircrafts produced in the world. Consequently, it does not make sense to speed up work on mass-producing the fifth-generation aircraft."

Justin Bronk, a combat-aviation expert at the Royal United Services Institute, told Business Insider that Borisov's comments "could be charitably described as an unreasonably optimistic reason why they stopped production."

Basically, Borisov said the plane is so much better than everything out there that Russia doesn't need to build it — a claim Bronk finds unlikely.

Instead, Russia will stick to what it's good at, with upgraded fourth-generation aircraft in service instead of the Su-57, which was originally meant to replace the older fighters.

The Su-57, a plane designed to function as a killer of US F-35 and F-22 stealth jets with an innovative array of radars, saw a brief period of combat over Syria, but the deployment lasted only days and didn't pit the jet against any threats befitting a world-class fighter.

...

More at link above.
 

MarkOttawa

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Let's see what's actually delivered when:

Su-57 and MiG-35 Land Russian Orders During Army 2018

During the Army 2018 military-technical forum held August 21-26 at Kubinka, west of Moscow, the Russian defense ministry signed a total of 32 contracts with 20 Russian manufacturers. The value of the orders exceeded 130 billion roubles (nearly $2 billion) and calls for the delivery of 600 pieces of equipment and the modernization of 1,500 more.

The signing took place on August 22, followed by a press briefing by deputy defense minister Alexei Krivoruchko, who commented, “Fulfilment of these contracts will see the Russian armed forces taking the most modern weapons, with a focus on precision strike systems and munitions for them.”

He did not release any figures except one. With previous agreements taken into account, the Russian defense ministry shall receive 15 Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighters [emphasis added]. “We find this airplane as state-of-the-art," Krivoruchko said. "We shall receive 15 such aircraft new from the factory, with the first one due next year. This aircraft is a design success as it surpasses all of its foreign analogues, has undergone all sorts of trials, and gained some combat experience.” The initial production batch will be followed by shipments of more aircraft in improved versions that are now in development. In particular, the customer expects an upgraded variant, now undergoing flights trials, to become available in quantities from 2023.

Also speaking at the briefing, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) president Yuri Slyusar said that judging by their price-performance ratios, the Su-57 and MiG-35 represent the best solution in their classes, respectively. He described the contracts signed on August 22 as those for quantity production of both types. The Su-57 will provide the base for an aircraft family, as the Su-27 did, he added. “The Su-57 is a basic platform that will develop, undergo modernization, and re-engining. In the process, we will install more and more advanced systems, so as to expand the combat capabilities and functionality of the baseline aircraft. This shall shape the future of our aviation for many years ahead.”..

Although there is no official announcement on figures for the long-awaited MiG-35 order, industry sources claimed the initial contract is only for six aircraft [emphasis added]...
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/defense/2018-08-27/su-57-and-mig-35-land-russian-orders-during-army-2018

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Note fighter escorts--serious complicating factor for RCAF?

NORAD Released A Photo Of A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Shadowing A Russian Tu-95MS Bear Bomber During Intercept Off Alaska

This time the Bear bombers were escorted by Su-35 jets.

On Sept. 11, at approximately 10 PM EDT, two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jets “positively identified and intercepted two Russian Tu-95MS A“Bear-H” bombers west of Alaska.

Nothing special then, considered that a similar intercept had occurred on Sept. 1. However, this time the Russian bombers, flying in international airspace but inside the Alaskan ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) – a special zone, that can extend well beyond a country’s territory where aircraft without authorization may be identified as a threat and treated as an enemy aircraft, leading to an interception and VID (Visual Identification) by fighter aircraft – were accompanied by two Russian Su-35 “Flanker” fighter jets.

F-22s are among the aircraft in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) scrambled by NORAD in support of Operation Noble Eagle, launched in the aftermath of 9/11 to prevent a recurrence of Sept. 11, 2001-style air attacks in U.S. and Canada.

This is not the first time some Flanker jets operate alongside the Russian bombers on their long range sorties. Indeed, this is what this Author wrote commenting the previous intercept earlier this month:

    "Such close encounters are quite frequent and may also involve fighters, as happened in 2017, when the Bears were escorted by two Su-35S Flanker-E jets, and an A-50 AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aircraft. Anyway, this is the second time that Russian Bears pay a visit to the Alaskan ADIZ: on May 12, 2018, two F-22s were launched to perform a VID and escort two Tu-95 on a similar mission in the Northern Pacific."

In fact, in May 2017, a “mini-package” of two Russian nuclear-capable Tu-95MS Bear bombers escorted by two Su-35S Flanker-E jets and supported by an A-50 Mainstay flew inside the Alaskan ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone), and was intercepted by two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors some 50 NM to the south of Chariot, Alaska.

Here’s what we wrote back then:

    "The Su-35 is a 4++ generation aircraft characterized by supermaneuverability. Although it’s not stealth, it is equipped with a Irbis-E PESA (Passive Electronically-Scanned Array) and a long-range IRST – Infrared Search and Tracking – system capable, (according to Russian sources…) to detect stealth planes like the F-35 at a distance of over 90 kilometers.

    […]

    In my opinion the “mini package” was launched as a consequence of the increased flight activity in Alaska related to the Northern Edge exercise, confirming that the Russians closely observe what happens in the Alaskan area.

    This time, they wanted to showcase their ability to plan a complex long-range sortie as well as the Flanker’s readiness to escort its own HVA (high value asset), the Bear, during operations at strategic distance.

    The composition of this package is also worth a comment.

    The presence of the Mainstay should not be underestimated. It was flying well behind the Flanker and Bear aircraft with a specific purpose. As an AEW (Airborne Early Warning) platform the A-50 is believed to embed some ESM (Electronic Support Measures): in other words, it is able to detect far away targets as well as able to sniff radar, radio and data link emissions. Furthermore, Raptors in QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) *usually* fly with external fuel tanks and Luneburg lenses: this means that they are (consciously) visible to radars. In such conditions, although it can’t “characterize” the clean F-22’s signature, the Mainstay can at least gather some data about the interceptors’ radar emissions (if any) and observe and study their tactics.

    Therefore, as frequently happens on both sides since the Cold War, on May 3, the Russians most probably carried out another simulated long-range strike mission but with a precise ELINT (ELectronics INTelligence) objective: the Flankers and Bears were acting as a “decoy” package to test the American scramble tactics and reaction times, whereas the Mainstay, in a back position, tried to collect as much signals and data as possible about the US fighters launched to intercept them."

General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, the NORAD Commander, commented the latest event in a public release as follows: “The homeland is no longer a sanctuary and the ability to deter and defeat threats to our citizens, vital infrastructure, and national institutions starts with successfully detecting, tracking, and positively identifying aircraft of interest approaching U.S. and Canadian airspace. NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, as well as fighters to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response.”
https://theaviationist.com/2018/09/13/norad-released-a-photo-of-a-u-s-air-force-f-22-raptor-shadowing-a-russian-tu-95ms-bear-bomber-during-intercept-off-alaska/

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MarkOttawa

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Quite the flight for several aircraft, video at original:

Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers land in Venezuela after 10,000km transatlantic flight (VIDEO)

Venezuela has welcomed the arrival of Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers as an opportunity to demonstrate its resolve to defend the nation against possible foreign military intervention, with the help of “friends” if need be.

Two Tu-160 strategic bombers made a gracious landing at Simón Bolívar International Airport on Monday where they were greeted by the honor guard of the Venezuelan air force. Wearing orange pilot suits and combat helmets, Russian servicemen descended onto the runway where they were eager to present their colleagues with a scaled model of the 'White Swan' bomber, which they had just flown over 10,000 kilometers to reach the Caribbean shores in order to take part in “combined operational flights” with the Venezuelan Air Force.

    We are getting prepared to defend Venezuela when it is needed.

And Venezuela "will do it with our friends who advocate respect-based relations between states,” Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said after the two bombers, together with An-124 transport and an Il-62 plane, landed in Venezuela [emphasis added]...

While the Russian delegation painted their arrival to be a rare friendly visit, the Venezuelan Defence Ministry noted that 'Russia-Venezuela 2018' operational flights will represent a “demonstration of strength.” The training, Caracas maintains, will foster military-technical cooperation and facilitate the exchange of practical experience between the two militaries...

The flight to Venezuela over the Atlantic Ocean, the Barents, Norwegian and Caribbean Seas did not go unnoticed, as Norwegian F-16 fighter jets shadowed the Russian planes during part of their flight [emphasis added, see below], even though according to the Russian Defense Ministry the flight was conducted “in strict accordance with the international regulations on the use of airspace.” The bombers’ deployment to the Latin American nation follows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s visit to Moscow last week...

DuEkxSaWkAEojtp.jpg

https://www.rt.com/news/446125-tu-160-bombers-venezuela-land/

Plus RAF--best such missile in world?

RAF Typhoons Launch With Meteor BVR Air-to-Air Missiles For the First Time During QRA Mission

QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) mission was sparked by Russian Tu-160 bombers activity off Scotland. But no intercept took place this time.

RAF Typhoons in QRA at RAF Lossiemouth, UK, “were scrambled today as a precautionary measure against unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest. However, no intercept took place and the Typhoons subsequently recovered,” a UK MoD release states.

Indeed, two Russian Air Force Tu-160 bombers, tail numbers RF-94100 and RF-94108 based on their radio activity, skirted the British Isles, reportedly on their way to Venezuela...

[More plots at original]
Mil Radar @MIL_Radar

10 DEC 0805z: Two RuAF Tu-160s now over the North Atlantic heading south west routing to Venezuela

DuCniBIWoAEVb-6

...
Whilst QRA missions are launched every now and then, the real news this time is that the two Typhoon fighters were carrying the MBDA-developed Meteor air-to-air missiles.

MBDA Meteor is considered one of the most lethal BVR (Beyond Visual Range) AAMs currently available. One of its peculiarities is the use of ramjet ramjet propulsion system – solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket. “This ‘ramjet’ motor provides the missile with thrust all the way to target intercept, providing the largest No-Escape Zone of any air-to-air missile. To ensure total target destruction, the missile is equipped with both impact and proximity fuses and a fragmentation warhead that detonates on impact or at the optimum point of intercept to maximise lethality,” the vendor website says.

Meteor has been developed by a group of European partners led by MBDA to meet the needs of six European nations: the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden. The BVR AAM will equip Eurofighter Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen and will also be integrated with the F-35...
https://theaviationist.com/2018/12/10/raf-typhoons-launch-with-meteor-bvr-air-to-air-missiles-for-the-first-time-during-qra-mission/

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reveng

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Retired AF Guy said:
If I remember correctly this is the second time this has happened.

You are correct, it's definitely not the first time.
 

Cloud Cover

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I don’t understand how sending just two expensive aircraft that can be blown out the sky by the USA makes Venezuela feel like they have a reliable friend from a goodwill visit.
A joint Russian-Chinese airfield with hardened shelters, munitions, technicians, SA 400, a few TUv160/bombers, maybe a half dozen interceptors ( J15 and Su30) , 8 flights of  Orland 10’s packages (24 platforms + spares) and a permanent naval and submarine base, and establish a special forces “ training camp” might have some interesting impacts.

That ought to distract the US, tie down about 300 us aircraft and countless personnel and limit strategic operations elsewhere.  In return, the PeePee tapes won’t be released.
 

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NORAD have to look south? But any Bears won't be polar (apologies). Start of major piece, lots of imagery:
Venezuela Agreed To Let Russia Set Up A Bomber Outpost On This Caribbean Island: Reports
A Russian base with strategic aircraft in the Western Hemisphere would significantly change the regional security situation for the United States.

Russian media outlets are reporting that the Kremlin is planning to establish a forward outpost on the Venezuelan island of La Orchila in the Caribbean Sea and base nuclear-capable Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, two of which just wrapped up a recent deployment to the country, at the site. If true, this could help bolster the embattled regime of Venezuela’s dictatorial president Nicolás Maduro and would significantly change the strategic reality in the Western Hemisphere for the United States.

Russian newspapers Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Kommersant both reported the possible basing deal on Dec. 12, 2018. Russia had sent a pair of Tu-160s to Venezuela on Dec. 10, 2018, and those bombers left the country on Dec. 14, 2018. This was the third visit by these type of aircraft to the Latin American country since 2008 and they conducted a 10-hour long-range patrol in the Caribbean for the first time ever during this trip.

“Our strategic bombers will not only not have to return to Russia every time, but also won't perform aerial refueling while on a patrol mission in the Americas,” retired Colonel Shamil Gareyev, formerly chief of the Uzbekistan Defense Ministry's Operations Department and now a commentator on military affairs, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. “Our Tu-160 aircraft arrive to [sic] their base in Venezuela, conduct flights, execute their missions and are then replaced on a rotating basis. This is how it should be done.”

So far, there are no details about what the Russian outpost might consist of, what forces might go there and when, and what timeframe the Kremlin and Venezuela might have agreed to for starting the project at all. La Orchila, which sits less than 500 miles from Puerto Rico and less than 1,500 miles from Florida, has significant space for new and expanded military facilities, though, as seen below.

Having a forward base capable of accommodating strategic aircraft would enable Russia to conduct flights near the United States on a regular basis, something it is otherwise largely incapable of doing at present. As it stands now, Russian aircraft are generally only able to fly sorties in the vicinity of Alaska without the commitment of substantial support assets.

For the Kremlin, the imbalance has long been glaring. The Russian government routinely complains about the large number of intelligence-gathering and other missions that Western military aircraft, especially those from the United States, fly near its borders on a regular basis...

Duuwir2WkAA9iCX.jpg

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/25570/venezuela-agreed-to-let-russia-set-up-a-bomber-outpost-on-this-carribean-island-reports

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MilEME09

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https://americanmilitarynews.com/2018/12/russian-newspaper-russia-to-set-up-nuclear-bombers-on-caribbean-island/?utm_source=militarymemes&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=alt

Another angle on the story, if this was the 60s or 70s we would be looking at a new version of the cuban missile crisis. I doubt this will make much of a mumor though after a few days
 

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A Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber blew up while trying to land in an arctic blizzard killing 3 and injuring a 4th.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/russian-bomber-explodes-during-landing-killing-3

 

garb811

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tomahawk6 said:
A Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber blew up while trying to land in an arctic blizzard killing 3 and injuring a 4th.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/russian-bomber-explodes-during-landing-killing-3
Here's the video of the crash as it happened.

ТУ-22М3 (Мэш)
 

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Hard landing for sure. I have seen a lot of them but I cannot recall any aircraft breaking in two like that.  That appears to me to be a very serious design flaw: either that or the result of repetitious overstressing that hasn't been addressed. I don't know where the surviving crewmember was sitting but he has definitely used up at least 8 of 9 lives. 
 

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very graphic illustration of Newton's law.  As for rapid rates of descent, AC621 came down at least that hard in YYZ and while it did cause one engine to sever from the wings it didn't snap the aircraft in two.  There were DC8's as well that did the same thing.  I wonder how much weight he was carrying?  There has to have been a lot of momentum  built up to cause that breakage and that can only come from weight and vertical velocity if I remember my physics correctly.  I am going to guess that the vertical descent was not that much beyond specs which suggests that he had excess weight on board.  Pure speculation on my part as my specialty is in rules and regs and not structures.
 

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The video adds credence to the adage that 'most initial news reports aren't accurate.'

Aviation experts say it's likely that a vertical wind gust hit the plane.
I didn't see any abrupt changes in descent, either upwards or down;  the plane just seemed to hammer in at the same rate.

Witnesses described seeing the long-range bomber exploding and breaking apart while still in the air.
Nope.  a) not still in the air;  b) broke in half first, then;  c) explosion.


It does add credence to my personal belief though, that "the more pilots I know, the more I prefer jumping out of the aircraft."  :nod:
 

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Video of another Backfire that comes in for several hard landings and does not blowup. Mind you clear weather landing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUiowVPZIpE

 
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