Military Aviation

Bears Forever! Watch the first flight of the upgraded Tupolev Tu-95MSM strategic bomber

The heavily upgraded Tupolev Tu-95MSM will be capable of carrying eight missiles instead of four and will feature new flight control and navigation and communications systems.

Released on Aug. 23, 2020 the interesting video in this post features the maiden flight of the modernized Tupolev Tu-95MSM strategic bomber.

As reported by Russian Aviation, Yuri Slyusar, CEO of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), told Zvezda TV Channel that the heavily upgraded Tupolev Tu-95MSM will be capable of carrying eight missiles instead of four and will feature new flight control and navigation and communications systems.

Moreover, the iconic bomber received new weapons and aircraft control systems, flight control and navigation equipment, an onboard communications suite, a radar and data recording equipment. The upgrade will boost Tu-95MSM’s efficiency of its combat employment.

“A possibility has appeared to carry eight instead of four missiles, i.e. to increase its weapon payload two-fold and extend the aircraft’s service life considerably,” the UAC chief said.

The UAC head has confirmed to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Army-2020 international military and technical forum on Aug. 23 that the flight tests of the first prototype of the Tu-95MSM strategic missile-carrying bomber had begun in Russia.

The Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber (NATO reporting name: Bear) was developed to carry long-range strategic air-launched cruise missiles and entered operational service in 1957. The Bear is the world’s fastest production turboprop bomber aircraft and one of the components of Russia’s nuclear triad.

In the late 1960s, an extensive modification of the Tu-95 resulted in Tu-142 long-range antisubmarine aircraft; later on, based on its Tu-142M modification, Tu-95MC strategic bomber aircraft carrying long-range cruise missiles was developed.

Various variants of the Tu-95 were in operational service until the early 1990s; they underwent quite a number of major upgrades for engines, weapon systems and avionics. 

Photo credit: United Aircraft Corporation

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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