An unusual incident took place in the skies over Japanese Sea.
According to Sputnik in fact, on Nov. 3, 2019 a Russian Tu-160 (NATO reporting name Blackjack) supersonic bomber performing a routine training flight was reportedly intercepted by two US-built F-35A stealth fighters.
The bomber lit its afterburners and left the Lightning IIs behind.
The F-35As tried to pursuit the bomber, but the Blackjack was too fast for the stealth jets.
The Tu-160 was still visible on radar screens, but it accelerated to Mach 2 and quickly left the fighters behind.
Noteworthy while the Tu-160 has a top speed of Mach 2.05 (1570 mph) the F-35A reaches Mach 1.6 (1200 mph).
The Tupolev Tu-160 “Beliy Lebed” is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing, strategic bomber. The Blackjack is the largest and heaviest combat aircraft, the fastest bomber currently in use, and is the largest and heaviest variable-sweep wing airplane ever flown.
The aircraft entered operational service in 1987, and as of 2016 the Russian Air and Space Force (RuASF) fields 16 Tu-160s. The Blackjack fleet has been undergoing upgrades to electronics systems since the early 2000s. The first upgraded Tu-160M has been delivered in December 2014.
In January 2018 the first Tu-160M2 prototype performed the maiden flight.
The Tu-160M2 is essentially a prototype of a next generation variant of the venerable Blackjack and represents a huge effort undertaken by Russia to modernize its bomber fleet.
The new bomber feature new mission systems and is powered by upgraded versions of the existing Kuznetsov NK-32 afterburning turbofan. The upgraded engines are more fuel-efficient and more reliable than the original ones.
Russian plans to buy about fifty Tu-160M2.
Photo credit: Alex Beltyukov via Wikipedia
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