Maybe they want to expand their strategic missile carrier fleet... the Bear have excellent range and payload capacity... being subsonic they can carry lots of weapons externally without effecting flight speed and range too much, so to loiter around the Arctic with hypersonic missiles able to destroy AEGIS class cruisers would be a very useful thing... ie no longer part of the strategic attack force and more in line with B-1Bs based in Norway
Well, having many more strategic bombers is like having many more Boreys, there are a number of nuclear warheads according to the arms limitation treaties, so it does not make sense to have many more carriers of those nuclear warheads.
The question, as I said above, is that it no longer makes sense to have the strategic missile carriers in Ukrainka, that is, closer to the enemy than the Tu-22M3 of Belaya.
Until 2009 you had Tu-22M3 in Vozdvizhenka and Mongokhto, therefore Ukrainka was in second line.
Now if you need Tu-22M3 in the Pacific you have to travel from Irkutsk.
If you look at the map, the distance from Belaya and Ukrainka to Tiksi, where those strategic bombers could go out into the Arctic towards Canada, is the same: about 2300 km.
Therefore it is much more logical to put the strategic weapon in Siberia and bring the Tu-22M3 / PAK-DA again near the Pacific.
However, if you simply change the Tu-95 to Belaya and the Tu-22 to Ukrainka, the transfer (exchange) means that you need 6, 8 or more years to recover the real operation,
Especially since a large part of the staff is not going to change of air base, and you will even lose some of them in the VKS.
You cannot afford to have the entire eastern half of the country without really operational bombers, especially the strategic carriers whose main mission is to be in position from day D to hour H in a MAD situation.
It simply cannot be done, so the only remedy is to extend the service of the Ukrainka Base while in Belaya you enter a new regiment with new planes and meanwhile you reopen another Tu.22M3 base on the Pacific coast.
And this is going to take time because the manufacturing rate of the Tu-160 is going to be very slow, no more than 3-4 a year. And it will probably be the same with the PAK-DA, if you need 80 to 100 do not count on more than 5 or 6 a year, from +2030 to 2050.
Long Range Aviation reform is a very long term thing
Maybe the plan is to only upgrade 60 Tu-22M3Ms is because they are the ones being removed from service first... perhaps upgraded Tu-95MSMs are going to replace the Tu-22M3Ms in the long range border patrol with missiles to sink ships role.... with their flight speed the Tu-22M3M might get izd 810 long range missiles and a big AESA radar and operate like slow MiG-31s... perhaps even air launched S-500s too....
But by the time the PAK DA starts coming into operation there will only be 60 Tu-22M3M left at best and they will share radar and engines and avionics with the Tu-160s and everything but the engines with the upgraded Bears... as the PAK DA is introduced it will displace Bears and the Bears might displace the Backfires... I rather suspect what they do with the Backfires depends on the political situation at the time... if it is still this bad then Backfires with air to air missiles and an enormous AESA radar would be interesting as a long range CAP aircraft for patrolling the arctic monitoring things...
Well, they have about 50 Tu-22M3 in reserve with a very short use, so they have many hours of flight left until the first PAK-DA arrive.
the modernization of the Tu-95MSM and the Tu-22M3M must be seen only as an intermediate step to act as a bridge until the new aircraft are ready.
Borisov already said that they should concentrate on new types of weapons and not continue with old Soviet projects.
But of course everything took time and while it is called, we must extend the life of the planes that are in the inventory right now
But of course everything took time and while new aircraft are not available, we must extend the life of the planes that are in the inventory right now
- In the very long term all those Tu-22 bases will be replaced by PAK-DA and finally also the Tu-95MSM of Ukrainka, once the two Tu-160M regiments are fully operational.
It could be that Olenya's heavy bombers would be transferred back to the Navy and the Mongjokto squad reopened, but they would still be replaced by PAK-DA in the long run.
Upgrades only serve to extend service life for as long as it takes until new aircraft are built. It is something necessary, but in which you do not have to invest too much money or effort.
The Bears could be tranfered to the Navy to cover the northern sea route, but also potentially to carry lots of hypersonic missiles that could be launched at enemy ships sitting in the Arctic ocean hoping to potshot both ICBMs heading over the pole but also engage Russian bombers flying to their launch positions...
Having Bears patrolling the airspace there already and armed with 5,000km hypersonic missiles optimised for hitting ships instead of cities would be an excellent way of dealing with such threats...
No, the Bears will not transfer, they have fulfilled their role and their days are numbered.
Soviet hardware has a lot of history and is beautiful, especially for those of us who are nostalgic for the 80s, but everything comes to an end and they will have to be replaced, it does not make sense to open new units just to keep old planes longer.[/quote]