Garry you dont get it that Russian Bombers are first essentially nuclear triad then as secondary conventional cruise missile carrier , infact if the primary objective is not to be a nuclear carrier then there is no need for strategic bomber as they have multiple asset to do the job.
If there was one leg of the nuclear triad that could 100% always get through then what would the use of the other two legs be?
The bomber force was never part of the triad because it could always make it to its target... its advantage was that it was flexible... something the other two legs were not... SSBNs can't surface in enemy waters to say "Hey we are serious... if you continue doing what you are doing we will get used." In times of tension actually choosing NOT to deploy your bombers sends a clear message to the other side that you want to talk and not start a war both sides will lose.
Equally if the other side is not taking you seriously you can launch your bombers and have them fly to their initial staging points as an option you can step back from if the other side takes note and starts to cooperate. Strategic aircraft also have the added benefit in that they can be used as heavy bombers in conventional conflicts... which Russia is now taking advantage of adding Ms to the designations... ie Tu-160M, Tu-95SM16M, and Tu-22M3M.
The bomber force is the only part of the triad you actually ever want to use, which makes it more useful.
BTW for jobs this vital you want several ways of doing the same thing in case the other side develops a capability that seriously degrades the effectiveness on one technology or another.
In a Nuclear war or in case if pre-emptive strike , Russian Bombers would get approximately 20 minutes to reach its launching point after take off , the question is which aircraft can do that quicly a subsonic or supersonic one.
The idea of a surprise attack happening without any warning at all is pretty unlikely. With humanint (ie spies) neither side would be able to mount a full scale nuclear attack "by surprise"... and a half assed attack would likely backfire because if you don't use your full force straight away you might find the remaining force is not available to use when you want it.
BTW the bombers don't need to reach their launching points within 20 minutes of takeoff, they just need to be away from their air bases 20 minutes after the attack is started.
I would bet its supersonic and time is of crucial importance for Strategic Bomber even if ICBM reaches its target first. IF the Russian get prior intelligence and can itself do a preemptive strike then too a Supersonic bomber can do the job well.
Well that could become a problem because a hypersonic aircraft is going to be much more expensive to buy, to operate, and take rather longer to prepared for a flight than a subsonic bomber... realistically the bombers will already be prepared because of the heightened tensions and already in the air before either side even decides to strike... it is the only reason both aircraft (Bear and Blackjack) even need inflight refuelling as both aircraft can already fly to their launching positions from their air bases with internal fuel...
A Bomber like B-2 depends purely on Stealth to do its task and its been proven in Kosovo conflict that even against an enemy with 60's AD it needed jammer support which itself defeats the purpose of stealth not to mention that with Sensor Fusion and Bistatic radar you can pretty much track stealth from long distance which takes our Survivability by Stealth from B-2 arsenal , which would be the same fate of any Russian Bomber using Subsonic Approach.
The only US radars that could detect and track stealth aircraft are enormous and largely fixed and just after a massive nuclear strike would have serious difficulty operating in highly ionised airspace. Equally the Tu-160 and Tu-95 will not get within 4,000km of their targets with the Kh-101 and Kh-102, which will both be flying very low and very fast. You pretty much need an IAD like Russias to stop a dedicated cruise missile attack and after the ICBMs and SLBMs have detonated over the west that is not something they will have any more.
I think a supersonic stealthy Tu-160 would meet the needs and it would be within the reach of russian scientific community and industry to deliver it.
I disagree. The Tu-160 is expensive to operate and is not actually that much more survivable than a Tu-95 even though it looks very different. The choice is to either go very fast or go very stealthy. It very much depends on the investment and results of scramjet technology.
Think of them at a point where everyone uses propellers and jet engines are new. Supersonic flight is now becoming possible but needs some work in aerodynamics and engine power. With the promise of ramjets, or a variable cycle turbojet that can act like a ramjet at high speed (like the engine on the SR-71) then speeds of mach 3-4 are perfectly possible with current materials, though with a few design compromises. With scramjet technology perfected however then you are pretty much heat limited to any speed you can manage.
I personally think a flying wing with a horizontal tail for supercruising (mach 1.5) which would make it a very difficult target for a 4++ gen interceptor, without making the project enormously expensive. Use these aircraft to replace a range of airframes to save money, and then invest in scramjets and make hypersonic long range missiles. Perfect such things will add technology that will make a hypersonic bomber practical. PAK DA2 can be hypersonic.
True Golden Bullet against a far less capable enemy that US picks and chooses to fight against.
Russia doesn't go around picking fights but sometimes they will have conflict thrust upon them... effective bombers will be useful for Russia too.
The Tu-160 is a fantastic aircraft, considering its introduction date. Also, Russia does not have the number of worldwide bases the USA has. Russia also has a VAST area to defend.
The Tu-160 is a cruise missile carrier first and bomber second... it is not an interceptor, though an interceptor version was proposed (Tu-160P). The problem with the Tu-160 is that there are not enough airframes and no chance to build more, so they need a new design.
How many supersonic stealth bombers do you think the US can afford to build? How many do you think Russia can afford?
More importantly why spend money on capabilities you may never need? Going straight to a hypersonic bomber is risky... the normal progression is start small... a missile or weapon or small fighter with a scramjet engine... develop the new technologies and materials to make it fly and then look at scaling it up to larger aircraft like bombers and perhaps civilian passenger jets...
AH-64 self deployment from US to Europe ? GarryB, where you have read this notion ?
It is absolutely impossible for an AH-64 to cover more than 4700 km only with internal fuel and external tanks.
For emergency use only, but part of the design requirements.
Tu-22M3 has a combat range much higher than that originally "sold" to West in URSS's era(and also at the time both DIA adn CIA had much more than a solid suspect on the real combat range figure of "Backfire" bomber) it is a real "open secret" by now
Actually yes and no. The CIA was adamant that the Backfire (Tu-22M2) had a flight range of 6,000km which made it a strategic bomber for a one way mission. The actual range was much less than that. The new engines in the Tu-22M3 improved performance significantly and there are suggestions that 6,000km is an underestimate, but either way both aircraft lost their inflight refuelling probes.
Its primary task was :
1) To sink CVBGs in plain Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean Sea with Kh-22 .
2) To interrupt NATO's North European resupply sea lanes.
4) To utterly destroy NATO's main Airfields ,C4 and tactical nuclear weapons storage with barrages of Kh-15.
Actually number 4 was the main priority for DA Backfires, plus of course hitting SAM sites and major radar facilities with ARM guided Kh-22Ms as well. The jobs 1 and 2 were for the Naval Aviation Backfires.
Both the platform in itself and its unique weapon selection put Tu-22M3 in a completely different league in respect to F-15E.
I think there is a chart on Mr Kopps website showing one Backfire performing the mission of two F-111s with inflight refuelling support.
I think if Brahmos II is adapted to be carried externally on the Backfire it will remain a formidable aircraft for some time to come.
I would love to see NZ buy a dozen Backfires and give them a Tu-22M3M upgrade... at least they would be impressive at air shows and could fly to Australia without needing external fuel tanks... plus I think they are