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Regarding this thread, I agree the comparison is totally absurd as the planes are fundamentally different... like trying to compare a Basketball team with a Soccer team.
The B-52 is a strategic and theatre bomber designed as a deterrent with nuclear weapons and a support weapon for engagements against small countries with conventional weapons.
B-52 was not designed as a support weapon it was designed solely as a strategic bomber. B-52s were able to perform conventional bombing and so were also used in that capacity. More recently the B-52s were modified to interface with precision weapons, but they were defintiely not designed from the onset to do that job.
The Tu-95 is a strategic aircraft only, and it is not a bomber, it is a cruise missile carrier and is not for expanding the empire or controlling the natives.
The Tu-95MS16 could easily perform its primary mission today, because the externally mounted missiles are now Kh-101s which allow a standoff range of 5,000km... very few air defence networks have that sort of a reach 5 hours after being struck by SLBMs and ICBMs.
After a nuclear strike the B-52s would probably get through as well, but their problem is that they are not just strategic bombers, they are theatre bombers as well... a role they should be more or less capable of... you wouldn't send them in until the major SAMs have been dealt with, but the obvious problem is that the proliferation of SAMs like Pantsir that can reach high targets and low targets while being small and mobile enough to play hide and seek complicates things for large slow bombers.
Either aircraft could be replaced by a slightly modified airliner, with greatly reduced cost of operation.
Actually the real problem for both aircraft would be engines... fit both aircraft with high bypass modern jet engines and the operational costs would drop... the Tu-95 had an aerodynamics upgrade in the 1980s to the Tu-142 specification and its flight performance is perfectly adequate.
Bother aircraft have "adequate" performance. My point was that the job of both aircraft could be performed with greater efficiency by a modern airliner (747, 767, 777, 787, Airbus) since neither have any capability not shared (or in most cases exceeded by) these airliners. Of course one would have to modify an airliner to carry weapons internally or externally but that would present little engineering challenge.
I think a wing upgrade for the Buff and most importantly modern high bypass jet engines and its performance would slightly improve and its fuel consumption would plummet.
Boeing did look at replacing the 8 old turbofans on the B-52H with 4 modern turbofans, and it would have significantly improved range and lowered fuel and maintenance costs. There were problems with limiting redundancy of certain systems however. The B-62 has 6 separate but not entirely redundant hydraulic systems that are driven by 6 of the 8 engines. With 4 "only" 4 engines these 6 hydraulic systems would no longer be independent, ie 2 systems would need to be powered by a single engine, so a single engine loss could cause a catastrophic loss of systems. Obviously a solution could be found but it made what first looked like a simple change to 4 modern engines into a much more complicated redesign of systems. I'm not sure what a wing upgrade for the B-52 wold accomplish, we had no problem with the wings.
If we were to look a just aircraft performance the clear winner, in almost every catagory, would be the B-52H. The B-52 is faster, has longer range, higher cruise speed, higher ceiling, can carry a bigger load, higher climb rate and has more modern electronics.
The current model Tu-95s are all Tu-142 designs and therefore are 1980s vintage.. much younger than any model B-52, and currently getting a total overhaul and electronics upgrade... and the Bear was always faster at low altitude...
Where did you hear that the Tu-95 was faster than a B-52 at any altitude. We spent hours of every flight at high speed and low level (as low as 200ft agl) and could easily reach the structural limit of the airframe at any altitude. In fact I knew a crew that accidentally went to 460KCAS at low level (they thought they were at 360KCAS, which is below Vne). I find it hard to believe that a Tu-95 could reach 460KCAS at any altitude. At higher altitudes the B-52 was limited to .88Mmo but had sufficient power to go faster, and in testing they were flown significantly faster.
In 1980 the B-52 may have even had a chance of penetrating well defended airspace, though the Tu-95 would not (the bear had extremely limited ability to fly low level, no FLIR or terrain avoidance radar)
Had no... because it was a cruise missile carrier... why waste fuel at low altitude?
Both B-52 and Tu-95 carried cruise missiles, B-52 had the AGM-86 by the mid 80s (and the Hound Dog much earlier), but cruise missiles have limitations (like all weapons). The AGM-86 had virtually identical range to the Soviet cruise missiles of the era (2500Km). The range of those cruise missiles (both Soviet and american) did not allow them to be launched from beyond protected airspace of all important targets. So B-52s continued to practise low level penetration day and night and in all weather, until the B-1 took over that job and B-2 made low level penetration unnecessary. But you are right, flying at high speed at low level does burn through a lot of fuel, which is why the longer range of the B-52 was useful.
Also the Bear has several variants in service including a Maritime patrol aircraft, a civil airliner and an AEW aircraft...
but today either plane would be found and shot down by the first fighter to get within 100 miles of it.
And one of those planes would never get within 1,000km of its targets airspace...