4- 55,100 lbs ea.
177 ft. 6 in.
189 ft. 9 in.
116 ft. 10 in.
From a distance the Tu-160 Blackjack, produced by Tupolev, may be mistaken for the smaller, slower and shorter ranged United States supersonic bomber.
The Tu-160 Blackjack is the the world’s fastest and heaviest bomber. Its four engines are capable of propelling the aircraft to Mach 2 speeds. Producing 55,100 lbs of thrust each, they are the most powerful engines found on any military aircraft in the world.
The Tu-160 Blackjack set numerous world speed and distance records. Its wings are designed to sweep back from 20 to 65 degrees depending upon the speed of the aircraft, giving it a wide flight envelope.
We are told that the Tu-160 Blackjack has the maneuverability of a fighter plane. In fact, the pilots control the aircraft with sticks similar to jet fighters instead of the typical steering wheel controls found on most large aircraft.
Much of the interior fuselage and wing spaces are devoted to carrying a total of about 38,000 gallons of fuel. This gives the aircraft intercontinental range. Its range is further enhanced by in-flight refueling capability.
The Tu-160 Blackjack carries its ordnance internally, in addition to having under wing carrying capabilities. Typical ordnance loads may consist of nuclear or conventional free fall bombs, guided bombs and missiles.
In conjunction with low flight level performance, the Tu-160 Blackjack has a sophisticated ground-following avionics array. This includes electronic counter measure, electronic warfare, and electronic bomb delivery technology.
Since the deployment of the aircraft in 1987, Russia has not designed any new strategic bombers.
Tu-160 Blackjack bombers began bombing rebel positions in Russian support of the Syrian government in November of 2015.
The existing fleet of Tu-160 Blackjack aircraft is being modified with new technologies including GPS navigation, more efficient engines, and updated conventional weapons delivery systems.
In January of 2018 Russia signed a contract with Tupolev for ten new Tu-160 Blackjack aircraft. It was announced that manufacturing of the new aircraft would begin in 2019 with deliveries in 2023.
Russia announced that the first of its Tu-160 Blackjack bombers to receive its latest upgrades was successfully test flown on February 2nd 2020. Upgrades include the aircraft engines, a “glass” cockpit, anti-jamming equipment, updated radar, communications, autopilot and navigation systems. The Russian Air Force is expecting to receive the first upgraded Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack bombers in 2021.
There are some 16 Tu-160 Blackjack bombers currently in service out of a total of 36 built.
The RC Tu-160 Blackjack slope soarer built by Sergio Vergara has a wingspan of 76 in. It uses aileron, elevator, and rudder controls.