Why Russia is using older Tu-95s for missile strikes on Ukraine: Defense Express explained


Why Russia is using older Tu-95s for missile strikes on Ukraine: Defense Express explains

During the last few rocket attacks on Ukraine, the Russians used only Tu-95MS rocket launchers, and not more powerful Tu-160. The experts noted that this was illogical and decided to look into it.

The Tu-160 can take on board up to 12 Kh-555 or Kh-101 cruise missiles, while the Tu-95MS currently used by the Russians is much smaller – up to 6 Kh-555 missiles on internal hardpoints or up to 8 Kh-101 missiles on external hardpoints.

Why the occupiers use less powerful launch vehicles

Analysts suggested that during the months-long campaign of missile strikes, the Tu-95MS bomber proved to be much more reliable and easier to maintain than the Tu-160. Therefore, the Russian military use the Tu-160 rather for demonstrative “acts of intimidation”, and all the “routine combat work”, including the shelling of Ukrainian cities, is carried out on the Tu-95MS. Usually this turboprop bomber is said to be very old and therefore inefficient. However, age is not always an indicator of effectiveness.

Firstly, the “age” of an aircraft is not always directly proportional to efficiency, and this is shown by the example of the American B-52. And secondly, the Tu-95MS is actually not that old, its mass production took place from 1982 to August 1992. Accordingly, the “oldest” board has an “age” of 40 years, the “youngest” – 30 years. And this is actually not much more than that of the Tu-160, the serial production of which took place in 1987-1992, and according to which range of aircraft service life fluctuates at the level of 30-35 years. – explained in Defense Express.

How many Tu-95MS occupiers have

The Military Balance 2022 wrote that by the end of 2021, Russia had 60 Tu-95MS aircraft. But it seems that the real number of combat-ready bombers of this type is significantly less.

In particular, for strikes against Ukraine, the invaders took off a maximum of 20 Tu-95MS aircraft, and for joint flights with China's strategic aviation in 2022 – up to a maximum of 10 “boards”.

And it seems that the conclusion is this – the real number of combat-ready Tu-95MS is a maximum of 50% of the number “on paper”, – analysts say .

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