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Russia Tests World's Largest Supersonic Nuclear Bomber: Tu-160 Piotr Deinekin

A renewed version of one of Russia's most formidable weapons, the Tupolev Tu-160, began initial testing last week as part of a nationwide effort to modernize the armed forces. On Thursday, the new version of the strategic supersonic bomber, called Tu-160 Piotr Deinekin, was presented to Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Tu-160 Piotr Deinekin flown for Vladimir Putin 8 photos
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According to Russian media, the Deinekin is the world's largest aircraft with wings of variable geometry. As compared to its previous version, there are no design changes, but Russian officials hinted to major upgrades when it comes to engines.

"It is an entirely different aircraft, its external appearance is the same, but its engine and flight distance, its power, are different, and all that is a great success of this group," president Putin was quoted as saying by Sputnik. "Now, when there are new technologies, we understand that not only is it necessary to perfect it, but we can do it on an absolutely new technological basis, and we achieved it."

The current Tu-160, the Blackjack as the West knows it, is the world's largest operational bomber and also the heaviest ever manufactured (118 tons with no payload). It is powered by four SSPE Trud NK-321 turbofans, the largest and most powerful engines ever fitted on a combat aircraft.

The Blackjack can be armed with 12 cruise- and 24 air-to-surface missiles. Regardless of their intended target, both can be fitted with nuclear warheads. Additionally, 40 tons of free-fall bombs can be loaded into the bomber's cargo bay.

The Russian air force is currently undergoing a major overhaul, as part of Putin's drive to update Russia's nuclear triad components. As far as the existing versions of the Tu-160 go, by 2020 more than a dozen such bombers will get modernized, including with new radars and navigation equipment, and sent into service. The Deinekin variants will use new engines, new radars and new avionics.


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