PILOTS in one of the two Russian supersonic bombers intercepted near UK skies last week had started the countdown to arm a nuclear bomb, sources revealed last night.
The discovery was made after RAF specialists analyzed a four-second signal transmitted from one of the Tupolev Tu-160 bombers, known by Nato as “Blackjacks”, in the days following Thursday’s incursion.
Analysts at RAF Boulmer, Britain’s Control and Reporting Centre, confirmed that the Russian bombers had begun the sequence to arm nuclear weapons while carrying out the incursion.
It is not the first time they have done this and comparison with a similar signal transmitted by a TU-95 “Bear” bomber revealed Russian air crew had begun the countdown during an incursion last year, as well.
“We are already working quickly [on the project], we have created a working group, scheduled monthly meetings with the Industry and Trade Ministry on how the work is progressing and appointed chief designers,” Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov told RIA Novosti, cited by the Moscow Times.
Only 16 of the Soviet-era aircraft were built before production ceased in the 1990s. The Blackjack is an advanced supersonic bomber designed to deliver nuclear payloads. Continue reading
Russia is to renew production of Tu-160 (Blackjack) supersonic strategic bomber and missile carrier, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.
“Today it is already necessary to solve the task of not only maintaining and modernizing long-range aviation, we must also produce the Tu-160 missile carrier,” Shoigu said during a visit at the Kazan Aviation Plant. Continue reading