Sunday, September 17, 2023

How Not To Do Military Reviews.

Or why amateurs, especially from Western military cultural milieu don't get it. People already posted here somewhere this video of new iteration of a venerable TU-160 Blackjack strategic bomber, TU-160M.

For more than 9 minutes they talk about how great this aircraft is, which it is, especially its new fully computer driven version TU-160M, but when it comes to actual capability of all TU-160s they mention good ol' Kh-15 and this:

Seriously, that's it? "Kh-55 family" with the range of 311 miles (500 kilometers). Really? First, those fanboys, evidently, have no idea that no matter how good and sophisticated TU-160(M) is, and it is, it is a PLATFORM whose combat value is defined by weapons it carries. And sure as hell, even the range of "Kh-55 family", namely Kh-555 cruise missiles (one of many) TU-160 carries is much longer than 500 kilometers. Namely it is 3,500 kilometers. But, of course, TU-160's MAIN strike weapon is Kh-101(102 in nuclear variant) cruise missile whose range is in excess of 4,500 kilometers, while its latest iteration has the range in excess of 6,500 kilometers.  

While reviewers marvel at TU-160 capabilities as platform, they forget the main reason platforms exist and that is to carry and shoot weapons. And here we reach the main point--while all kinds of fanboys, including those who actually did or serve in NATO AF, masturbate to all kinds of impressive things of modern bombers, they forget the main thing: even good ol' non-stealthy, loud, rumbling Bears (TU-95 MCs) with their 1950s design can take off from ANY airfield in Russia and without even leaving Russia's airspace launch a salvo of 6,500 km range cruise missiles at any target in any NATO country, US included. Moreover, even SU-34s are capable now of such strategic strikes. And here is the point--the US is nowhere near to this arsenal. It simply doesn't have anything comparable to Kh-101 (X-101) in its previous or latest variants. 

This is the sight, not just the sight of magnificent TU-160s, which gives Pentagon chills, because Russia has many of them, while the US continental Air Defense is an exercise in wishful thinking and futility against salvos of low flying, smart and stealthy Kh-101s. In the end, why do you think venerable B-52s still fly? Good platform if the US gets its hands, maybe, in a distant future, on something like Kh-101M. But don't hold your breath, Russia long ago won the arms race of ranges and, most importantly, air defense. 

P.S. A truckload of Bears also undergo modernization--new navigation-targeting complex and EW for, and you guessed it, Kh-101s. 

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