Military Watch analysts have compiled a list of what they call “World’s Top Five Most Dangerous Bombers”.
Today, strategic bombers are the heaviest and longest-range armed aircraft. Their size, speed, and endurance increased dramatically as World War II ended. Currently, only three countries possess modern bombers – Russia, the US and China. Military Watch analysts have compiled a list of what they call “World’s Top Five Most Dangerous Bombers”.
The Tu-160M is currently Russia’s deadliest bomber. The first flight of the White Swan took place in 1981. This machine provided revolutionary opportunities for the deployment of nuclear weapons by Soviet aviation on an intercontinental range. The Soviet Union planned to create 100 such aircraft, but in the end only 17 were produced. All of them have been deeply modernized, and now Russia has begun mass production of the Tu-160M version.
“The bomber boasts an unrivalled speed exceeding Mach 2, and has an engagement range estimated at close to 5,000km using radar evading Kh-101/102 cruise missiles which have been combat tested extensively in Syria and Ukraine,” the American newspaper said. The Tu-160M has new stealth coatings, more powerful engines, significantly increased range, new avionics and communications as well as defense systems. According to the American newspaper, “The Tu-160M is prized for its pairing of a high speed and endurance with a very high and long ranged weapons payload, which is set to be supplemented by hypersonic missiles currently under development.”
Next, the Tu-95 Bear made its first flight in 1952. Despite its age, this strategic bomber still poses a danger to potential Russian adversaries. The Tu-95s in service today are nevertheless among the newer bombers in the world, having been produced from the late 1980s and until 1993 combining the benefits of the reliable low maintenance airframe design with significant technological advances.
The upgraded version, the Tu-95MS has integrated new engines, uses state-of-the-art electronics and is compatible with Kh-101/102 cruise missiles as the main weapon. The bomber’s long ranges despite its relatively small size, and the capabilities of its very long ranged and precise radar evading missiles, makes it a highly potent and cost effective asset which can be maintained at much higher availability rates than the Tu-160.
The B-2 Spirit bomber has been in service with the US Air Force since 1997. Its unique “flying wing” design makes it one of the most durable aircraft in the world. The B-2 suffers from a number of significant weaknesses, most notably its extreme maintenance requirements and operational costs which mean it spends considerably more time on the ground for each hour in the air than any other combat aircraft – moreso if logistics are strained by wartime conditions.
The B-52H is the oldest bomber in the world in service. They were built in the 1950s but still form the backbone of the US bomber squadron. One of its main advantages is ease of maintenance. The B-52 is preferred over the B-2 and B-1B, as well as discontinued designs such as the B-58. The B-52 is set to remain in service long after the others have been retired, and fly alongside the Air Force’s upcoming B-21 Raider stealth bombers.
The B-52H is capable of carrying up to 20 AGM-86 cruise missiles, which can deliver nuclear, conventional, penetrative and fragmentation warheads at ranges of over 2,500km – well beyond the retaliation range of any anti aircraft weapon. Approximately half of all NATO bombers in service today are B-52Hs, with this number continuing to grow as B-2s continuing to face accidents that take them out of service, while B-1Bs are gradually retired from the Air Force.
China’s H-6 is also one of the oldest bombers in the world. Although its first flight took place in 1959, the bomber is still in mass production. China has produced more than 270 units and is gradually replacing old models with new ones. Various variants of the machine have been developed: for electronic warfare, anti-ship missile attacks and high-precision strikes from long distances.
One of the most unique versions is the H-6N, designed to launch ballistic missiles against both ground targets and warships. The H-6N offers a completely unique capability that can effectively complement other parts of the H-6 squadron and ground and sea based missile assets to lay down tremendous firepower against targets across the Western Pacific.