Russia vs US bomber competition in 2020s will still mainly be upgraded B52 vs upgraded Tu-95 which both first flew in 1952

Russia has 16 remaining original model Tu-160 airframes left, of those perhaps 11 are used for operational missions with about half of those available for operational missions. The remainder of the Russian strategic bomber force is based around 63 surviving Tu-95MS Bear bombers of which perhaps 55 are operational.

The Tupolev Tu-95 is a large, four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform. First flown in 1952, the Tu-95 entered service with the Soviet Union in 1956 and is expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040.

Tu-95 MS

General characteristics

Crew: 6–7; pilot, co pilot, flight engineer, communications system operator, navigator, tail gunner plus sometimes another navigator.
Empty weight: 90,000 kg (198,000 lb)
Loaded weight: 171,000 kg (376,200 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 188,000 kg (414,500 lb)
Powerplant: 4 × Kuznetsov NK-12M turboprops, 11,000 kW (14,800 shp) each


Maximum speed: 920 km/h (510 knots, 575 mph)
Range: 15,000 km (8,100 nmi, 9,400 mi) unrefueled
Service ceiling: 13,716 m (45,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 10 m/s (2,000 ft/min)
Wing loading: 606 kg/m² (124 lb/ft²)
Power/mass: 235 W/kg (0.143 hp/lb)


Radar-controlled guns: 1 or 2 × 23 mm AM-23 autocannon in tail turret.
Missiles: Up to 15,000 kg (33,000 lb), including the Raduga Kh-20, Kh-22, and Kh-55/101/102, or 8 Kh-101/102 cruise missiles mounted on underwing pylons.

The other upgraded bomber is a TU-160 which is similar to the US B1 bomber

Russia’s upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 Blackjack supersonic bomber is expected to make its first flight in 2019.

Moscow currently has sixteen of the original version of the Mach 2.0-capable bomber, which are the last surviving examples of the thirty-five aircraft built by the Soviet Union before its demise. Moscow hopes to build fifty new Tu-160M2 aircraft to upgrade its aging strategic bomber force.

Serial production of the new Blackjack variant is expected to start in 2023.


B1 and Tu160 side by side

Lack of bomber stealth will not matter that much when the bombers deploy improved long range cruise missiles and advanced drones which could have stealth aspects.

SOURCES -War is Boring, National Interest, Wikipedia