The Tu-160 bomber is designed for the destruction of critical installations in remote areas and in the deep rear of continental theaters. It is the largest supersonic aircraft in the history of military aviation, a variable-sweep wing aircraft, as well as the heaviest warplane in the world, which has the largest maximum take-off weight among all bombers.
This aircraft is an intercontinental strategic multi-modal missile-launching aircraft armed with long-range cruise missiles. The Design Bureau started working on this project in the early 1970s. The design concept for the airplane and its systems was developed by the mid-1970s. The first flight of the test airplane was operated on December 18, 1981, by test pilot B. Veremey. Tests of the first production airplane started in October 1984. Initially, Tu-160s were received by an active long-range aviation unit based in the Ukrainian Republic of the USSR in April 1987. In total, 36 Tu-160 airplanes had been produced by the early 2000s.
The Tu-160 airplane is made according to an integral low-winged aircraft design with variable sweep wings, tricycle landing gear, and an all-movable stabilizer and fin. Wing high-lift devices include slats, double-slotted flaps, with spoilers and flaperons for roll control. Four engines are mounted in pairs in nacelles in the lower fuselage. The TA-12 APU is used as a secondary power system.
This aircraft contains two payload compartments arranged in tandem (one after the other). The main airframe materials are titanium, heat-treated aluminum alloys, steel alloys, and composite materials. The airplane has a toilet, a galley unit, and a sleeping berth. It is equipped with a probe-and-drogue type flight refueling system. The production of airframe components occurs with: wings and engine compartments from the Voronezh aircraft plant; stabilizers and air intakes from the Irkutsk aircraft plant; landing gear from the Kuibyshev assembly plant, and the fuselage’s centerwing and outerwing panel hinges from the Kazan aircraft plant.
One-piece torsion boxes, assembled from one-piece panels and 20-meter-long channels, were widely used in the wing structure. The fuselage was assembled from large sheets, channels, and die-pressed parts with the use of a special riveting process. The control surfaces and high-lift devices (stabilizer, fin, flaperons, flaps, etc.) were made with the extensive use of composite and metal panels with honeycomb filler.
|wing span (m)||55.7/35.6|
|aircraft length (m)||54.1|
|aircraft height (m)||13.2|
|wing sweep angle at 1/4 chord line (deg.)||25/60|
|engine||4 x afterburning turbofan engines|
|maximum speed (km/h)||1,8|
|maximum flight altitude (m)||14|