Tu-95 Bear: Meet the Old Russian Bomber U.S. F-22s Just Intercepted Near Alaska




 

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Tu-95 Bear: Meet the Old Russian Bomber U.S. F-22s Just Intercepted Near Alaska

It's old, it's obvious and it has mechanical problems - facts hard to ignore while the Tu-95 plays a key role in a highly orchestrated and much exaggerated effort by the Kremlin to impress its foreign rivals.

(This first appeared several years ago and is being reposted due to reader interest.)

At first glance, the Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bomber looks like a 59-year-old flying anachronism, a Cold War leftover that has outlived its usefulness in a century when stealth is king.

The Bear is showing signs of its age. In recent months, two Tu-95 crashes led to the grounding of the entire fleet of more than 50 aircraft to resolve mechanical issues. Besides, there is nothing stealthy about the Bear.

Even when the bomber is in top-notch shape, the turboprop-powered Tu-95 is loud … really loud. In fact, it's so noisy that listening devices on submerged U.S. submarines can hear a Bear flying overhead.

Furthermore, it has the radar signature of a flying big-box store. The plane is huge.

Photos of lumbering Bear-H bombers intercepted by sleek U.S. or NATO warplanes as they flew toward protected airspace are some of the most recognizable images of the East-West nuclear stand-off during the 1970s and '80s.

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