TechAre the Russians planning something? Bombers moved to one location

Are the Russians planning something? Bombers moved to one location

Tu-95MS
Tu-95MS
Images source: © PAP | YURI KOCHETKOV
7:06 AM EST, November 15, 2023

The Air and Space Forces of the Russian Federation have been observed amassing long-range strategic bombers at the Engels Air Base in the Saratov Region. The base has seen a clash of 11 bomber aircraft, including 7 Tu-95 MS and 4 Tu-160 airplanes.

Using radar satellite images from November 13, the Bulgarian Military portal reports about the additional movements at the Engels air base. Curiously, there has been activity in this location since the end of September 2023, with false aircraft patterns noted on the airport's apron to simulate real planes.

The airport now hosts 11 machines in total. The Bulgarian Military portal comments that this is a rare occasion with so many bombers in one location. Also, satellite photographs reveal that none of the aircraft are secured with previously applied wing-protective tires. Furthermore, the images suggest that the Russian air force is arming these airplanes with Ch-101/Ch-555 missiles at the Engels base.

Understanding Tu-95 MS and Tu-160, the Russian Long-range Bombers

The strategic bomber Tu-95 MS, is a significant weapon in the Russian arsenal. Known as "bears," their value comes from their extraordinary range that exceeds 6,213.7 miles and their capacity to carry loads up to 22 tons. This heavy payload ability allows the Tu-95 MS to effortlessly transport missiles and bombs, including nuclear warheads, on intercontinental flights. These bombers' maximum altitude is nearly 39,370.1 feet, and they can reach speeds of approximately 516 mph.

Russia is estimated to have about 50 bulky aircraft that extend up to 164 feet and have a wingspan of nearly the same length. Standing over 42.65 feet, the aircraft's primary weaponry consists of two AM23 on-board cannons and two double-barrel GSz-23 cannons located in the tail end.

Bombers at the Russian Engels Air Base
Bombers at the Russian Engels Air Base© Bulgarian Military

On the other end of the spectrum, the Tu-160, reaching supersonic speeds of 1,367 mph, is another long-range bomber in the Russian military's repertoire. Originating from the late 80s, these aircraft can operate at over 49,212.6 feet and cover a range of about 8,077.822 miles. Just like the Tu-95 MS, they are equipped to carry weapons on intercontinental flights, with a hefty payload weight of nearly 33 tons.

A distinctive feature of the Tu-160 aircraft is its variable wing geometry. This feature not only extends the bomber's range but also allows for higher cruising speeds.

Related content