Air Weapons: December 24, 2004

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Russia is equipping each of its Tu-160 and Tu-95 heavy bombers with a dozen Kh-555 cruise missiles. These weapons are upgrades of the Cold War era AS-15 nuclear cruise missile. The Kh-555 is 20 feet long, weighs 1.5 tons and has a range of 3,000 kilometers. An 800 pound conventional warhead appears to be a cluster bomb type (carrying bomblets). The missile uses inertial and satellite supplied guidance, and can hit within 100 meters of its aiming point. Russia says it will use these missiles to attack terrorist bases in foreign countries. Russia has about 50 operational Tu-95s and about a dozen Tu-160s. Both bombers can, with in-flight refueling, reach any place on the planet. 

 


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