Strategic aviation

Strategic aviation units form the Long-range Aviation Command of the Russian Air Force. The commander -- Lt.-General Anatoli Zhikharev -- was appointed by a presidential decree on 19 September 2009.

As of January 2014, the Long-range Aviation Command was estimated to include 66 operational strategic bombers.

Number of bombers
Total cruise missiles
Number of cruise missiles and their type
Tu-95MS (Bear H)
up to 16 Kh-55 (AS-15A)
Tu-160 (Blackjack)
12 Kh-55SM (AS-15B)

Strategic aviation units

The Long-range Aviation Command includes two heavy-bomber divisions of Tu-160 and Tu-95MS aircraft. In addition to these, the army includes four divisions of Tu-22M3 (Backfire C) bombers.

The 6950th Guards Air Base (formerly 22nd Guards Heavy-Bomber Division) in Engels (Saratov oblast), includes two bomber regiments: the 121st Guards regiment of Tu-160 bombers and the 184th regiment of Tu-95MS bombers.

In addition to this, the air base may include the 203rd Regiment of Il-78 tankers, which is based in Ryazan. Ryazan is also a place of a training center, which can be used a base for bombers of the division.

The 6952nd Air Base (formerly 326th Heavy-Bomber Division) in Ukrainka (Amurskaya oblast). The base includes the 79th regiment and 182nd Guards regiments of Tu-95MS bombers.

Strategic bombers

The Tu-95MS (Bear H) strategic bomber was developed at the A. N. Tupolev Design Bureau. Serial production of the bomber continued from 1984 to 1991 at the aviation plant in Kuybyshev (currently Aviakor Aviation Plant, Samara). The bomber is equipped with turboprop engines. It can carry six Kh-55 cruise missiles in the bomb bay. The Tu-95MS16 version of the bomber can carry additional ten missiles under wings, but this significantly reduces bomber's range.

The Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bomber was developed at the A. N. Tupolev Design Bureau and produced at the aviation plant in Kazan (currently S. P. Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Production Association). The bomber can carry 12 Kh-55 cruise missiles in the bomb bay. During the modernization program that is currently underway Tu-160 bombers will be equipped to carry gravity bombs and non-nuclear cruise missiles.

Cruise missiles

The Kh-55 (AS-15, RKV-500A) long-range air-launched cruise missiles were developed at the Raduga Design Bureau (Dubna, Moscow oblast). Production of the missiles began in 1983 at the Dubna Machine-Building Plant. The Kh-55SM (AS-15B, RKV-500B) version of the missile, which can be deployed on Tu-160 bombers, has extra fuel tanks and extended range. In 1999 Russia tested an improved version of the Kh-55 missiles, which became known as Kh-555. Reportedly, this missile is a non-nuclear version of Kh-55. It will be carried by Tu-160 bombers.

Russia is currently developing a new long-range cruise missile, which would probably replace Kh-55. The conventional version of the new missile is known as Kh-101, the nuclear version is usually referred to as Kh-102.