it's not about modernization of the old aircraft anymore. Russia wants to resume production of Tu-160 bombers and build at least 50 new planes. At least this is what the commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force, General-Colonel Vladimir Bondarev told journalists today.
The idea resuming the Tu-160 aircraft was first mentioned by the defense minister Sergey Shoigu during his visit to the Kazan Aviation Plant about a month ago. At the time it seemed like a remote possibility, but apparently it is more than that and the air force is now talking about a decision that has been already made. At the same time, Bondarev said that the plan of building a new bomber, PAK-DA, is still there. And, of course, there are no plans to retire the old Tu-95MS aircraft just yet. Well, I guess that if it's okay for the Strategic Rocket Forces to have seven or so different types of ICBMs, then there is nothing wrong with three types of bombers. Nobody in Kremlin seems to be counting money these days anyway.
Russian press quotes the director of the Kazan aviation plant as saying that the Tu-160 strategic bombers will undergo a second round of modernization, which will include "an almost complete replacement of all avionics." According to the director, the overhaul will be completed in 2019.
Deployment of new early-warning radars of the Voronezh-M and Voronezh-DM type is by all indication a successful project - the new radars are seemingly inexpensive and quick to built. So, it is not a surprise that the program is getting more money and more orders - earlier this month Spetsstroy announced that it will build another radar, in Zeya, Amur oblast.
Judging by the photo used by Spetsstroy to illustrate the news, the radar in Zeya will be of the Voronezh-M type. However, we'll have to see for the signs of construction to be certain.
Ryazan submarine of the Project 667BDR/Delta III class has been transferred to the covered dry dock at the Zvezda plant. According to a representative of the plant, the submarine is undergoing repairs and is will return to service at some unspecified date. [UPDATE 05/27/15: The submarine is expected to return to service by the end of 2015]
The submarine, which was transferred to the Pacific from the Northern Fleet in 2008, was moved to the Zvezda plant in 2012. Previous overhaul was completed in 2007.
Now that Alexander Nevskiy Project 955 submarine has full complement of missiles on board, its transfer to the Pacific will take place as planned - in August-September 2015. Its counterpart, Vladimir Monomakh, on the other hand, will stay in the Northern Fleet until 2016. The source in the Norther Fleet staff, quoted in the report, however, insisted that the change of plans is not related to the delay with production of Bulava missiles. Rather, the submarine will need the time to complete all its trials.
The U.S. State Department released aggregate New START numbers from the 1 March 2015 data exchange. The release shows that at that date Russia reported having 515 deployed launchers and 1582 operationally deployed warheads. It also reported having 890 total launchers.
Compared to the September 1, 2014 data, the number of launchers decreased - from 528 to 515. The number of warheads decreased more dramatically - from 1643 to 1582. The total number of launchers went from 911 to 890.
The corresponding U.S. numbers are 785 deployed launchers, 1597 warheads, and 898 total launchers.
On March 31, 2015 at 16:47:56 MSK (13:47:56 UTC) the Space Forces conducted a successful launch of a Rockot space launcher with Briz-KM booster stage from the launch pad No. 3 of the launch complex No. 133 of the Plesetsk test site. The launcher delivered into orbit three Gonets-M communication satellites (21L, 22L, and 23L) and a small satellite designated as Cosmos-2504.
According to the designer of the system, the Information Satellite Systems, this launch completes the deployment of the Gonets-D1M communication system, which now includes 12 satellites. Previous Gonets-M launch took place in July 2014. Russia alos operates a military counterpart of the Gonets system, known as Strela (or Rodnik). The most recent launch of this program took place in May 2014.
The Gonets satellites have been assigned NORAD catalog numbers 40552, 40553, and 40554, their international designations are 2015-020A, 2015-020B, and 2015-020C.
The Cosmos-2504 satellite, launched along with the Gonets-Ms, is believed to be a small maneuvering satellite similar to Cosmos-2499, which was also a supplementary payload in the May 2014 launch. It appears that its the object 2015-020D/40555.
According to a report in Kommersant, Russia conducted a test of the RS-26 missile on March 18, 2015. The missile was launched from the Kapustin Yar test site and the warheads (or warhead) successfully reached the target at the Sary-Shagan site.
Kommersant reports that the missile will soon be formally accepted for service and that its deployment will begin in 2016 (confirming the earlier reports). It also said that first RS-26 missiles will be deployed in Irkutsk, but that appears to be a reference to an old story.
UPDATE: Interfax is quoting a source in the ministry of defense as saying that RS-26 differs from RS-24 in that it has fewer stages and a shorter range. If true, this appears to confirm that RS-26 is a two-stage missile based on RS-24 very much in the way SS-20 was a two-stage version of Temp-2S.
On March 25, 2015 22:08:46 UTC (March 26, 2015 03:08:46 local time) the Strategic Rocket Forces with the support of the Kosmotras company carried out a successful launch of a Dnepr space launcher from the Yasnyy launch site at the Dombarovsky missile division.The missile payload delivered into orbit included South Korean Kompsat-3A satellite.
The Dnepr launcher is a modified R-36MUTTH (SS-18/RS-20B) missile. Previous Dnepr launch took place in November 2014.