A Nuclear-Capable Bomber Just Flew by Ukraine

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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.

The Organic Prepper repeatedly voiced our opinions that the Russians were going to invade Ukraine back before the war ever started. There were too many warning signs indicative of such for there to be much doubt on the matter. We’ve recently been warning about the threat of this war escalating – particularly involving nuclear weaponry – and we’re seeing more warning signs of that today: a nuclear-capable bomber just flew by the Ukraine border.

Though there’s a bit of confusion on the craft, we do know that on April 18, a nuclear-capable Russian bomber flew over the Kaluga region of Russia, right beside the Moscow/Ukraine border.

Some reports stated that a Tu-160 and an Il-78 were what was spotted with four fighter craft escorting them. Others claim that the Il-78 was, in fact, a Tu-95.

What’s a Tu-160? 

nuclear-capable bomber

This craft is rather unmistakable, and there doesn’t seem to be much room for error in pointing this one out. Also referred to as the Tupolev 160, this is a record-breaking aircraft currently holding 44 world records.

They have a four-man crew consisting of a pilot, co-pilot, navigator, and operator, and there are 35 of these crafts that have been built that we know about. They have a 7500-mile range and can carry up to 12 nukes at twice the speed of sound, making this a supersonic nuclear-capable bomber.

The Tu-160 was created with the intention of carrying conventional and nuclear-capable weaponry deep within the heart of continental theaters and is capable of carrying the Kh-15P – a missile with a 200km range and the ability to be outfitted with a nuclear warhead – as well as the Kh-55MS – another nuclear-capable missile (up to a 200 kt payload) that has a range of 3000km.

This plane can literally fly just about anywhere, has day-and-night capabilities (no surprise), utilizes a runway of 3050m, and made its first transatlantic flight in 2008 when two of these were flown to Venezuela.

The NATO codename for these aircraft is “Blackjack.”

April isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Tu-160 in the sky, however, so there is a chance this is just another routine flight. It was back in late February that these crafts were allegedly used to fire X-101 cruise missiles at the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, and they were reportedly used to launch standoff missiles at other targets throughout Ukraine.

What about the Tu-95?

nuclear-capable bomber

Personally, I believe that the sight of a Tu-160 in the air is a bigger deal than a Tu-95, but most of the media seems to have latched onto this craft as being the bigger deal. If, indeed, it wasn’t an Il-78 that was spotted but instead a Tu-95, what does that mean? (Also, I have questions as to why a Tu-160 would need a refueling craft that close to Russia.)

Well, let’s look at what we know about the Tu-95. This is a really old aircraft, being the only propeller-powered bomber still in use today.

The Tu-95 actually has a pretty cool propeller design, by the way. Two propellers are mounted stacked atop each other here, with one propeller spinning in the opposite direction as the other. This design not only allows the Tu-95 to be faster than it would be otherwise, but it also eliminates the torque that would be created by the propeller if only one were present (Is this what makes it faster? The lack of torque? Could a pilot let us know in the comments below?)

These aircraft utilize a crew of 6-8, depending on the mission, and also have the capability to carry nuclear payloads.

(Hey you! Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to building a 3-layer food storage plan. You’ll need food if you have to shelter in place, and this guide will tell you what you need.)

Is this anything out of the ordinary? 

These kinds of stories do happen all the time, which does bear mentioning. In 2017, the Tu-95 kept on being flown close to Alaska.

*sound of a million grizzly hunters racking rifles*

But if we look at more recent events, we can still see similar events. In early February, it was reported that Russian Tu-22M3 bombers conducted a 4-hour training mission with the Belarusian air force over Belarus. For context, this happened at precisely the same time that Russia was adamant about not invading Ukraine and that all of this was only going to be a “training mission.”

The Tu-22M3 is a nuclear-capable bomber as well. And, as mentioned above, we’ve seen the Tu-160 utilized earlier in this war with conventional munitions.

What can we glean from all this? 

While the presence of a nuclear-capable bomber doesn’t necessitate that nuclear weaponry is going to be used, it is a warning sign that should be heeded, particularly with the host of other current events that we are seeing in the world around us at the moment.

Let’s not forget that some have pointed out that the Moskova may have carried nuclear weaponry when it was sunk. We’re seeing Russian state-sponsored TV (redundant, I know) state that we are currently in World War 3. We’re seeing talks of continued NATO expansion into Sweden and Finland.

Things are not looking very well over there at the moment, and as Forward Observer has pointed out, as Russia feels pressured, the chance of their using nuclear weaponry only increases.

What can you do about it? 

Start writing your local politicians, telling them that you do not support NATO expansion (or even being in NATO).

Read Cresson Kearney (and our Nuclear War Survival Anthology, while you’re at it).

Keep plenty of food stocked away.

Know how to build a fallout shelter.

We’ll keep you updated as we see more stories unfold.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Is this just business as usual, or is this yet another warning sign that the West needs to pay attention to? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments below.

About Aden

Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has three published books, The Faithful Prepper The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.

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Aden Tate

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  • Just for show. It would be hard to show a rocket going by…..but a plane stands out. They would use a close in rocket for a attack not a plane….I would say.

  • Those long range bombers have been dropping bunker-busters on Mariupol and other places. They are not necessarily nuclear-armed, but certainly portend potential tragedy wherever they fly. Ukraine was a top nuclear power in the early nineties, but, with the urging of the United States and others, flat-out “gave” the entire stockpile to Russia. This is like leaving your Queen open to a Bishop.

    Have a happy day!

  • Okay, first of all, that IS an Ilyushin-78, NOT a Tupulev-95. The tail is completely different. The Tu-95 has propellers, while the plane shown in the original article is a jet.

    As for the Blackjack, it is a 1970s-era design and the Russkies have a whopping 27 of them. BFD. So what if it can sprint at Mach 2, the cruising speed is 500 knots and it has nearly the same radar signature as a B-52, so it won’t surprise anyone. The KH-15 is a 40 year old missile that is probably maintained as well as the rest of Soviet… errr, Russian military equipment.

    I’m going to be blunt. Cut the crap and stop trying to terrify people, Aden.

    • Bill is correct…….Russia stopped producing the TU-160 (Blackjack) in 1995 if memory serves me correctly. They recently re-started production and test flew the TU-160M version earlier this year. They did that because their next generation bomber has been plagued by delays, for many reasons. One huge obstacle with the new 160M is the engines. The original engine used for the 160s has been out of production for awhile, so they essentially had to start from scratch and re-engineer a modernized version of that same older engine – no small task, especially considering the aging of their work force.

      As far as I know, they’ve only built one 160M, the flight test vehicle, and don’t seem to have the money to build anymore since none have been ordered.

      Russia always plays games like this, and they have for decades……use their military hardware in a ‘show of force’ in an effort to intimidate.

    • Two USAF RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft were dispatched to monitor this test. As far as I know, that’s the first time ever that two of these have been on a mission together.

  • To answer your question about the counter rotating propellers, it is done to increase aerodynamic effeciency, and reduce overall drag. What you really get is longer range, not more speed.

    Also, it is not unusual for a tankers to take off with long range bombers, especially if the bombers are fully loaded with Bombs/Missiles. The Bombers take off with relatively little fuel, then get topped off once they are airborne. It saves a LOT of wear and tear on the engines, tires, etc., plus allows for a much shorter takeoff roll for the bombers. On a hot day and fully loaded, a bomber takeoff roll is easily a mile and a half or longer. If there is any sort of an engine problem or loss of thrust on takeoff, you are guaranteed an enormous mess if the bomber is fully loaded with fuel & ordnance.

    The same scenario is often carried out with Fighter Jets as well. It is much smarter to launch with as much ordnance as the aircraft can carry, and then top off the fuel tanks before heading out on the mission. This is even more critical for Fighters taking off an aircraft carrier. They have to precisely know and manage their weight down to about a hundred pounds, and adjust the catapault to lauch based upon their exact weight. The scenario repeats when they return from a mission, and the Trap (wire) is set for a rather narrow range of aircraft weight. If the Fighter is too light (empty), it has to air-to-air refuel and take on enough gas to land. If it is too heavy, it has to burn down or jettison fuel to land. So aircraft weight is taken into consideration along with the distance to an alternate landing site if one of the fighters “fouls the deck” on landing.

  • What was essentially a global cybersecurity advisory was issued today by the US and our world partners about Russian state sponsored and criminal cyber attacks. Consider backing up all your important stuff, and keep your computers powered down and off the Internet as much as possible when not in use. It could just be chatter, or it could be an indicator of something to come.

  • Anyone who believes Russian propaganda, may I interest you to purchase a bridge?

    Of course the Soviets will use nukes, the only questions are when and where? Anyone who believes the fiction that Putin sees NATO “expansion” as a threat to Russia hasn’t been listening. According to Russian sources, Putin wants a Russian empire that stretches from Vladivostok to Lisbon. https://metro.co.uk/2022/04/06/putins-wants-to-build-new-order-in-europe-from-vladivostok-to-lisbon-16413798/ The only way he can do that is by invading western Europe, including countries that made up the original NATO. Sweden publicly stated that Putin’s invasion of Crimea was recognized as a gun pointed at Sweden. So naturally, Sweden, a country smaller than Ukraine, wants allies to help protect them against the Russian bear. Right now, that means joining NATO. Same with Finland. Anyway, Russian threats against them is a de facto claim by Russia that they are not independent countries.

    We are in World War III, a war that Putin started, and while we still have the time, we need to prep for that. Part of those preps is preparing for nuclear war while we still have the time.

  • Hi Aden, This article might be “stretching it” a bit to produce something to print. In answer to your question, “… is this business as usual or a warning sign?”, I’d like to point out two things. First, most of us, me included, do not have enough experience to answer that question intelligently and you did not provide enough information to help us do so. Secondly, and most importantly, the question is irrelevant. What should we be waiting for to make real preparations for possible nuclear attacks?! Waiting for a particular jet or plane to begin making fly-bys along the border between Ukraine and Russia? No. Should we wait until someone can actually identify a specific aircraft WITH identifiable nukes on them flying over a specific target we feel is important enough to get worried about? No. Should we wait to get worried when Putin finally announces that he is launching nukes (like he would announce that)? No.
    The time is now to prepare. The real point is that we can’t judge if this is business as usual or a warning sign. We MUST consider the potential and do something NOW. Will your readers be able to make a fallout shelter in 15 minutes? Or 24 hours? Or 7 days? WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? To decide if any of the current events indicate “business as usual”?? Are you kidding me??!

  • Anybody know where all the Soviet boomers are? Personally I would be more worried about those then any of their aircraft. I seriously doubt (or at least hope) no one would publish those locations (because it might give some clue as to our detection capabilities).
    I agree with the comments about whether or not all of their equipment actually works or not because of maintenance (or the lack of it).
    Back in the day we on the ground side were worried about going up against the T-72. Guess what? Our old M-60’s had no issues dealing with them. Granted we had better crews, but we were able to knock them out.
    Soviet engineering works, but I’d say is a lot cruder then how we design our equipment. Look at how long there jet engines are rated to last. MIG 25 comes to mind. Not sure they have improved.
    Also not sure, but I have not seen a lot of reporting on their latest generation gear being involved in Ukraine (at least on the ground side – IFV’s and tanks).
    I have seen a lot of older gear T-72/T-80/T-90, BMP and BTR variants. That gear has not appeared to be doing well against the newer ATGM systems. But as it is said, “quantity has it’s own quality.” Funny how RPG-7’s still seem to get the job done too.
    It also appears their soldiers have a lot of the same “issues” as our youngsters.
    Poor ground leadership (NCO’s and junior officers) will often break you. Our own experienced leadership will be aging out soon as anyone with any combat experience will have retired or gotten out (SOF excluded – their always “busy”).
    Not sure how good our NCO corps is anymore. I am sure their is a PowerPoint to address that! (I am so glad I am retired).

    • But as it is said, “quantity has it’s own quality.”

      During WWII Germans had an anti-tank weapon that was particularly effective against our Shermans. Germans said our Shermans blew up so nicely when hit by those shells. But when asked why we still won, the answer was “We ran out of shells before you ran out of Shermans.”

      The Russians have spent the last few years building up their forces for this war while we haven’t. At the rate this war is going, we will run out of anti-tank weapons before the Russians put their front line tanks into battle. Quantity has its own quality.

  • This is just dumb. Badly researched, fearmongering, illogical drivel. What is the point to this? What are you trying to do? Convince people to prep? Seriously, if I am on this site I’m overwhelmingly likely already prepping, and if I’m not prepping, this flimsy bit of clickbait isn’t going to convince me.

    Stop trying to whip up fear — to what end? It just doesn’t make any sense. Unless you have to produce X many “articles” per week.

    And… I can’t believe you would suggest something so irresponsible as having people tell their elected officials that the US shouldn’t be in NATO. What do you think would happen if the US pulled out of NATO? Hmmm? We might as well hand Europe over to Putin on a golden platter. This might be the mother of all bad ideas I’ve heard on this website in recent months.

    Think the US can go it alone? Let Russia have the Ukraine, Europe, etc., and we in the US will just mind our own business and go back to, I don’t know, milking our own cows and foraging for medicinal herbs? Too late. The world is entirely too connected. We cannot isolate ourselves from harm by withdrawing from the world. It’s immoral, foolish, shortsighted, and btw, Putin is a classic bully who’s not going to stop at the shores of Portugal, not until someone makes him stop.

    This site has gone way downhill. At least make sure the fear you’re stoking is real.

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