11:59 GMT +323 September 2019
Listen Live
    The Tu-160  strategic bomber

    US Envoy Calls Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers in Venezuela 'Museum Pieces'

    © Sputnik / Vladimir Sergeev
    Latin America
    Get short URL
    241455
    Subscribe

    Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers arrived in Venezuela on 10 December to conduct interoperability drills with the Venezuelan Air Force. The Venezuelan defence minister explained that the joint flights with the Russian aircraft are aimed at training Venezuela to protect itself against aggression.

    US Ambassador to Colombia Kevin Whitaker said in an interview with RCN Radio the Russian Tu-160 (NATO reporting name Blackjack) strategic bombers that recently arrived in Venezuela are "not provocations" since "such old planes […] are actually museum pieces". Whitaker also alleged that Moscow was sending some kind of message by redeploying the bombers to Venezuela, but didn't specify what it was.

    The arrival of the Russian strategic bombers in Venezuela sparked criticism from the US and neighbouring Colombia, but the Russian Foreign Ministry has assured that the bombers were not carrying nuclear weapons on board.

    The Tupolev Tu-160, known in Russia as the White Swan due to its huge white wings with a 55m span, is a supersonic strategic bomber developed in the early 1980s and which was commissioned in 1987. The jet is capable of reaching a speed of Mach 2 and flying up to 12,300km without refuelling. Tu-160 can also carry up to 40,000kg of ordnance, such as 6 Raduga cruise missiles or 12 Kh-15 (NATO reporting name AS-16 Kickback) short-range nuclear missiles.

    READ MORE: Maduro Says Visits by Foreign Military Aircraft to Continue Amid Tu-160 Arrival

    The Tu-160 received a massive upgrade in 2005 (afterwards referred to as the Tu-160M2), receiving not only new engines, avionics, and electronic systems, but also a new coating based on stealth technology. 

    Related:

    Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Take to the Skies Over the Caribbean (VIDEO)
    Maduro Says Visits by Foreign Military Aircraft to Continue Amid Tu-160 Arrival
    Colombia Won't Succumb to Venezuelan Provocations - MoD on Tu-160 Arrival
    Moscow: Pompeo's Statement on Russian Tu-160 in Venezuela Inappropriate
    Pompeo's Remarks About Russia Sending Tu-160 to Venezuela Unacceptable - Moscow
    Tags:
    nuclear weapons, US ambassador, Tu-160 Blackjack, Tu-160, Kevin Whitaker, United States, Venezuela, Columbia
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik