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The Bear & the Raptor

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  • The Bear & the Raptor

    The Russians continue to probe Alaskan and Canadian defenses. I know and workout with three "Raptor Drivers". Those "Bears" can't see an F-22 coming since it's radar signature is about the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper with a classified top speed.

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    The turboprop-powered Tu-95 strategic bomber entered service in 1956 and remains an important part of Russia's long range air power. Its Western reporting name is Bear. At the time of its introduction it was the only Soviet bomber, that could reach United States without in-flight refueling.
    The current bomber/missile carrier version is the Tu-95MS (Western designation Bear-H). It entered service in 1984 and was manufactured until 1992. There are two subvariants, both based on the maritime Tu-142. The Tu-95MS16 (Bear-H16) carries 16 long-range air-launched cruise missiles (6 internally and 10 externally). The Tu-95MS6 (Bear-H6) is the more numerous version, with provision for external missile carriage deleted in accordance with the SALT/START treaties. About 60 Tu-95s of both variants are based with heavy bomber regiments at Engels and Ukrainka. This total includes three aircraft formerly held in Ukraine. The air force also operates 11 earlier-model Tu-95KUs as trainers.
    The main weapon of the Bear is the Kh-55 air-launched cruise missile. It is a long-range standoff weapon. There are both conventionally-armed and nuclear versions of this missile. Modernized versions of the Tu-95, including the T-95MS, can also carry newer Kh-101 and Kh-102 air-launched cruise missiles.
    If it pays, it stays