The supersonic strategic bomber Tu-160 with a variable sweep wing entered service with the long-range aviation in 1987. At the beginning of 2013, the Russian Air Force included 16 aircraft of this type, all of them are based at Engels airbase. For the grace and beauty of the forms, the bomber received the nickname "White Swan", in NATO countries the aircraft is known as Blackjack. The main feature of the missile carrier is the use of a variable sweep wing, which allows the machine to make ultra-long flights in an economical mode of operation of the engines. The aircraft can fly without refueling almost 14 thousand kilometers. The maximum take-off weight of the giant is 275 tons. The maximum flight speed is 2230 km / h (for combat units it is limited to 2000 km / h to save the airframe resource), cruising speed is 917 km / h. On board the White Swan can take up to 45 tons of various weapons from free-falling bombs to high-precision cruise missiles, including those with nuclear warheads.
It is worth noting that, unlike nuclear missiles, modern strategic bombers are a much more flexible tool for convincing and demonstrating power. Taking off from a military base in Engels near Saratov, Russian strategists can easily fly to the American coast, as well as to the United Kingdom, and easily find themselves off the coast of Australia or in the Indian Ocean. At one time for these bombers, specially created airfields “jump” - intermediate bases at which technical services could replenish fuel supplies, carry out the necessary maintenance of the aircraft, and the crews could rest. Such airfields may also appear in Latin America: in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. In 2013, two Russian Tu-160 bomber made a flight to Venezuela, breaking more than 10 thousands of kilometers and spending hours in the 10 air. Then the bombers successfully landed at the airport Maiquetia.
Air bomb of a volumetric explosion
One of the most powerful ammunition at the moment that can be used with Russian bombers is the bomb of a volumetric explosion, which was tested in the 2007 year. The media often uses an unofficial and technically incorrect designation of this weapon - AVBPM (High-Power Aviation Vacuum Bomb). Another unofficial name for this ammunition is “Pope of All Bombs”. It is a reference to the nickname of the American bombs GBU-43 / B "Mom of all bombs." This large-caliber aviation ammunition has long been considered the most powerful non-nuclear ammunition in the world and is in service with the US Air Force.
The first to present a super-powered aerial bomb were the Americans, who in 2003 conducted a series of tests and showed the GBU-43 / B ammunition Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) Massive Ordnance. It was a bomb 11-ton in the TNT equivalent, which, for its destructive power, was immediately called the “mother of all bombs”. The development of the bombs involved designers from the famous company "Boeing", its developer is considered to be Albert Wimorts. The length of the American bomb is 10 meters, diameter - 1 meter. The total mass of 9,5 tons, of which 8,4 tons falls on explosives. The explosive used is H-6 explosive - a mixture of TNT, RDX and aluminum powder, which is more powerful than TNT by a factor of 1,35. In TNT equivalent, the GBU-43 / B explosion power is 11 tons. This is enough to ensure a guaranteed damage radius - approximately 140 meters, while partial destruction of objects and buildings are observed at a distance of 1,5 kilometers from the epicenter of the explosion.
It is worth noting that the GBU-43 / B is a high-explosive aerial bomb. MOAB was equipped with a KMU-593 / B guidance system, which includes satellite and inertial navigation systems. To control the flight of the bomb for the first time in stories American weapons were used in the manufacture of Russian ammunition, lattice stabilizers S. M. Belotserkovsky. The first bomb tests were carried out in 2003 year, two explosions were carried out at the site in Florida. One copy of the bomb was sent to Iraq as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, but it was not possible to use the bomb, by the time the bomb was delivered, active hostilities had ended.
For all its merits, the bomb has a significant disadvantage. During the tests, the bomb was dropped from the board of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. Inside the aircraft, the bomb was on a special platform, which, along with the bomb itself, was pulled out through the hatch using a parachute. Then MOAB quickly, in order not to lose speed, detached from the platform and the parachute, starting an independent fall on the target. Such a reset option is possible only if the enemy has no air defense system or at that time it is completely suppressed.
A Russian response to the “mother of all bombs” followed in 2007. Then on the First channel of television was shown news the plot of how a supersonic Tu-160 bomber drops a bomb, a parachute bomb drop and the explosion itself are shown. The plot also shows the consequences of the explosion: the ruins of a multi-storey building, the wreckage of military equipment, the burnt surface of the earth, resembling a moon surface. It is worth noting that due to security considerations, today we do not know not only the real designation of the tested ammunition, but also its developers and manufacturers. In fact, all the information about the bomb is a video of the First Channel, which was mounted from different pieces. For example, the very moment the bomb was dropped from the Tu-160 is not shown on the video. So at the moment, the only proof of the existence of a super-powerful aircraft bomb of a volume explosion is this video, which can be viewed on the network.
In the same video test commented on the then Deputy Chief of General Staff Alexander Rukshin. According to him, the test results of the created bomb showed that it is comparable in its capabilities and effectiveness with nuclear weapons. At the same time, Alexander Rukshin emphasized that the action of a bomb does not pollute the environment at all, unlike all types of nuclear ammunition. According to him, the new aviation munition will allow our country to ensure its security and will contribute to resisting international terrorism in any region of the world. He also clarified that the created bomb was able to replace a number of previously developed low-power nuclear weapons (tactical ammunition with a power up to 5 CT).
According to publicly available information, the Russian air bomb weighs more than 7 tons, but its explosion capacity reaches 44 tons in TNT. With a smaller mass of explosives, the power of Russian ammunition is 4 times more powerful than the American “Mother of All Bombs”. In terms of the mass of the charge, the power of the explosive used in the Russian bomb exceeds the power of trinitrotoluene more than 6 times.
The theoretical calculation of the affected areas (based on the power of ammunition in TNT equivalent):
90 meters from the epicenter of the explosion - the complete destruction of even fortified structures;
170 meters from the epicenter of the explosion - almost complete destruction of structures made of reinforced concrete, complete destruction of non-reinforced structures;
300 meters from the epicenter of the explosion - almost complete destruction of non-reinforced structures (residential buildings), as well as partial destruction of fortified structures;
440 meters from the epicenter of the explosion - partial destruction of non-reinforced structures;
1120 meters from the epicenter of the explosion - the shock wave is able to break the glass structures;
2290 meters from the epicenter of the explosion - the force of the shock wave is enough to knock a person down.
Effective stripping tool
The paradox is that the effect of a volumetric explosion was known even a century before the direct invention of space-detonating ammunition, which in the press is often mistakenly called "vacuum bombs." Humanity faced this before the very process of understanding the volume of the explosion occurred. Then, for unknown reasons, explosions occurred in the mines, sugar factories, mills, and sawmills flew into the air. What is a volume explosion? A mixture of an aerosol cloud of natural gases and some hydrocarbons: coal dust, sugar, flour, sawdust with oxygen - was a bomb ready to use. It was necessary only to bring the detonator in the form of a random spark or torch and an explosion occurred.
The name, which is firmly established in the media, arose because of the ability of the volume-detonating weapons to create a very powerful blast wave and burn oxygen over a large area to a state that is close to the vacuum. At the same time, UN experts have recognized such bombs as an inhuman means of warfare, which can cause excessive suffering. A person who finds himself in the area of such an explosion suffers atrocious injuries. However, another paradox of the situation is that these weapons were practically not used against the enemy soldiers.
During the Vietnam War, American pilots and helicopter pilots bombed such weapons primarily in the jungle. The main goal was to create an acceptable in size landing pad for helicopters. No more bombs were required from this type - the classical types of ammunition existing at that time coped well with their immediate responsibilities.
However, the military still used space-detonating ammunition. For example, the Soviet pilots in Afghanistan dropped body-detonating bombs ODAB-500P, which had a weight of 500 kg, onto dushmans. Bombs were dropped from the Su-25 attack aircraft, they were mainly used in the valleys. In the highlands, where a cloud of aerosol from such bombs quickly dissipated, they were used together with ordinary smoke bombs. According to the memories of the pilots, the thick smoke from the smoke bombs did not allow the aerosol to quickly dissipate. When bombing the mountains, the following combination was used: for every 6 volume-detonating bombs, there were two smoke bombs. The effect of using these ammunition was terrible.
The Russian ODAB - volume-detonating aerial bombs operate on the basis of the so-called volume explosion. Their development and release deals with the Moscow enterprise GNPP "Basalt". These bombs are designed to destroy targets and objects located in the folds of a terrain or in open field fortifications, they can also be used for making passages in minefields. The US Army, as mentioned above, used similar bombs to set up landing sites in the jungle, while the Soviet troops in Afghanistan bombed the caves of dushmans in Tora Bora and their other underground fortifications. Until the last moment, in the Soviet Union, and then in Russia, the most powerful aviation munitions were the high-explosive bomb FAB-9000 (high-explosive bomb of large caliber, designed to attack large land targets and ships of the enemy) and the detonating bomb ODAB-1500.
The principle of operation of ODAB and in particular ODAB-500PM is based on the implementation of a volumetric explosion. At the meeting of such a bomb with an obstacle, an explosion of an ordinary explosive charge occurs. This leads to the destruction of the thin-walled body of the bombs, and also brings the liquid explosives to a gaseous state and provides an aerosol cloud that is able to easily penetrate into unsealed shelters (dugouts, trenches). Approximately in 100-140 ms an explosion of the initiating detonator takes place, which is located in a capsule attached to the parachute, an explosion of the fuel-air mixture occurs.
The main striking factor of such bombs is a shock wave, in the front of which an excessive pressure is formed, which can reach approximately 3000 kPa (30 kgf / cm). Such bombs effectively fight the enemy's manpower, including where it can be safely hidden from the impact of fragments. For ODAB-500PM bombs, the effective strike radius of enemy soldiers is 30 meters in open areas and 25 meters in field fortifications, as well as trenches. In addition, the bomb provides for the defeat of the enemy’s openly-located aviation technology at the locations in the 30 radius. The bomb can be used at flight speeds from 500 km / h to 1100 km / h from a height of 200-12000 meters and allows the aircraft to maneuver even with very large overloads. The carrier bombs ODAB-500PM are currently all tactical aircraft that are in service with the Russian Air Force. Modifications of this bomb are more powerful ODAB-1000 and ODAB-1500, differing in greater mass.
However, the armies of the world are not in a hurry to move exclusively to this type of ammunition, and this has its explanation. According to Alexander Parfenov, Colonel of Stock, an expert at the Information Center "The Weapon of the XXI Century", the weaknesses of the volume-detonating ammunition lie in the fact that they have one damaging factor - the shock wave. They cannot possess a cumulative or fragmentation action on purpose. Moreover, a large amount of free volume and oxygen is required to carry out a volume explosion, that is, such a bomb will not work in a vacuum without air, in soil or water. Also, this kind of ammunition is greatly influenced by weather and weather conditions. In the presence of heavy rain or strong wind, the fuel-air cloud required for a volumetric explosion does not form or dissipates very quickly. And to fight only in good weather, you see, is not very convenient and practical. Despite these shortcomings, a volume explosion ammunition can have a strong fearsome effect on the enemy. For this reason, such bombs can be a very good deterrent, especially when it comes to fighting gangs or terrorists.