Rare video shows Russian Air Force Tu-160 Blackjack bombers activity in the Arctic

Interesting footage from aboard Russian Tu-160s bombers over the Arctic.

The Tu-160 Blackjack is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber.

The Russian Air Force operates a dozen of Tupolevs of this type; only 5 examples are combat capable, one of those has been modernized since it entered active service.

The following video shows some interesting scenes of the Blackjacks operating in the Arctic region: takeoff, formation flying at low and high altitude, and some really cool cockpit footage.

In 2013 two Tu-160s deployed to Venezuela and Nicaragua after a 13-hour flight across the Pacific. On their 15-hour return flight to Engels airbase, in Russia, that included aerial refueling by Il-78 tankers over the Norwegian Sea, the two Blackjacks entered Colombian airspace and were intercepted and escorted by Colombian Air Force Kfir fighter planes for 5 minutes.

H/T Lasse Holmstrom for the heads up


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. as majestic as they look. In 2015 do these matter.. apart from using them to piss of western air forces.

    • Yes. More so than any other bomber except arguably the B-2. As far as raw specs go, it is the best bomber ever built. It can carry more farther and faster than any other bomber. It is primarily used as a cruise missile platform, giving it incredible potential as a hit and run platform.
      The Tu-160 is one of my prime complaints about the F-35 becoming our mainstream fighter now because it is too slow to intercept the Tu-160.

    • Yeh still. Thats all part of the game theory. Its why there is DEF CON 1,2,3. Missiles are totally no use in showing how annoyed you are as there are only 2 states, at home safe and sound and in the air the world has 30 mins left. Russia needs more then 5 of them though to spread out. The USA by comparison has 100s of B1b’s!

      • “The USA by comparison has 100s of B1b’s!”

        Which is why we’re broke and the middle class is dying. Not to mention the 1.4 Trillion F-35, which is the laughingstock of the world.

  2. Five combat ready?? Its a lottery that either way sees Russia lose… minimum triple that of B2’s combat ready at all times with 6 in work up… triple that of B-1’s

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