Details emerge of Russia's latest cruise missiles
By Robert Hewson
Exclusive images of Russia's two most advanced long-range airborne weapons - the Kh-101 and Kh-555 conventionally armed cruise missiles - have recently been acquired by Jane's.
Russia has been modernising its cruise missile inventory over the past few years and has recently increased the operational tempo of the strategic bomber fleet that would deploy such weapons.
Developed by the Raduga Design Bureau (now part of the unified Tactical Missiles Corporation), the Kh-555 is a modified version of the original nuclear-tipped Kh-55 strategic stand-off weapon (AS-15 'Kent'). It is thought to have entered service in 2004, but details are scant. The Kh-101 is a stealth-optimised design, conceived as a Kh-55 replacement. No images of this missile have previously been shown in public.
In the imagery acquired by Jane's, the Kh-101 is seen carried in pairs on four pylons under an upgraded Tu-95MS16 'Bear-H' (Tu-95MSM) bomber. The Tu-95MS16 variant can carry a theoretical load of 16 cruise missiles (Kh-55s): 10 on underwing pylons and six on its MKU-6-5 internal rotary launcher.
Image: The first pictures of the Kh-101 cruise missile to emerge in public show eight of the stealthy missiles loaded on an upgraded Tu-95MS bomber (Via Robert Hewson) 172 of 574 words
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