Fears are growing for one total war. The Israeli intelligence company ImageSat International (ISI), which collaborates with the Born since 2016, it has detected an “irregular presence” of Russian bombers able to carry nuclear weapons near the border with Finland. They are the TU-160 and TU-95, spotted at the Olenya airbase. According to satellite images taken by the company, four TU-160s were detected on August 21, and three TU-95s were detected on September 25. A suspicious movement, also because last August 12, there were no strategic bombers at the air base.
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“The system indicates that Engels Air Base is the possible departure point for strategic bombers identified at Olenya Air Base,” the report reads. The Engels air base in the Saratov region, about 700 km south-east of Moscow.
Israeli intelligence firm @ImageSatIntl has detected an “irregular presence” of Russian TU-160 & TU-95 strategic bombers deployed to Olenya Airbase. The base, on the Kola Peninsula, houses a significant number of military hardware, including tactical & strategic nuclear weapons pic.twitter.com/g5Hi7pqgbw
– Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) September 30, 2022
The characteristics of the bombers
Engels Air Base is home to the only Russian strategic bombers stationed near Ukraine and is the home base of the 121st Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment (121 TBAP) which flies the TU-160 and TU-95. Aircraft active in the war in Ukraine since Moscow invaded last February. According to The Drive, the regiment was awarded the honorary title of “Guards” – a prestigious title for Russian military units – for “mass heroism displayed by regimental personnel in combat operations”.
It is the Kh-55SM and Kh-102 nuclear cruise missiles that the Tu-95MS and Tu-160 bombers can carry. While the KH-102 is equipped with a thermonuclear warhead. Powered by a TRDD-5A turbojet, it can reach a cruising speed of 700 km / h with peaks of 970 km / h. This is made possible thanks to the use of a preloaded digital map able to follow the conformation of the terrain as well as the adoption of the GLONASS / INS system for trajectory correction, with a range of 6-10 meters.
The suspicious shift
While it is unclear why the bombers were moved to the air base, it comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to threaten the West that it could use strategic nuclear weapons, even after announcing a partial mobilization in the country, saying ” this is not a bluff ”.
The Olenya Air Base
Olenya Air Base is located on the Kola Peninsula near Murmansk. It houses the Russian Northern Fleet and a significant number of military weapons and hardware, including tactical and strategic nuclear weapons. According to 2020 data released as part of the New START arms reduction treaty between Moscow and Washington, Russia has declared 1,447 strategic warheads deployed and has the capacity to deploy “far more than 1,550 warheads on its modernized ICBMs and SLBMs. as well as heavy bombers, but is bound to do so by New START. Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Vadym Skibitsky said Tuesday in an interview with The Guardian that Kiev rates Moscow’s threat using tactical weapons against the country as “very high “.