Strategic bomber
Strategic bomber

Strategic bomber

Strategic bomber is a military aircraft that can carry aircraft, including nuclear, weapons (ballistic and cruise missiles, bombs). Its purpose is to apply missile and bomb strikes on targets of strategic importance located in enemy territory, usually outside the main military operations, with the aim of undermining the industrial and military enemy position.

Compared with tactical bombers, which are designed to engage targets directly in the front area (personnel, tactical bases, fixed and mobile equipment), strategic bombers have:

  • long range, increased mass combat weapons, which produces the most devastating effects of striking;

  • more comfortable conditions for accommodation of the crew members, which is caused by the requirement to preserve their efficiency in alerting mode (when the long flight).

The presence of a state of strategic bombers, which carry rocket-nuclear means of destruction, especially scary for their potential opponents and to deter aggression by the "warmongers".

Another difference between strategic bombers of the tactical is that the former are more expensive and versatile, capable of destroying power plants, dams, bridges, highways, important objects and even entire towns on the field of battle, and beyond. Today's strategic bombers have only 2 States - the United States and Russia.

Limiting the term

A strategic bomber is a type of aircraft that has an intercontinental flight range (more than 5000 km) and can use nuclear weapons. Aircraft of the type B-47, Tu-16 and Tu-22M, for example, although they can be armed with nuclear missiles and bombs, can not overcome the intercontinental range, so they are classified as long-range bombers. The use of the term "long-range bombers" is not entirely correct, because such aircraft, in addition to having no intercontinental flight range, fully comply with the requirements of strategic bombers for other technical characteristics. That is, long-range and intercontinental bombers correctly indicate as two subclasses of strategic bombers.

Uncertainty of the criteria on the one hand and the political environment on the other have led to the fact that some states call not only tactical, but also operational-tactical bombers strategic - FB-111 (USA), Mirage 2000N (France), Vickers 667 Valiant (Great Britain), Xian H-6A (China).

In particular, this is due to the use (including planned) in the technical aspect of the operational-tactical and tactical bombers as strategic. In some cases, it is advantageous if in the territory of the enemy's strategic targets are in range of operational-tactical and tactical strike aircraft.


Strategic aviation (in Vol. H. The strategic bombing) began to fully develop with the advent of the Cold War. However, by strategic bombers category, you can also safely carry heavy bombers of the Second World War:

  • bombers "Lancaster" armed with the Royal Air Force of Great Britain.

  • B-29, B-24 and B-17 the US Air Force.

  • Soviet Pe-8 and IL-4.

These aircraft in time of war were used as strategic bombers. By the nature of the combat employment of the Soviet Tu-4 also belong to the class of strategic bombers.

During the Second World War, the design of intercontinental bombers began. The Japanese and German armies used such bombers (Nakajima G10N and Amerika Bomber) to carry out raids on the territory of the United States. The Americans, in turn, were engaged in the design of an intercontinental bomber capable of carrying out raids on Germany in the event of the capitulation of England. The result of the further development of events was the appearance in the ranks of the US Air Force in the early 1940-ies. The first full-fledged strategic bomber B-36. This piston airplane could not adequately resist the jet fighters, despite the high altitude for that period. However, for a long time B-36 bombers were the basis of the US strategic nuclear forces.

Then begins the rapid development of this military equipment. After some time, strategic bombers, equipped with nuclear and conventional weapons, constantly conducted combat duty, ensuring the assured destruction of enemy positions in the event of war. After the war, the main requirement that was put before the designers of strategic bombers was the possibility of delivering nuclear bombs or missiles to enemy territory and a safe return to their base. The main aircraft of this class during the Cold War were Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (USA) and Tu-95. (THE USSR). 

Supersonic strategic bomber

In the first half 1950-x does not have any air defense systems capable of striking high-rise high-purpose.

The only option that can be used against such targets were interceptors (eg. Convair F-102 Delta Dagger). Therefore, to solve the problem of invulnerability strategic bomber could be through the establishment of an aircraft of this class with the parameter increase maximum speed and service ceiling.

According to this doctrine in the United States developed A-5 bombers and B-58. A feature of these aircraft is primarily the fact that they could not use any other weapons except nuclear bombs.

A rough analogy with the Soviet Union can be considered as M and Tu-50-22.

The most perfect machine created by this doctrine, became an American bomber "Valkyrie" and the Soviet T-4.

After appearing as a part of the air defense anti-aircraft missiles, capable of hitting any target altitude, aircraft production B-58 turned off, and the first strategic bomber deck accommodation A-5 altered in the reconnaissance version.

At this stage of the arms race to the strategic bomber were presented still strong demands for speed, but not to break the enemy's air defense systems, but only to reduce the time of approach to the place of air strikes. For the passage of enemy air defense mission was planned to be used at a very low altitude.

According to this principle it was established aircraft such as the Tu-22M (USSR), FB-111 (USA) and TSR.2 (UK). Last bomber did not get into serial production due to the reorientation of the state on the use of ballistic missile submarines carrying missiles "Polaris". Such aircraft in English texts were called "interdictors."

In the era of new technology aircraft of strategic aviation gains the ability to fly at different altitudes (including extremely low - Tu-160, B-1), and some of them have a reduced radar signature (B-2). All of these characteristics in a complex to the successful penetration of foreign airspace.

However, the high cost of building and maintaining this type of aircraft and their questionable effectiveness in possible local military conflicts (for example, in the Russian Air Force there are Tu-22M and Su-34 for this purpose) do not allow replacing the military fleet of states, some types of aircraft are not removed With military records (vivid examples: Tu-95 and B-52). Together with this, the technical and moral aging of the apparatus of the type presented makes it necessary to replace them. To this end, the US has established a program to develop a new bomber, which will replace B-52 (this type of aircraft is planned to be completely removed from combat duty until 2030). To replace Tu-95 in Russia, PAK YES and modernized Tu-160 will be delivered (the first Tu-160 deliveries to the Russian Air Force are dated 2015).

The basic requirements set for the designers, creators aircraft strategic bombers - is to carry out the delivery of nuclear weapons. However, there are cases of their use in local military conflicts. In particular, the Tu-22M, Tu and Tu-22-16 have been involved in the Afghan war, B-52 - in Iraq and Vietnam, B-2 - Iraq (2003) and Yugoslavia.

Basic models of strategic bombers

Cold War:

  • Handley Page Victor.

  • Vickers Valiant.

  • Avro Vulcan.

  • B-52 Stratofortress.

  • B-36.

  • M-4.

  • 3M.

  • Tu-95.

  • Tu-22M.

  • Tu-16.

  • Tu-4.

Unrealized and pilot projects:

  • XB-70.

  • T-60.

  • T-4.

  • Tu-96.

  • M-56.

  • M-50.


  • Xian-H6A.

  • B-52H Stratofortress.

  • B-2 Spirit.

  • B-1B.

  • Tu-160.

  • Tu-22M3.

  • Tu-95MS.




  • Next-Generation Bomber (NGB).

  • modernized Tu-160.

  • PAK DA.

Classification of aircraft:


Administrative plane



Military transport aircraft

Air carrier

The hybrid airship

Hypersonic aircraft


twin-boom aircraft



counterinsurgency aircraft



Flying Submarine


The orbital plane

Passenger plane

Generation jet fighter

missile carrier
Reactive plane

Regional aircraft

Aircraft maintenance
The aircraft short takeoff and landing
Aircraft reconnaissance
Supersonic aircraft
High-speed bomber

Strategic bomber


Transport aircraft

narrow-body aircraft
Training and combat aircraft

Training aircraft

wide-body aircraft
attack plane

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