Everything Old is New Again*: China buying Russian Backfire Bombers
Recycling…the Russians and Chinese are doing it….with supersonic, long range bombers. And all to just defend their coastal areas…..not to worry, move along, nothing to see here…
There was a point, a decade or so ago (OK, maybe two decades back), when I thought some of my bete noirs, like medium- and intermediate range ballistic missiles and long-range cruise missile-armed supersonic bombers were going to go skulking off into that not-so-gentle night. Alas, it appears not so:
A move by Russia to sell its production line of Tu-22M3 long-range bombers to China for US$1.5 billion to China was confirmed by the US-based US-China Economic and Security Review Commission two years ago and the bomber’s name will be changed to the Hong-10, reports the state-run China News Service … The Hong-10, whose components will all be produced in China with the exception of the engine, is expected to fly in the second half of next year, and the country will produce 36 aircraft in the first batch to be delivered to the air force. One of world’s fastest long-range bombers which can also carry atomic weapons, the plane can cover the South China Sea, East China Sea and even the western Pacific. Sources here and here.
As Will notes, our Navy has become weak in the skills necessary to plan and defend against a delivery platform that can launch a supersonic cruise missile from 200+ miles at your ships. It takes practice, practice, and practice to get it right. We haven’t been, because all we’ve been doing for over a decade is launching airstrikes and chasing pirates with RPG-7s.