Russian air force gets new cruise missile

March 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

MOSCOW, March 21 (UPI) -- Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdiukov said the Russian air force's strategic long-range arms division is deploying a new cruise missile.

It is the first such new deployment since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Serdiukov declined to provide details beyond saying the weapon was an air-launched, long-range missile.

The Taktitcheskoe Raketnoe Vooruzhenie defense corporation developed the missile,

Russian air force head Col. Gen. Aleksandr Zelin said.

He said the new missiles would be installed on fifth-generation fighters currently under development.

Western analysts say the new cruise missile is a possible conventionally armed variant of the Soviet-era Kh-55 nuclear-armed cruise missile, which has been in service since the 1984 on Russian Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Serdiukov also stated that the air force's Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers, built during Soviet times, will be modernized to carry the new ordnance.

The air force's strategic long-range arms division will receive more than 10 modernized Tu-160M Blackjack bombers by 2020, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Vladimir Drik said.

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