How does the Russian Tupolev Tu-160 compare to the U.S. B1 Bomber?
The Tu-160–while it looks similar to the B-1B–is a very different aircraft. The Soviet Union designed the Blackjack primarily as a means to deliver a nuclear strike during World War Three. However, the Soviets designed the jet mainly as a means to deliver nuclear-tipped cruise missiles–though the aircraft retained the ability to do low-level penetration. As such, the Tu-160 is much larger and much faster than the B-1B–with a maximum takeoff weight of over 606,000lbs and top speed greater than Mach 2.05. By contrast, the B-1B weighs in at 477,000lbs.
The Rockwell International B-1B Lancer strategic bomber and the Russian Tu-160 Blackjack look visually similar and even share some overlap in their mission sets, however, the two aircraft are quite different.
The B-1A was originally designed as a high-altitude supersonic penetrator before the Carter administration cancelled the program in 1977 after it became apparent that the new bomber would not be able to survive against new Soviet air defenses. Instead, the Carter Adminstration emphasized ballistic missiles and authorized the development of what would eventually become the Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit stealth bomber. However, the development of the stealth bomber was not made public and would remain classified for years to come.