Russian strategic bomber engineer requests asylum in US
Tu-160 (Photo:Alex Beltyukov via Wikipedia)
A Russian engineer, who worked at Tu-160 strategic bomber production facility, has asked for political asylum in the United States, Yahoo News reported on Feb. 14.
The engineer and his family entered the United States from Mexico in late December 2022. He told the border control that he worked at a factory that produces Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers and has information that would of interest to the U.S. government.
U.S. government authorities were conducting background checks on the person in question for about a month. According to two Yahoo News sources, in mid-January he was recognized as credible and of potential interest to the United States, after which he was interrogated by the FBI. The report says the engineer was asked by the law enforcement about details of the production of the aircraft, as well as details of how the aircraft manufacturing plant functions: e-mail system, software, personnel, and equipment at the facility.
“We of course know the Russian bomber well,” a military official told Yahoo News.
“But specs, the real specs, nuclear capabilities — there are certainly things we would be interested in hearing about, if this guy is credible. The big thing is: did they retrofit it for hypersonic missiles?”
The Tu-160 (White Swan) is an intercontinental supersonic strategic missile-carrying bomber developed by Tupolev's design bureau in the 1970s. The Russians call it the largest and most powerful supersonic aircraft in the history of military aviation, as well as the heaviest combat aircraft in the world.
Back in June 2022, Russia launched an airstrike on Kyiv using Tu-95s and Tu-160s aircraft, launching cruise missiles from above the Caspian Sea. Moscow’s forces continue to use these bombers for attacks against Ukraine.
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