So; in summary. The Russians if they had attacked us in 1990, would have flown their Tu-160s in at altitudes in excess of 55,000 feet; making interception of them a real swine -- USAF regulations prohibit operation above FL55 unless you're wearing a pressure suit.Unlike their American colleagues flying the B-1 B, Tu-160 pilots never mastered ultra-low-level terrain-following flight, and far from all Blackjack crews were trained in IFR procedures which gave the aircraft its intended intercontinental range
Secondly, they had plans for PEAK OIL:
Also, some old fashioned cold war goodness:Tu-160V bomber project
By far the most radical modification of the Blackjack proposed in the 1980s would have resulted in what was, in effect, a completely new aeroplane. Much has been reported on airliner projects utilising cryogenic fuel - liquid hydrogen (LH2) or liquefied natural gas (LNG); the feasibility of the concept has been proved by the Soviet Tu-155 research aircraft - a heavily modified Tu-154 (CCCP-85035) which first flew on 15th April 1988. But have you ever heard of a cryoplane bomber? This is exactly what the projected Tu-160V would have been; the V stood for vodorod - hydrogen.
Apart from the powerplant consisting of jet engines adapted for running on hydrogen, the Tu-160V featured a new fuselage which was of necessity much bulkier in order to accommodate the heat-insulated LH2 tanks and inert gas pressurisation system
The Western intelligence community maintained a close interest in the Tu-160, especially its mission equipment, long before the aircraft entered service. The Soviet counter-intelligence service (the notorious KGB) was extremely alarmed to discover a self-contained signals intelligence (SIGINT) module near Priluki AB in the spring of 1988.
Disguised as a tree stump, the thing monitored and recorded air-to-ground radio exchanges and other signals emitted by the aircraft operating from the base. It was never ascertained who had planted the module, but countermeasures were not slow in coming: operational Tu-160s were provided with 'nightcaps' made of metal-coated cloth which were placed over the nose on the ground to contain electromagnetic pulses. As a bonus, these covers protected the ground personnel from harmful high-frequency radiation when the avionics were tested on the ground.
As is usually the case on such occasions, a flying display was staged; it included two more Tu-160s which were parked elsewhere on the base. When the bombers (captained by Vladimir Grebennikov and Aleksandr Medvedev) were due to taxi out for their demonstration flight, a single engine would not start on each aircraft (!). Realising the embarrassment that would result if the demo flight was cancelled for this reason, the VVS top command authorised the crews to take off on three engines - which is exactly what they did. The flights went well, thanks as much to excellent airmanship as to the Blackjack's good flying qualities.
Nevertheless, the fact that only three of each bomber's engines were emitting the characteristic orange efflux did not escape the attention of the US Air Force representatives, who demanded an explanation. Worried though he was about the situation, Long-Range Aviation Commander Col. Gen. Pyotr S. Deynekin answered with a straight face that the Tu-160's engines had several operational modes, not all of which were characterised by a smoke trail.
It is not known whether the Americans believed him; indeed, it would appear hardly improbable that ordinary service pilots would run the risk of taking off with one engine dead. However, even if they had guessed the truth and had the grace to say nothing, they surely acknowledged that the Soviet pilots were real pros.