In 1967, the USAF launched a program of the B-1 Lancer
supersonic-strategic bomber which has a blended wing body configuration,
with variable-sweep wing and four turbofan engines. The USSR prompted to
maintain the strategic balance. A requirement for the research and
development of a new bomber was issued to three design bureaus which
resulted as Myasishchev M-18, Sukhoi T-4MS and Tupolev 160. The Sukhoi
T-4MS was based on an earlier T-4 Sotka supersonic bomber. It was
codenamed "S-200" as it's take off weight approached 200 tons. In
1972, the three designs were presented to the Ministry of Aviation
Industry. The T-4MS was chosen as the winner of the competition.
However, the USSR Air Force felt that Sukhoi would be unable to handle
the T-4MS development as the bureau was already involved many new
fighters projects. Sukhoi was ordered to stop the development and
transfer all the research works of the T-4MS to Tupolev bureau. Tupolev
declined the offer and continued the "Article160" design with variable geometry
wing which became the Tu-160 Blackjack bomber.