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SAMARA, July 17. /TASS/. Serial production of Russia’s strategic bomber Tupolev Tu-160M2 will be launched starting from 2023, and the implementation of the next-generation strategic bomber design project (prospective long-range aviation complex - PAK DA) will be somewhat shifted in time, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters on Friday.
"According to the plans, serial production of the aircraft [Tu-160] new version is to be implemented starting from 2023," the deputy defense minister said during a visit to the Samara-based Kuznetsov Plant of the United Engine Corporation (Rostec subsidiary).
"The PAK DA project will be somewhat shifted beyond , otherwise there is no sense in it," Borisov told reporters, answering a question about the PAK DA possible shifting in time because of the Tu-160 manufacturing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision on reviving production of the Tu-160M aircraft (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) in May. Defense officials earlier said the decision would not hamper the creation of a new strategic bomber dubbed PAK DA (prospective aviation complex of long-range aviation).
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered to study the issue of resuming the production of Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic strategic bombers at the Kazan aviation plant in the Volga Republic of Tatarstan in late April. There are currently around 15 Tu-160s in service that are undergoing modernization due to be completed in 2019.
The Tu-160 bomber is "a unique plane that has been several decades abreast of time and has not used its constructive possibilities to the full extent until now," the Russian defense minister said.
"No one has devised a better plane in the supersonic category up to date," Shoigu said.
Russia is currently developing a new strategic bomber dubbed PAK DA (prospective aviation complex of long-range aviation). The new bomber is expected to make its first flight in 2019 and become operational in the Russian Air Force approximately in 2023-2025.