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KAZAN, July 17. /TASS/. The modernized Tupolev Tu-160M2 missile carrying strategic bombers of Russia’s Long Range Aviation will be in service for at least 40 years, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on Friday.
"As for the Tu-160, it has record characteristics, so it may have a very long and happy destiny. I think that we are modernizing the Tu-160 not just to close this problem for the next 5-10 years, because if we restore the aircraft production, its service life will be at least 40 years," Borisov said during a visit to the Kazan-based Gorbunov Aviation Plant (a Tupolev branch).
The deputy minister said that the Long Range Aviation planes theoretically may have a service life of up to 100 years with regular modernization phases with replacement of engines and avionics.
"Soviet and Russian planes have very good flight characteristics, satisfactory by all parameters that are in demand also today," Borisov said.
The Kazan Aviation Plant, founded in 1927, is a subsidiary of JSC Tupolev. It currently manufactures special purpose aircraft on the basis of Tu-214, as well as repairs and modernises bombers. In addition, the company manufactures and supplies components and assemblies within the framework of cooperation with other plants of the United Aircraft Corporation. In particular, the Kazan plant is preparing for the production of wings and tail assembly for the IL-476 planes.
The Russian Air Force currently operates about 15 Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) supersonic strategic bombers. The missile carriers are undergoing modernisation, which was announced in 2012. 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.