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MOSCOW, August 12. /TASS/. Russia's modernized Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) strategic bomber will enter service in Aerospace Defense Forces in 2021, Air Force Commander-in-Chief, Col.-Gen. Viktor Bondarev said on Wednesday.
"In 2021, we’ll receive a completely new plane, which will be capable of solving any tasks assigned to it," the commander-in-chief said in an interview with Rossiya-24 TV Channel.
Russia’s Defense Ministry held a thorough analysis jointly with the industry to prepare and restart the production of the Tu-160 bomber, he said.
"This plane is needed very much," the commander-in-chief said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has made a decision this year to restart the serial production of the Tu-160 strategic bombers.
The Russian Air and Space Force is expected to receive no less than 50 new planes, which will enter into serial production in 2023.
The Russian Air Force currently operates about 15 Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) supersonic strategic bombers.
Russia is currently developing a new strategic bomber dubbed PAK DA (prospective aviation complex of long-range aviation). The new bomber was expected to make its first flight in 2019 and become operational in the Russian Air Force approximately in 2023-2025, but its development has been postponed amid plans to resume series production of the Tu-160M2 bomber in 2023.