MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. Russia has assembled its first upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber and started its trials, a source in the defense industry told reporters on Thursday.
"On November 28, the first heavily upgraded Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber was transferred from the production workshops to the flight testing station of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise for factory ground and flight tests," the source said.
After the ground tests are over, the Tu-160M will enter the stage of flight tests, the source added.
The Tu-160M has been developed under the program of the heavy upgrade of operational Tu-160 bombers. The aircraft’s new version is set to considerably boost the plane’s efficiency when it is employed according to its designation, the source stressed.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting in Kazan in January that the first serial-produced heavily upgraded Tu-160M strategic bomber would arrive for the troops in 2021. The defense chief specified that the bomber’s production had restarted at the Kazan Aviation Enterprise.
The Tu-160M will feature the latest onboard defensive aids suite, an advanced and reliable communications system with enhanced jamming resistance and unique weapons that will vastly expand its combat capabilities when it employs both conventional and nuclear munitions.