MOSCOW, August 24. /TASS/. Russia’s heavily upgraded Tupolev Tu-95MSM strategic missile-carrying bomber will be capable of carrying eight missiles instead of four and has received new flight control and navigation and communications systems, CEO of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Yuri Slyusar said in an interview with the Zvezda TV Channel on Monday.
During its heavy upgrade, the Tu-95MSM received new weapons and aircraft control systems, flight control and navigation equipment, an onboard communications suite, a radar and data recording equipment. The upgrade will allow the strategic bomber to boost the efficiency of its combat employment.
"A possibility has appeared to carry eight instead of four missiles, i.e. to increase its weapon payload two-fold and extend the aircraft’s service life considerably," the UAC chief said.
The UAC head told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Army-2020 international military and technical forum on August 23 that the flight tests of the first prototype of the heavily upgraded Tu-95MSM strategic missile-carrying bomber had begun in Russia.
The Tu-95MSM performed its debut flight at the aerodrome of the Beriev Aircraft Plant in Taganrog. The aircraft was piloted by the crew under the command of test pilot of the Zhukovskaya flight testing base, a subsidiary of the Tupolev Aircraft Company, Andrei Voropayev. The flight proceeded in the normal mode at an altitude of 9,000 meters and lasted 2 hours and 33 minutes. The systems and equipment operated without a hitch.