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Russia’s newly-built Tu-160M ‘White Swan’ strategic bomber to enter trials by yearend

According to a source, the aircraft is in a hangar readymade and fueled

MOSCOW, November 29. /TASS/. A completely new Tupolev Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber nicknamed the ‘White Swan’ by Russian military pilots will make its debut run along the runway of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise (part of the Tupolev Aircraft Company) in December, a source in the domestic aircraft-building industry told TASS on Monday.

"The aircraft is in a hangar readymade and fueled. Before the end of this year, the Tu-160M will surely make a run along the runway. A flight is not planned," the source said.

The new strategic missile bomber has a "flexible’ date of trials that depends on the management that will attend the event, he said.

TASS has no official confirmation of this information yet.

United Aircraft Corporation Head Yuri Slyusar said on July 30 that the Tupolev Aircraft Company was working on assembling a completely new Tu-160M bomber "built from scratch." He also said that the Tupolev Aircraft Company was wrapping up the work to manufacture a second plane rebuilt from an old Tu-160 bomber.

Tu-160 ‘White Swan’ strategic bomber

The Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) is a Soviet and subsequently a Russian supersonic variable-sweep wing strategic missile-carrying bomber. Along with the Tu-95MS bombers, these aircraft are the mainstay of the Russian Aerospace Force’s long-range aviation. The Tu-160M is designated to strike enemy targets in remote areas with nuclear and conventional weapons. The Tu-160M is the world’s heaviest supersonic military aircraft to date.

It was reported in 2015 that Russia’s top brass made a decision to resume the production of an upgraded version of the Tu-160 bomber. In early November 2020, a heavily upgraded Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber with new NK-32-02 engines performed its debut flight from the aerodrome of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise. As the United Aircraft Corporation reported, during the bomber’s flight, specialists tested its general aircraft systems and onboard radio-electronic equipment mounted in the course of its upgrade and checked the operation of its NK-32-02 new engines.

In 2020, the Tu-160M bomber was listed among the world’s most significant military aircraft achievements by the US-based Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine.