MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. The first Tupolev Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber built anew has completed factory tests, the press office of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) reported on Friday.
"In December, a newly-built prototype of the Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber engineered by the Tupolev Aircraft Company (part of the UAC within Rostec) performed a new flight. The aircraft completed the program of factory tests," the press office said.
During its test flight, the strategic bomber conducted maneuvers to check the aircraft stability and control in the air, the working capacity of its airborne systems and engines and the onboard radio-electronic equipment, it said.
Russia launched the program of restarting the production of upgraded Tu-160 strategic bombers following a decision by President Vladimir Putin.
Under a state contract signed to implement the program, the Industry and Trade Ministry and the Tupolev Aircraft Company fully digitized the design documentation on the Tu-160M bomber within the shortest time possible, restored the titanium vacuum welding technology, restarted the production of the bomber’s airframe assemblies and set up a new cooperation chain of advanced metallurgical, aircraft-, machine-and instrument-building enterprises, with most of them integrated into Rostec.
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 on an instruction from President Putin.