MOSCOW, July 6. /TASS/. Russia’s first upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M strategic bomber prototype has entered joint trials of the Defense Ministry and the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the press office of the state tech corporation Rostec announced on Thursday.
"The first upgraded prototype of the Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber developed by the Tupolev Public Company (part of the UAC within Rostec) has entered the program of state joint trials," the press office said in a statement.
The trials are being conducted by the joint crews of the Russian Defense Ministry and the design firm, it said.
The Tu-160M is furnished with advanced armament and electronic warfare systems and onboard radio-electronic equipment based on state-of-the-art instrument-making technology. The first Tu-160M upgraded prototype was engineered under a large-scale program of modernizing operational long-range aircraft currently being implemented by the Tupolev Aircraft Company.
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 is the world’s largest and most powerful supersonic military aircraft with a variable-sweep wing to date.
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 planes 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.
A source in the Russian defense industry told TASS on the sidelines of the Aero India 2023 international air show in Bangalore that the second newly-built Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber had been sent to a flight testing station and the third aircraft was under construction.