MOSCOW, November 1. /TASS/. Russia’s upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bomber will remain a cutting-edge plane for 40 years after it is launched into production due to its state-of-the art equipment, Aerospace Force ex-commander and Chairman of the Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Viktor Bondarev told TASS on Wednesday.
"For example, the strategic Tu-160 missile carrier is still unrivaled in the world and so many technologies will be incorporated in it when its production is resumed that it will remain a super-new plane for another 40 years," the ex-commander said.
It was reported in 2015 that Russia had made a decision to resume the production of Tu-160 bombers in their upgraded Tu-160M2 modification and reschedule the development of the new-generation bomber PAK DA (Perspective Airborne Complex of Long-Range Aviation) for a later term.
The Russian Defense Ministry reported that the serial production of Tu-160M2 bombers should begin in 2023. The Russian Aerospace Force intends to purchase no less than 50 such aircraft. Aerospace Force then-Commander-in-Chief Bondarev said earlier that the Tu-160M2 might take to the skies for the first time already in late 2018.
The Tu-160 is the Soviet strategic missile carrier armed with cruise missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. Along with the Tu-95MS missile carrier, the Tu-160 makes part of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces along with the ground-based missile systems and submarines.
According to data from public sources, the Russian Aerospace Force currently operates 16 such aircraft built during the Soviet period. About a half of these bombers has already undergone repairs and modernization.