MOSCOW, January 5. /TASS/. Russia’s upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bomber will perform its first test flight in January 2018, ahead of scheduled February, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Friday.
"The Tupolev Design Bureau actually promises to take the plane into the air earlier - at the end of January," the deputy prime minister wrote on his Facebook page.
At a working meeting with President Vladimir Putin in November, Rogozin said the maiden flight of the strategic bomber was planned for February.
The Russian Defense Ministry reported earlier 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.
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.