KAZAN, January 25. /TASS/. New Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber will strengthen Russia’s nuclear triad, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after watching the aircraft perform a flight demonstration in the city of Kazan.
"It is a serious step to advance the development of the high-tech industry and strengthen the country’s defense capabilities, because it is one of the elements of our nuclear triad," Putin said while talking to workers at Kazan’s Gorbunov Aircraft Plant.
The president said that the plant’s team had achieved a huge success creating the aircraft. Putin received an invitation to make a flight on it in a year and a half, but he pointed out that he had already taken a flight on the aircraft’s predecessor.
According to Putin, he did not have any doubts that further work on the Tu-160 project would go smoothly. He once again emphasized the need to boost the civil aviation industry, particularly considering the possibility of creating a civil version of Tu-160. Such an aircraft would be in high demand, though it will require a lot of work to make it, Putin added.
Putin visited the S. P. Gorbunov Aircraft-Building Plant in Kazan to see Russia’s newly-built supersonic strategic bomber Tupolev-160M perform a demonstration test flight.
It is the largest plane with a variable shape wing and one of the most powerful combat aircraft in the world. The decision to resume its production in Kazan was made in 2015.
The Tupolev-160M will boast a new computerized control system, cockpit and navigation equipment, onboard communication complex, radar and radio-electronic countermeasure equipment. Control of the fuel consumption and balance system and engine operation will be improved.
The upgrade will increase the effectiveness of Tupolev-160M by 60%.
The plane is capable of flying 12,000 kilometers without refueling. In combination with the Ilyushin-78 tanker plane, which performed its first flight on in Ulyanovsk on January 25, 2018 the Tupolev-160M will have round-the-globe capability.
"Why the Tupolev-144 project had to be aborted? The air fares were to match a certain average level of earnings. Now the situation is different. These days major companies have emerged that might use this plane," Putin said.
The chief of the United Aircraft Corporation Yuri Slyusar told Putin the corporation already had a project of a supersonic civilian liner.