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Russian MOD to receive first newly-built Tu-160M strategic bomber

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Russia’s Defense Ministry will receive the first newly-built Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber by the end of the second quarter of this year for subsequent state trials and operational service, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said on Friday.

“I believe that the president’s decision on resuming the production of the Tu-160 already in its new configuration was absolutely timely. We have been able to implement this task within the shortest time possible. Under the contract, the delivery was initially stipulated for late 2023 whereas we will deliver the aircraft to the Defense Ministry already before the end of the second quarter for subsequent state trials and the acceptance for service,” Manturov said.

The Tu-160M aircraft opens up prospects for implementing the new project of building the prospective complex of long-range aviation (PAK DA, Russia’s next-generation strategic bomber), the industry and trade minister said.

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“It is also set to complete preparations for its debut flight and subsequently pass all the stages of trials and its launch into serial production. Two planes, the Tu-160M and the PAK DA will be simultaneously produced,” Manturov said.

During his trip to the Republic of Tatarstan in the Volga area, Manturov visited the Kazan Aviation Enterprise where he got acquainted with the work under the program of restarting the manufacture of upgraded Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bombers.

Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber

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.

The program of restarting the production of Tu-160 bombers in their upgraded Tu-160M version was launched following a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015.

The Prospective Aviation Complex of Long-Range Aviation (PAK DA) has its design based on the “flying wing” scheme. The next-generation bomber will feature technologies and materials that reduce its radar signature. The aircraft will be capable of carrying existing and future strategic cruise missiles, precision bombs, and hypersonic weapons and will be outfitted with the latest communications and electronic warfare systems.

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