Russian armed forces will receive four Tu-160 missile carriers this year of which two of them will be of the modernized version.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was informed of this during his visit to the Kazan Aviation Plant. S. Gorbunova today. Two more Tu-160s were being produced for the Russian troops presently.
Tu-160 is a supersonic strategic missile-carrying bomber with a variable sweep wing, developed at the Tupolev Design Bureau in the 1970-1980s. These aircraft are the air component of the Russian nuclear triad. They are designed to destroy the most important targets deep behind enemy lines with nuclear and conventional weapons. They are capable of carrying 12 cruise missiles on board, all weapons are located inside the fuselage.
Serial production of the Tu-160 was discontinued in the 1990s, and now Russia is working on resuming the construction of "strategists" in a new guise - the Tu-160M. Outwardly, they do not differ from the basic Tu-160s, but their combat capabilities have been significantly increased by expanding the range of weapons and equipping them with new engines - NK-32 of the second series, which allow increasing the flight range by 1,000 km.
The contract for the supply of the first batch of 10 aircraft worth 15 billion rubles each was signed on January 25, 2018.
Russian defense ministry plans to order 50 such aircraft and intends to modernize all 16 "strategists" in service in the guise of the Tu-160M.
The first experimental Tu-160M "Igor Sikorsky" was created on the basis of a combat aircraft, its first flight took place on February 2, 2020. On January 12, 2022, the first Tu-160M, built from scratch, took off.