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Russia launches production of upgraded nuclear-capable strategic bomber

Posted by Dylan Malyasov on


In a statement made Thursday, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation said that the Grobunov Kazan Aircraft Plan has launched first samples of the upgraded Tu-160 nuclear-capable strategic bomber.

“Now the manufacture of the first such planes has begun,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said. 

“No doubt, the serial production will start in the immediate future. We will wait until the debut flight, the fulfillment of experimental design work and after that a decision will be made on serial deliveries,” the deputy defense minister said.

The Tupolev Tu-160, reported with the name ‘Blackjack’ by NATO countries, first flew in 1981 as a Cold War competitor to American bombers.

The Tu-160 is the biggest plane with a variable-sweep wing and one of the most powerful combat aircraft in the world. In 2015, a decision was announced to restart the production of the strategic bomber at the Kazan Aircraft Enterprise.

The basis version of Tu-160 has two internal bays for carrying 40,000kg worth of bombs, and two rotary launchers capable of holding six Raduga cruis missles or 12 Kickback short-range nuclear missiles

It was earlier decided in 2015 to resume manufacturing of the Tu-160 strategic bombers as the Tu-160M2 modernized version. Batch manufacturing is preliminary scheduled for 2020-2021 to produce first 50 aircraft.

The Tu-160 aircraft is considered to be a part of Russia’s nuclear triad.

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