As part of the program to modernize the fleet of strategic bombers of the Russian Air Force, The Russian Ministry of Defense has begun flight tests and evaluation of the upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M to the new standard. According to recent information provided by Rostec, these tests are “hiringIt is carried out in collaboration with Tupolev employees of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).
In the middle of 2010, the Russian Federation made the decision to implement a major modernization program for one of its main strategic bombers. However, the plan was more ambitious, Since 2015, it was also decided to resume the manufacture of new units of the Tupolev Tu-160 in its modernized version..
The program is currently underway, with the modernization of the Russian Air Force’s existing fleet of Tu-160s (inherited in part from the Soviet Union), as well as the construction of new units of the bomber. Among the main features is the extension of the useful life of the aircraft and the installation of new NK-32-02 engines. In addition, 80% of the Tu-160’s avionics and equipment systems have been replaced with new equipment to meet the challenges of the new century.
As reported by Rostec today, the joint state tests feature the first of the upgraded Tu-160M and are being carried out by crews made up of personnel from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation and manufacturer Tupolev. Although no further details were given, the aim of the activity will be to assess the aircraft’s capabilities and determine if it meets the requirements. Generally, The Russian Ministry of Defense, with the advice of the Air Force, determines through tests whether the aircraft is ready for delivery and operation in operational units..
During 2022, many Russian media outlets reported the start of flight campaigns for both the new Tu-160M and bombers that have received upgrade and modernization work. The first flights were recorded at the beginning of that year, as well as last December, when one of the updated aircraft of the Russian Air Force took off..
finally, Performance of these tests may indicate delays in the softwareAnd United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) CEO Yuri Slyusar confirmed late last year that the company is ready to deliver the first Tu-160M to the Russian Air Force. However, to date, this has not been announced by the official media or recorded in open information sources.
*Images used for illustration: Flight tests recorded January 2022 / Rostec-UAC credits.
You may be interested that the Russian Tu-160 is armed with Kinzhal supersonic missiles