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Russia's Air Force to purchase at least 50 Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers 2805153

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World Defense & Security News - Russia
 
 
Russia's Air Force to purchase at least 50 Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers
 
According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, Russia’s Air Force will purchase at least 50 Tu-160M strategic bombers, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, Gen.Viktor Bondarev said on Thursday, May 28. "The supreme commander [president of Russia Vladimir Putin] and the Russian defense minister have taken a decision on reviving production of the Tu-160M aircraft," he stressed. The industry "has confirmed its possibilities" on restarting the production of these bombers, he said.
     
According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, Russia’s Air Force will purchase at least 50 Tu-160M strategic bombers, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, Gen.Viktor Bondarev said on Thursday, May 28. "The supreme commander [president of Russia Vladimir Putin] and the Russian defense minister have taken a decision on reviving production of the Tu-160M aircraft," he stressed. The industry "has confirmed its possibilities" on restarting the production of these bombers, he said.
Russian Air Force Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber
     
"The production of the aircraft will be restarted. To cover all the outlay of the production, at least 50 aircraft will be purchased in course of time," Bondarev said.

The decision on reviving the production of Tu-160M will not hamper the creation of a new strategic bomber dubbed PAK DA (prospective aviation complex of long-range aviation).

The reproduction of this model will be carried out simultaneously with the development of the new one, Bondarev said.

"Of course, we have no right to do it otherwise," Viktor Bondarev said in reply to the query whether the revival of the Tu-160M production could interfere with the designing of a new generation strategic bomber, and whether work on both planes would proceed simultaneously.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered to study the issue of resuming the production of Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic strategic bombers at the Kazan aviation plant in the Volga Republic of Tatarstan in late April. There are currently around 15 Tu-160s in service that are undergoing modernization due to be completed in 2019.

The Tu-160 bomber is "a unique plane that has been several decades abreast of time and has not used its constructive possibilities to the full extent until now," the Russian defense minister said.

"No one has devised a better plane in the supersonic category up to date," Shoigu said.

The Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation.

The modernized version of the Blackjack, the Tu-160M, will feature new weaponry, improved electronics and avionics, which will double its combat effectivness. The first modernization phase, now completed, involved bolstering the aircraft's nuclear armament with the capacity to carry 12 conventionally armed Raduga NPO Kh-555 (AS-15 'Kent') long-range cruise missiles and laser-guided bombs. According to Itar-Tass, a second phase of modernisation will begin in 2016 with the addition of uprated Kuznetsov NK-32 engines. This second phase could be also focused on replacing the radar, as well as the electronic navigation and communication systems.