The first modernised Tu-160M strategic bomber is to enter the Russian Armed Forces service in 2021. 

The upgraded aircraft features new weaponry, improved electronics and upgraded avionics.

According to local media, this was announced by Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu during his visit to the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant, a branch of the Tupolev PJSC.

“We are working on upgrading the Tu-160M and giving its a new outlook in accordance with the schedule. The first aircraft which will have no analogues in the world, will enter the troops in 2021”, the head of the defence department stated, as he opened a session focused on maintaining health of armaments, military and special hardware.

“The aircraft will be equipped with the latest on-board defence system, a modern reliable communications system with enhanced anti-jamming system, and unique weapons, which will significantly expand its combat capabilities when using standard and nuclear weapons. NK-32 engines of the second series are installed on the strategic bomber, which will significantly increase the flight range and duration.”

The bomber will carry the hypersonic Kh-90 (3M25 Meteorit-A) missile. The Russian Air Force will receive more than 10 modernised Tu-160M2s by 2020.

Entering service in 1987, the Tu-160 was the last strategic bomber designed for the Soviet Union. As of 2016, the Russian Air Force, Long Range Aviation branch has 16 aircraft remaining, with fewer being airworthy and in service.

The Tu-160 active fleet has been undergoing upgrades to electronics systems since the early 2000s.

26 COMMENTS

    • Yes, it is capability! Russia could quit easy use a squadron of Tu160’s to launch a conventional attack on the UK, and we got nothing to retaliate with, the F-35 does Not have the range to reach Moscow!
      Only if we had Vulcans!

        • The Russian bombers would Not need to enter UK airspace, they will have launched stand-off warpons similar to Storm Shadow.
          By the time Typhoon’s had reached the launch position, the bombers would gone!

      • Yeah we got rid of Vulcan because it could not penetrate air defences even with cruise missiles and we have four large SSBN’s with 64 missiles and 160 nuclear weapons to retaliate with. If you want a conventional deterrent then we have 7 SSN’s armed with cruise missile and Typhoons that can launched storm shadow and reach Russia with tankers. That’s before you include all the assets of NATO. No stealthy aircraft like this and the B1 and B52 have about as much utility is throwing missiles out the back for a cargo plane. Useful capability to have but not at the expense of having to operate an entire aircraft fleet. Also the missile they carry can easily be shot down by aircraft like typhoon especially when backed by AWACS. Such aircraft are little more than a vanity program. Real modern strategic bombers like B2 are so expensive that even the USA can barley afford to operate them.

  1. Dem Whit Swanes Ist A Buggerin Newsanse , fliyin oft da Coowst of Ukrane awl va tim. growlley bumberin freats to bumus awl .now wee hast Mericann stuff ov much Venty hatefluid an acruiity ov aimm we know linger hast fraid ov Rusky Bangy Bang Bangs ore them Tanky tracky fire rods of 120 raign.
    We Is Noto Reedy nowe. we Is wanking to Joyn upp an Kock Rusky Ass

  2. As I understand it is 3 per year, including new build. So by 2027 they will have ~30 operational Mach 2.0 15,000km bombers. That is not to be sneezed at.

  3. The UK needs to rebuild the Vulcan bomber force,
    armed with warpons like Storm Shadow, ER- JSSM and future Perseus. The Vulcan would make best conventional deterrent with a range of 3000 miles. Vulcan(modernize), powered by 4 New EJ2X0 with 80000+ lb of thrust, could have a dual role of ISR aircraft equipped with a removable ASARS-2 radar module in bomb bay.

      • Are you Not concerned that Russia could launch a surprised conventional attack on UK military bases, of which I envisaged in a previous post?

        • Yup. I’m concerned by Every Possible Scenario Truth be Know but Vulcans being Re Activated, Ain’t never ever going to happen. Lancaster’s are another story though ! There are still Two Flying.

          • Merion, It worked OK with our Stringbags, They flew so slow that the Bismark couldn’t Target them ! Mind you, It’s a difficult thing to choose between the Vulcan Howl or the sound of 4 Merlins.

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