First Success, Russia's Second Tu-160M Bomber Undergoes Flight Test, Here's Its Capability!

First Success, Russia's Second Tu-160M Bomber Undergoes Flight Test, Here's Its Capability!
First Success, Russia's Second Tu-160M Bomber Undergoes Flight Test

Moscow - The second Tupolev Tu-160M Blackjack strategic bomber ordered by Russia has been delivered to a flight test facility. Meanwhile, the third Tu-160M strategic bomber is in the process of being manufactured at the Tupolev Aircraft Company.

In late 2022, the first Tu-160M strategic bomber built completed factory tests. During its flight tests, the aircraft performs maneuvers to check the stability and control of the aircraft in the air, the working capacity of the air systems and engines, and the radio-electronic equipment on board.

“The first aircraft [of this series] has already made several flights. The second aircraft has been delivered to the flight test facility, while the third Tu-160M is being assembled," a source in the Russian defense industry told TASS on the sidelines of the Aero India 2023 event in Bangalore, India.

Russia has relaunched its upgraded Tu-160 strategic bomber program in the Tu-160M configuration after being ordered by President Vladimir Putin in 2015. The Tupolev Aircraft Company completely digitized the design documentation of the Tu-160M bomber in the shortest possible time.

Also included was recovering the airframe titanium vacuum welding technology. The program also works with state technology company Rostec to integrate the aircraft's advanced engines and instruments.

The Kazan Aviation Plant, a branch of Tupolev, is updating or upgrading more than 40% of the equipment under the Tu-160 aircraft modernization programme. The next generation of bombers will integrate technologies and materials that reduce radar detection.

The Tu-160 strategic bomber is the world's heaviest supersonic military aircraft with active sweep-wings to date. The Tu-160 is designed to engage enemy targets in remote areas with nuclear and conventional weapons, including Russian supersonic missiles.

Together with the Tu-95MS bomber, this aircraft is the mainstay of the long-range Russian Air Force. The Tu-160 strategic bomber was nicknamed the White Swan for its maneuverability and lightning-proof white paint finish.

The Tu-160 aircraft has all-weather capability, day and night and can operate in all geographic latitudes. The performance of the Russian Tu-160 is often compared to that of the US strategic bomber, namely the B-1B Lancer.

Quoted from Airforce Technology, the Tu-160 bomber can carry nuclear and conventional weapons including long-range nuclear missiles. The missiles are accommodated on multi-station launchers in each of the two weapons bays.

The Tu-160 is capable of carrying as many as 12 Kh-55MS strategic cruise missiles, known in the West as AS-15 Kent. The Kh-55MS missile is powered by a turbofan engine with a maximum range of 3,000 km and is armed with a 200kt nuclear warhead.

The weapons bay is also equipped with a launcher for the Kh-15P missile, which NATO has designated AS-16 Kickback. The Kh-15P Kickback missile has solid rocket fuel propulsion, which gives it a range of up to 200 km. The Kickback can be equipped with a conventional 250kg warhead or a nuclear warhead. The aircraft is also capable of carrying a variety of aerial bombs with a total weight of up to 40 tons.

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