Russia’s first brand new Tu-160M2 bomber takes off after nearly 30 years

Russia flies first newly build Tu-160M2 strategic bomber. It is known that this is the first new strategic bomber built by the country since 1992.

“The newly built Tu-160M2 bomber has successfully performed a test flight,” Russian defense corporation Rostec said on January 12. An image released by the Russian Defense Ministry shows the plane taking off from the airport of the Kazan aircraft factory. The aircraft has a yellow-green color of the base paint, has not been painted with the usual color white because it is being tested before being put into service.

The test flight lasted 30 minutes at an altitude of 600 m, during which the crew performed maneuvers to assess the aircraft’s stability and controllability in the air.

The commander of Russia’s strategic air force Sergei Kobylash earlier this month announced that the force would receive two Tu-160M2 bombers this year.

Russia has not built a brand new bomber since 1992, of which the Tu-160 production line was closed in 1995. The country produced a number of Tu-160M ​​aircraft between 2002 and 2017, but all were based on unfinished fuselages.

The Russian Ministry of Defense decided to restart the new production line of the Tu-160 series in 2015, in the context of the delayed PAK DA stealth bomber project and lack of budget. 

The contract to buy 10 modernized Tu-160M2 bombers was signed by the Russian military with the manufacturer in 2018 under the witness of President Vladimir Putin, with a unit price of about $270 million each. The Russian Air Force claims to need at least 50 newly built Tu-160M2, but no more contracts have been signed in the past three years. The Russian force is operating 17 original Tu-160 and modernized Tu-160M ​​aircraft.

The Tu-160 is a supersonic bomber with the largest wingspan and void mass ever built. As of 2021, this is still the largest in the world, as well as the fastest bomber. It was nicknamed the “White Swan” for its radiation-reflective coating and maneuverability rare for a bomber.

The aircraft has two compartments in the fuselage, carrying up to 40 tons of bombs and long-range cruise missiles with a maximum range of up to 2,500 km.

A view of the cockpit of a Tupolev Tu-160M2 heavy strategic bomber
A view of the cockpit of a Tupolev Tu-160M2 heavy strategic bomber

Moscow restarted the production of the Tu-160 and the modernized version of the Tu-160M2 before finalizing the PAK-DA stealth bomber family. The modernized version of the Tu-160M2 is equipped with an integrated self-defense system, new communication equipment and engines, and many advanced weapons to enhance the ability to attack long-range with high precision.

The Russian military asserts that the power of the Tu-160M2 is much higher than the original Tu-160 variant, and the range is also increased by 1,000 km. The Tu-160M2’s mission is to deploy nuclear and conventional weapons from a longer distance.

In addition to new electronics and weapons, the Kuznetsov NK-32 engine on the Tu-160 series replaced by the NK-32-02 version on the Tu-160M2 version, helping to save fuel and increase operational efficiency. motion.

The aircraft can operate in all weather conditions, day and night and in any area of ​​the world. Tu-160 has a maximum speed of 2,220 km/h, a range of 12,300 km without refueling, and a combat radius of 7,300 km.

Tu-160M2 is equipped with an electronic warfare complex of the Su-57 stealth fighter, and an electronic system that applies many new technologies such as modular computers and does not use foreign components.

This new version will use an inertial navigation system with a laser gyroscope and a quartz accelerometer. This kit can work effectively even in conditions of strong enemy interference, helping pilots determine coordinates, flight direction and speed.

The main armament of the Tu-160 is two rotary launchers that can hold up to 12 Kh-101 cruise missiles with a range of 1,500-2,500 km or Kh-15 nuclear missiles with a range of 300 km.

Tu-160M2 has really become a multi-role bomber that makes the US very worried because they can both be an interceptor, a long-range strategic bomber.

It is even possible to use the Tu-160M2 as a tactical bomber or as a launch pad to launch spacecraft. Currently, Russia is planning to equip about 50 of these bombers.

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