Russian Defense Ministry to Order Some 50 New Tu-160M2 Advanced Bombers

© Sputnik / Yury Strelets / Go to the photo bankTu-160 is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber.
Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber. - Sputnik International
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The Russian Defense Ministry plans to procure around 50 Tu-160M2 upgraded supersonic strategic bombers, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said Thursday.

NIZHNY NOVGOROD (Sputnik) — In August, the Russian Aerospace Forces said the bomber may make its maiden flight as early as late 2018.

"For now, the baseline number remains the same, but it can be adjusted as we are continuing work on the advanced long-range aviation complex (PAK DA). The current baseline figure for the Tu-160M2 is 50 aircraft," Borisov said after holding talks with enterprises working on the project.

Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers - Sputnik International
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Current work involves improving the plane's technical specifications, especially its weight parameters, he added, noting that its serial production may start around 2020-2021.

Last year, Russia announced the comeback of the Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO reporting name Blackjack) in its upgraded Tu-160M2 variant, pushing back the final phase of developing the next-generation PAK DA bomber until later.

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