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Russia’s Mach 2 Tu-160M2 Strategic Bomber Revealed (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

© Sputnik / Maksim Bogodvid / Go to the photo bankOverhaul of Tu-160 planes at Kazan Aircraft Plant
Overhaul of Tu-160 planes at Kazan Aircraft Plant - Sputnik International
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Photos of Russia’s upgraded Tu-160M2 White Swan strategic bomber have been unveiled.

The Tupolev Tu-160M2 is a long-range bomber expected to make its first flight in February 2018, a Russian defense source said November 9, according to the Diplomat.

The bomber is bigger and faster than the US Air Force B-1B Lancer. According to the National Interest, the bomber will feature a maximum takeoff weight of 606,000 pounds and cruise at a maximum speed of Mach 2.05, just over twice the speed of sound. By comparison, the B-1B weighs 477,000 and has a maximum speed of Mach 1.25.

​"The plane with factory number 804, based on Soviet aircraft breakthroughs, will be rolled out of the final assembly workshop of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise and delivered to the flight testing station in November this year. The plane is expected to perform its debut flight from the enterprise's aerodrome in February next year," the source explained.

​"While ostensibly an improved variant of the Soviet-era Tu-160, the Tu-160M2 is a new bomber in all but name, according to the Russian Aerospace Force," the defense source said.

​The bomber is expected to feature new avionics, sensors, communications infrastructure and brand-new software.

​While it doesn't purport to be very stealthy, the warplane will likely carry long-range standoff cruise missiles with ranges of 2,700 to 5,000 km (1,677 to 3,000 miles), meaning it can strike from ranges that puts targets at risk without leaving the aircraft exposed to nearby threats."

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