The aircraft, said to be the heaviest combat aircraft ever built, will have refurbished engines with improved reliability that will allow the aircraft to increase its range by more than 620 miles. The new Tu-160 will also be equipped with new missiles.
The heavy strategic bomber will retain its trademark variable-sweep wings, three-point landing gear, all-flying tailplane and tail fin, according to the media outlet.
Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber aircraft. Russia. Awesome frontal shot! pic.twitter.com/lmRBV3s1PH— PJ de Jong (@jong_pj) 30 августа 2015
The Russian Defense Minister has placed an order for 50 upgraded Tu-160s with increased combat capabilities. The modernization is expected to be completed by 2021.
Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack and great escort of Su-30 and Su-27 Flankers pic.twitter.com/S3vP8hQdtE— ВИКТОР (@888VICTO888) 28 июня 2015
The Tu-160, designed by the Tupolev aerospace and defense company, has been in service since 1987.
The design bureau is also working on Russia's stealthy fifth generation long-range bomber, dubbed the PAK DA. The subsonic aircraft, reportedly based on the Tu-160, is expected to make its maiden flight in early 2020s.