Source: Russia Beyond The Headlines
The renewed Tu-160M2 will be able to fly at an altitude level of 60,000 feet, where no existing anti-aircraft or missile defense system can reach it.
At the end of 2016 the Russian Defense Ministry will receive the first delivery of the renewed NK-32 engines for the Tu-160M2 strategic missile-carrying bombers.
According to the developers, the new engine will help the plane fly up to the stratosphere at an altitude of 60,000 feet.
“The new NK-32 version can work not only as a reactive plane engine but also as a rocket engine. Thanks to this the Tu-160M2 will be able to cruise at a height where no enemy anti-aircraft system can strike it,” said a source at the Russian defense industry.
The modernized plane’s first flight will take place in 2018.
According to Russian air force chief Viktor Bondarev, the Defense Ministry plans to buy about 50 Tu-160M2 planes.
Serial construction of the aircraft will begin in 2021.
Tupolev and GosNIIAS developing avionics for the updated Tu-160
Working out the logic of human-machine interface on the complex glass display.
GosNIIAS (GosNIIAS) and the company Tupolev carried out avionics system integration for the new national strategic bomber Tu-160. Its avionics and its innovative system layout – Modular Avionics – will be the main focus of the updated aircraft system.
Since the fifties of the last century, the US military has designed about a dozen different bombers. “Soviet scientists were much more consistent in the development of basic models like the Tu-95 and Tu-22M3. The emergence of a new aviation complex Tu-160 with its target functions and ability of flying at supersonic speed, particularly of weapons, and the ability to overcome long distances have changed the strategic balance of power in the world “, – says Yevgeny Fedosov, Research Manager GosNIIAS.
Why is Russia recreating the Tu-160?
New Russian bomber PAK DA
Currently Russia is working on the construction of new-generation strategic bombers, the PAK DA (an acronym for “prospective aviation complex for long-range aviation”). However, the development of the new aircraft is being delayed: The first unit will appear only some time between 2020 and 2025.
“The Russian Aerospace Forces Command is now creating a “medium-term” substitution for the PAK DA. A series of long-range aviation planes will soon finish their alert missions and it will be necessary to conduct a planned substitution of the technology with new armed planes,” explained Dmitry Litovkin, military observer at the daily newspaper Izvestiya.
The source in the defense industry told RBTH that the project could become the most expensive program in the Defense Ministry in the 2020s. Its cost is comparable to the construction of new nuclear submarines from the Borei series, which carry the Bulava missiles – $5-7 billion.