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.
Maiden flight of the Tu-160M made from scratch 🛫
The flight of the upgraded missile carrier took 30 minutes. During it, the crew of test pilots checked the stability and controllability of the aircraft in the air. pic.twitter.com/Vv67RiTV1m
— Rostec Сorporation (@Rostec_Russia) January 12, 2022
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.