Russia planning upgrade of Tu-160 supersonic bomber

TU 160 supersonic bomber

Russia is to recommence  assembly of the massive Soviet-designed Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber with upgrade software and hardware, Deputy Defence Minister Yury Borisov said today. “This will essentially be a new airplane, not a Tu-160 but rather a Tu-160M2,” he said. Production is expected to begin some time after 2023. The Tu-160 – the last bomber designed and built by the Soviet Union –  is a supersonic swept-wing aircraft designed to deliver nuclear weapons to distant targets. Only 15 were produced before the USSR’s collapse, and just one since then  in the early 1990s.
The timing of the Tu-160’s revival raises questions about Russia’s commitment to the PAK DA program, a Defence Ministry project to create a brand-new next-generation strategic bomber that had been billed as a replacement for the Tu-160 and which was also expected to begin rolling off production lines around 2023.