Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation has handed over the first modernized strategic bomber Tu-160M with new NK-32 series 02 engines to the Russian Air Force for further testing.
The aircraft will continue the test program at the Tupolev flight test and development base in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region, the company said.
The hand over follows the aircraft’s first post-modernization flight in February 2020.
“The new Tu-160M missile carrier is equipped with new NK-32-02 engines and upgraded onboard equipment, which has improved the characteristics of the base vehicle. The aircraft has successfully passed factory tests. Today, the new missile carrier has been transferred to the Tupolev flight test base for preparation for the next stage of flights – preliminary tests,” Rostec Aviation said.
Tu-160M is a modernized strategic missile carrier equipped with four new NK-32-02 engines manufactured by the United Engine Corporation. The first experimental Tu-160M was created as part of a large-scale modernization program for combat aircraft systems of strategic and long-range aviation, which is being carried out by Tupolev PJSC.
Russia’s Tu-160 modernization program is said to encompass 16 aircraft that will receive new engines and avionics in addition to communications and jamming capabilities and new weaponry.
The first Tu-160 entered service with then-USSR in 1987 and still holds the record as the largest supersonic aircraft in military history. The aircraft’s two internal bays can carry 20,000 kg of weapons each, and the aircraft can also carry missiles externally.