Tupolev delivered the first modernized Tu-160M missile carrier with new NK-32 series 02 engines for preliminary tests. The aircraft will continue test program at the Tupolev flight test base in Zhukovsky near Moscow. The plane flew from the Kazan Aviation Plant named after S.P. Gorbunov. The missile carrier was piloted by the crew guided by the Honored Test Pilot of Russia Anri Naskidyants, the flight was made in normal mode, the systems and equipment worked without remarks. The serial production of completely new airframes for the modernized Tu-160M2 should begin in 2019 with deliveries to the Russian Air Force in 2023. The aircraft, named Petr Deinekin, after the first commanding officer of the Russian Air Force Gen. Pyotr Deynekin, performed its maiden flight in January 2018 and began flight testing the same month. It performed its first public flight on 25 January 2018, during president Vladimir Putin’s visit to KAPO plant. The same day, a contract for ten upgraded Tu-160M2 bombers was signed.
The Tupolev Tu-160 (White Swan’; NATO reporting name: Blackjack) is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. It is the largest and heaviest Mach 2+ supersonic military aircraft ever built and next to the experimental XB-70 Valkyrie in overall length. As of 2021, it is the largest and heaviest combat aircraft, the fastest bomber in use and the largest and heaviest variable-sweep wing airplane ever flown. Entering service in 1987, the Tu-160 was the last strategic bomber designed for the Soviet Union. As of 2016, the Russian Air Force’s Long Range Aviation branch has at least 16 aircraft in service. The Tu-160 active fleet has been undergoing upgrades to electronics systems since the early 2000s. The Tu-160M modernization programme has begun with the first updated aircraft delivered in December 2014.
The Tu-160 is a variable-geometry wing aircraft. The aircraft employs a fly-by-wire control system with a blended wing profile, and full-span slats are used on the leading edges, with double-slotted flaps on the trailing edges and cruciform tail. The Tu-160 has a crew of four (pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, and defensive systems operator) in K-36LM ejection seats. Unlike the American B-1B Lancer, which reduced the original Mach 2+ requirement for the B-1A to achieve a smaller radar cross-section, the Tu-160 retains variable intake ramps, and is capable of reaching Mach 2.05 speed at altitude. While similar in appearance to the American B-1 Lancer, the Tu-160 is a different class of combat aircraft; its primary role being a standoff missile platform (strategic missile carrier). The Tu-160 is also larger and faster than the B-1B and has a slightly greater combat range, though the B-1B has a larger combined payload.
Tupolev, officially Joint Stock Company Tupolev, is a Russian aerospace and defence company headquartered in Basmanny District, Moscow. Tupolev is successor to the Soviet Tupolev Design Bureau (OKB-156) founded in 1922 by aerospace pioneer and engineer Andrei Tupolev, who led the company for 50 years until his death in 1972. Tupolev has designed over 100 models of civilian and military aircraft and produced more than 18,000 aircraft for Russia, the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc since its founding. Tupolev is involved in numerous aerospace and defence sectors including development, manufacturing, and overhaul for both civil and military aerospace products such as aircraft and weapons systems, and also missile and naval aviation technologies. In 2006, Tupolev became a division of the United Aircraft Corporation in a merger with Mikoyan, Ilyushin, Irkut, Sukhoi, and Yakovlev by decree of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.