Putin presents four deeply modernized Tu-160M ​​bombers
Putin presents four deeply modernized Tu-160M ​​bombers

The Tu-160 program came to an abrupt halt after the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving a void in the air fleet that Russia has sought to fill in recent years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin evaluates improvements to the Tu-160M ​​in Kazan, marking a milestone in military aviation.

The Russian president witnesses the evolution of the Tu-160M ​​in Kazan.

Putin presents four deeply modernized Tu-160M ​​bombers

On a recent visit to the  Kazan Aviation Plant (KAZ), President Vladimir Putin had the opportunity to closely inspect the progress of the Tu-160M ​​strategic missile carriers. This inspection not only served as validation of the enhanced capabilities of these aircraft but also as a demonstration of the continuity and strengthening of Russia’s air defense capability.

Accompanied by a delegation of senior officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and the leader of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, the visit underlined the strategic importance of the  Tu-160M ​​program to the nation.

KAZ is currently in a crucial phase, preparing for serial production of the  Tu-160M, which represents a considerably advanced version of the original strategic missile carrier. This aircraft, equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and the new  NK-32-02 engines, promises exceptional performance and a significant reduction in maintenance requirements.

In addition, the  Tu-160M ​​incorporates an improved arsenal, highlighted by the Kh-101/102  cruise missiles, and is in the process of adaptation to include hypersonic weapons, thus expanding its operational capacity.

The Tu-160 program came to an abrupt halt after the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving a void in the air fleet that Russia has sought to fill in recent years. The current fleet reduced to 16 Soviet-built units, is in the process of being expanded with the construction of a new Tu-160M, with a view to strengthening Russia’s strategic air presence globally.

The SP Gorbunova Kazan plant, a subsidiary of  Tupolev JSC under Rostec and  PJSC UAC, plays a crucial role in this effort, having been modernized to support the demands of the program.

Specifications and technical capabilities of the renewed Tu-160M

The  Tu-160M, a jewel of Russian aeronautical engineering, stands out for its design with a variable-sweep wing, which allows it to reach supersonic speeds of up to 2,220 km/h (Mach 2.05) and operate at heights of up to 16,000 meters.

Its maximum takeoff capacity of 275,000 kilograms, together with a wingspan that varies between 35.6 and 55.7 meters depending on the wings’ angle, underlines this strategic aircraft’s magnitude. In addition, its flight range of up to 12,300 kilometers, expandable through in-flight refueling, gives it an unprecedented global operational capacity.

Powered by four  Kuznetsov NK-32 turbofan engines with afterburning, the  Tu-160M  ​​generates a total thrust of 100,000 kilograms, facilitating its outstanding performance. This capability is complemented by a suite of advanced avionics and electronic warfare systems, including a next-generation navigation system and enhanced radar and in-flight refueling probe. This ensures exceptional operability and effectiveness in the theater.

In terms of armament, the  Tu-160M  ​​is unparalleled. Capable of carrying up to 40,000 kilograms of ammunition, including free-fall bombs and Kh-55SM cruise missiles, this strategic bomber is also being adapted to carry the new Kh-101/102 stealth cruise missile.

With a range of up to 5,500 kilometers, these missiles can be armed with both nuclear and conventional warheads, offering  Russia a long-range, versatile and highly effective strategic offensive capability.