Tu-160M Strategic Bomber Makes its Maiden Flight

The first newly manufactured strategic missile carrier Tu-160M made its first flight from the airfield of the Kazan Aviation Plant on 12 January, said the press service of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in a release. 

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The program of reproduction of Tu-160 aircraft in the modernized form of the Tu-160M was launched by the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to UAC's release, the flight took place at an altitude of 600 meters and lasted about 30 minutes. The test crew pilots of PJSC Tupolev performed maneuvers to check the stability and handling of the aircraft in the air.

As part of the implementation of the program under the state contract between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia and Tupolev, the design documentation for the Tu-160M aircraft was fully digitized in a short time, the technology of vacuum welding of titanium products was restored, production of aircraft glider units was resumed, new cooperation was formed from advanced industrial enterprises in the field of metallurgy, aircraft engineering, engineering, and instrumentation, the main part of which is part of Rostec State Corporation.

The Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov stressed: "We have restored the full production cycle of the Tu-160, already in modification M, using modernized engines, modernized aircraft control systems, navigation systems, weapons control systems.

The modernization of the Kazan Aviation Plant played a great role in the restoration of the production of unique aircraft: the equipment of the workshops and flight test base were updated, and the world's largest electron beam welding and vacuum titanium annealing unit was put into operation. UAC speaks of significant prospects for the Tu-160 platform: further development will allow it to be used for new types of weapons, including promising ones.

The aircraft retains its appearance but is created on a completely new technological base using digital technologies. "The Tu-160 is one of the largest and most high-tech projects in the aviation industry. The implementation of this program required not only the renewal of production capacity but also the creation of a fundamentally new digital environment for working on the project. A number of aircraft design bureaus participated in the preparation of digital documentation for the benefit of the project. The fundamental importance of this event is that the new machine has been completely built again, from scratch," said Yuri Slyusar UAC CEO. "The new aircraft has  80 percent  upgraded and modernized system and equipment ."

The implementation of the program of modernization and reproduction of the Tu-160 strategic bomber required a significant renewal of the production base.

"Within the framework of the program, more than 40 percent of the workshop equipment was updated and modernized at the Kazan Aviation Plant, a significant part of the team received additional training. For Tupolev, the reproduction of the Tu-160 is the most important project, meaning not only the renewal of the material and technical base and the restoration of key competencies, but also the reaching a new level of design and serial production capabilities of the most complex and advanced aviation complexes," said Vadim Korolev, Managing Director of Tupolev.

The Tu-160 is the largest and most powerful supersonic aircraft in the history of military aviation with variable wing geometry.

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