The United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) of the Rostec State Corporation has handed over the first modernised Tu-160M missile carrierwith new NK-32 series 02 engines for preliminary tests. The aircraft will continue to carry out the test programme at the Tupolev flight test and development base in Zhukovsky near Moscow.
Tu-160 modernisation programme is said to include 16 aircraft that will receive new engines and avionics in addition to communications and jamming capabilities and new weaponry.
“The new Tu-160M missile carrier is equipped with new NK-32-02 engines and modernized 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, ”the Rostec aviation cluster said.
Tu-160M is a modernised 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 modernisation programme for combat aircraft systems of strategic and long-range aviation, which is being carried out by Tupolev PJSC.
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.