Russia’s state-owned company United Engine Corporation has begun testing an upgraded NK-32 02 aircraft engines designed for the Tu-160 supersonic heavy strategic bomber.
"The bench tests of the new NK-32 02 series engines meant for the strategic missile carrying bomber Tupolev-160M2 are in progress at the public joint stock company PAO Kuznetsov in Samara," TASS reports citing a statement made by the firm.
A number of parts and components of the NK-32 engine (series 02) were upgraded to make it more fuel efficient.
"Its endurance has been improved. Equipped with this engine, the Tupolev-160M2 bomber will have far greater capabilities, including a longer range of flight," the UEC said.
In April 2015, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu ordered launching production of the Tu-160’s profoundly upgraded modification.
The project, dubbed Tu-160M2, will have completely new avionics and armament. Its performance is expected to exceed that of the baseline by 2.5 times. As earlier reported, the Defense Ministry has been looking to procure up to 50 Tu-160M2s, at a rate of three to four deliveries per year.
Russia has launched R&D work to develop a defensive aids system for modernized Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bombers to protect them from all types of missile attacks. "We understand that the bombers will have a principally new defensive aids system which is being developed as part of a new R&D effort
Russia plans to produce a batch of upgraded NK-32.02 aircraft engines by the end of 2016
Russia may test the upgraded configuration of Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber in 2019, according to a report by TASS. "I believe that in 2019 this plane, upgraded and manufactured, will make its maiden flight," Aerospace Force commander Viktor Bondarev said Wednesday, when asked about the outlook for resuming the production of Tupolev-160
Russia will replace existing Tu-160 strategic bomber fleet will all-new versions of the aircraft besides upgrading operational aircraft to the level of new planes. "We are going to purchase the entire fleet of our strategic Tu-160 bombers in their new version and carry out heavy upgrade of operational aircraft where only the fuselage will remain while all the onboard radio-electronic equipment and engines will be replaced
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