The Russian Defense Ministry will purchase at least 50 new Tu-160 (Blackjack) heavy strategic bombers when the aircraft's production is renewed, Russian Air Force Commander Col.Gen. Viktor Bondarev said Thursday.
"To cover all the outlay of the production, at least 50 aircraft will be purchased in course of time," Bondarev was quoted as saying by various media.
The Tu-160 strategic bombers will be produced simultaneously with the country’s new bomber, called PAK DA (prospective aviation complex of long-range aviation). However, the renewed Tu-160 manufacturing will not result in suspension of PAK DA, the Russian Air Force Commander said.
PAK DA, which is expected to make its first flight in 2019, is a next-generation Russian strategic bomber developed by the Tupolev Design Burea. It is equipped with the newest high-precision weaponry.
Earlier this month, he had said that the Russian Air Force would start receiving its aircraft in 2023.
The Air Force Tu-160 is presently being upgraded, and radar and navigation equipment is being replaced. The Tu-160, a supersonic strategic bomber with variable-sweep wings, designed to engage targets around the globe with nuclear and conventional weapons.