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.
Last year officials announced to resume the production of Tupolev-160 bomber’s upgraded configuration – Tupolev-160M2 and to postpone the development of a new generation bomber till a later date.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov was quoted as saying that the upgraded Tuipolev-160 would boast fundamentally new parameters as compared with the planes already in service.
He added that the manufacturers were proceeding with preparations for the manufacture of upgraded bombers in keeping with schedule, although some shortfalls were still to be eliminated.
According to the ministry, the construction of Tupolev-160M2 would begin in 2023 and the Aerospace Force plans to acquire at least 50 such aircraft.