The first prototype of Russia's upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bomber will perform its maiden flight from the airfield of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise in February 2018.
"The plane with the factory number 804 based on Soviet aircraft breakthroughs will be rolled out of the final assembly workshop of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise and delivered to the flight testing station in November this year. The plane is expected to perform its debut flight from the enterprise’s aerodrome in February next year," a source in the Russian defense industry told TASS on Thursday.
According to Russian media reports, the new Tu-160M2 is expected to be equipped with an active phased array antenna radar system. It will also get a new fire control system, increasing the efficiency of its Kh-101 and Kh-102 long-range missiles (which have a maximum range of 5,500 km – the longest in the world). The plane will also be fitted with a modern electronic warfare station, increasing survivability against would-be ground and air-based anti-aircraft missile threats.