Russia regularly turns down enquiries from wealthy foreign clients to convert Tupolev long-range bombers to supersonic business class jet.
“Wealthy foreign clients regularly address the Russian aircraft-building company Tupolev for making a private supersonic business class jet on the basis of Russia’s Strategic bombers Tupolev-160 or Tupolev-22M3,” Tupolev Deputy CEO for Design and R&D, Valery Solozobov, were quoted as saying by TASS Monday.
"Big business tycoons in different countries (an Arab sheikh, a millionaire in Australia and a wealthy Greek among them) keep asking us to make a personal supersonic plane on the basis of the missile-carrying Tupolev-160 or long-range bomber Tupolev-2M3. We get such messages regularly, some of them through the Rosoboronexport agency," he said.
All of the requests have been turned down. "Turning Tupolev-160 into a passenger plane would be a very costly affair. It is far less expensive to build a plane anew and without the know-hows used in creating the Tupolev-160," he explained, adding that a business class jet does not need a variable shape wing. Besides, some of the solutions used in the Tupolev-160 are classified.
"The retractable canards might be used, but they are not always necessary. Besides, most of the Tupolev-160 know-hows are secret, so building even a passenger configuration of this plane for private clients would be wrong," Solozobov said.