Russia's first "deeply modernized" Tu-160M bomber made its first flight on Sunday.
"Today our first deeply modernized Tu-160M bomber successfully performed its maiden flight. The flight took place at an altitude of 1,500 meters and lasted 34 minutes," manufacturer United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced.
The upgraded Tu-160M strategic bomber was transferred from the production workshops to the flight testing station of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise for factory ground and flight tests two months ago.
Alexander Konyukhov, General Director of PJSC Tupolev, had told Interfax that the Russian forces will be able to take the delivery of the Tu-160M upgraded aircraft in 2021.
In all, 16 Tu-160 Soviet-era planes are said to be covered under the modernisation program. The aircraft will be equipped with the latest airborne defense system, a modern reliable communications system with enhanced noise immunity, and a "unique weapon" that will reportedly significantly expand its combat capabilities when using conventional and nuclear weapons.