The Russian Ministry of Defense has filed a lawsuit with Moscow Arbitation Court against Tupolev for not building a new missile to arm its “deeply modernized” Tu-160 M bomber on time.
The MoD wants to recover 5.5 billion rubles ($75 million) from the company for allegedly violating the deadline for state contract dated December 26, 2016. It pertains to development of a new missile (product 506) under the 70M 506 project.
The case went to court on December 10, 2020, a preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 4. The case will most likely be heard behind closed doors, Interfax reported today.
The Tu-160MS bombers are currently equipped with modern cruise missiles such as Kh-101 (product 504) and Kh-102 (a variant of a missile with a thermonuclear warhead). These aircraft will be armed with Kh-BD cruise missile with a range that’s expected to surpass its predecessor Kh-101’s 4,500km.
"We are developing new aircraft weapons, and the Tu-160 aircraft cannot be compared with missiles Kh-55, Kh-550, even Kh-101 and the aircraft, which we hope to receive in series by the 2030s with new aircraft weapons that will have completely different ranges,” In March 2018, Yuri Borisov, being the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, told reporters.
The first "deeply modernized" Tu-160M bomber made its first flight a year 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. It will be able to carry 2 cruise missiles on board, all weapons are located inside the fuselage.