12:00 AM, February 8, 2012
The Russian Defense Ministry on Tuesday announced that the Russian Air Force will receive more than 10 modernized Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers by 2020. According to official data, Russia has at least 16 Tu-160 aircraft in service. There are plans to increase their number to 30. “The Tu-160 in service with the Air Force are already undergoing modernization. We are planning to receive more than 10 aircraft of this type,” Air Force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said. The Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation. The modernized version, Tu-160M, features new weaponry, improved electronics and avionics, which double its combat effectiveness. Russia will also modernize about 30 Tu-22M3 Backfire-C strategic bombers to a Tu-22M3M variant by 2020.