Russia’s air force has today received the first examples of a number of modernised strategic bombers – a Tu-160M and Tu-95MSs - following upgrade work performed by manufacturer Tupolev.
Enhancement activity on the supersonic Tu-160 includes “partial replacement” of the aircraft’s avionics and weapons systems, says Tupolev. First flight of the initial example took place on 16 November.
A second phase of modernisation will begin in 2016 with the addition of uprated Kuznetsov NK-32 engines, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass.
Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database lists the service as possessing an active inventory of 13 of the long-range bombers. It will bring “more than a dozen” aircraft to the enhanced standard, says Itar-Tass.
Meanwhile, the air force has also taken delivery of an unspecified number of upgraded turboprop-powered Tu-95MSs.
Enhancements have been confined to the bomber’s electronic weapons and targeting systems.
A further delivery will take place before year-end, says Tupolev, with an additional 20 aircraft to be modernised in the 2015-16 timeframe.
MiliCAS records a total of 58 Tu-95s currently in Russian service.