The first newly-constructed Tu-160M2 strategic bomber will enter service with the Russian military in 2021.
“Construction of the modernised Tu-160M for the Ministry of Defense has already begun. The first contract delivery is scheduled for the end of 2021,” Interfax quoted Alexander Konyukhov, General Director of PJSC Tupolev, as saying.
Earlier in 2019, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the Tu-160M will be equipped with the latest airborne defense system, a modern reliable communications system with enhanced noise immunity, a unique weapon that will significantly expand its combat capabilities when using conventional and nuclear weapons.
In 2015, Russia made a decision to resume the production of Tu-160 bombers in their upgraded Tu-160M2 modification and reschedule the development of the new-generation bomber PAK DA for a later term.
The serial production of Tu-160M2 bombers was scheduled to begin in 2023. The Russian Aerospace Forces intend to purchase no less than 50 Tu-160M2 bombers. Aerospace Force then-Commander-in-Chief Viktor Bondarev said in June 2017 that the Tu-160M2 might take to the skies for the first time already in late 2018.