On December 28, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV released a first video showing flight of Russia’s modernized Tu-22M3M strategic bomber.
The first upgraded Tu-22M3M made its debut flight from the airfield of the Kazan-based Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise on December 28. This flight started the strategic bomber’s flight tests. Prior to this, the bomber passed a series of ground-based tests, during which specialists were checking its new onboard radio-electronic equipment, carrying out the ground-based engine runs and testing compatibility of the aircraft’s artificial intelligence elements.
Earlier, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation earlier said that the upgrade of operational Tu-22M3 bombers to the level of the Tu-22M3M would begin from 2019. According to the corporation, the first serial-produced bombers would start arriving for the troops from 2021.
Considering reports and statement on the issue, the Tu-22M3M features considerably greater combat potential, including the enlarged operating range and is capable of carrying Kh-32 cruise and also hypersonic missiles. The bomber boasts new navigation, communication and targeting equipment, new engine and fuel consumption control systems and radio-electronic warfare means.
The Tupolev company says that the replacement of 80% of radio-electronics has improved the accuracy of navigation and automation of the plane’s control and made its maintenance simpler and easier. The Tu-22M3m is also equipped with a new information and control system with digital indicators in the cockpit and the function of intellectual support for the crew.