On August 16th, the upgraded long-range multimode missile carrier bomber Tu-22M3M made its debut in the Russian city of Kazan, according to the designer of the aircraft, cited by Xinhua.
Tupolev, a Russian aerospace and defense company designed the new aircraft, delivered the bomber for ground and flight tests at an unveiling ceremony held on the premises of the company’s branch in Gorbunov aviation plant.
It’s a principally new plane inside – with completely new systems, completely new capabilities, might and threat to potential adversaries,” said Yuri Slyusar, the head of the United Aircraft Corporation, cited by RT. It will reportedly be armed with hypersonic missiles, it is a new modern bomber inside a classic shell, according to Tupolev.
“The first experimental aircraft Tu-22M3M was designed within the ambitious modernization program of strategic and long-range aviation complexes … The following step of the program is the complete modernization of the first batch of combat aircraft Tu-22M3,” Tupolev’s general director Alexander Konyukhov said in Tupolev’s press release.
The Tu-22M3M bomber is designed to strike sea and ground targets at a distance of up to 2,200 km using bombs and guided missiles. According to Tupolev, the modified plane has a more comfortable cockpit, can travel longer distances, and fly faster due to its more powerful engine. About 80 percent of its electronics were updated.
According to Senator Viktor Bondarev, cited by RT, it will also be equipped with the newest long-range anti-ship cruise missiles, Kh-32s, which will allow it to attack large naval groups.
The senator, who is a Colonel General and the former Commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, claimed that the bomber will also be equipped with hypersonic missiles in the future.
RIA, as cited by RT, claimed that the Tu-22M3M will be used to test the “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile and will later be able to carry four such missiles.
The plane’s first flight is scheduled for September and it will undergo extensive testing. According to Senator Bondarev, cited by RIA, Russia plans on modernizing 30 such airplanes by 2020.
Xinhua cited Yuri Slyusar, president of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation to which Tupolev is affiliated, who claims that the Russian Aerospace Forces will start receiving the modernized bombers in 2021.
The original Tu-22M3 was created in the 1970s. It was used in Afghanistan during the Soviet War and saw limited action in counterterrorism operations in Northern Caucasus. It was mostly recently used to strike ISIS targets in Syria.
The presenting of the Tu-22M3M comes a short while after Russia also unveiled their hypersonic missiles in the face of Kinzhal, Burevestnik, as well as the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle. Reportedly all of them will be operational and ready to be deployed by 2020.