The Tu-160 (Image © Tupolev)

Russia to restart Blackjack production in 2023

Russia is to restart production of the Tu-160 Blackjack long range strategic bomber in 2023, Russian press agency TASS reported on 17 July following a statement from deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov. Moscow earlier this year stated it intended to restart production, with factory equipment already being sought.

The newly built Tu-160s will be of the modernized M2 variant. The current fleet of 15 Blackjacks is now in the process of being updated, with the final aircraft expected to be ready in 2019. The Tu-160 is very similar to the US Rockwell B-1B Lancer.

Meanwhile, development of the next generation strategic bomber – known as PAK DA – is to be slow downed. This indicates Russia feels the need for a more immediate strengthening of its bomber fleet, instead of relying on a new design that will remain under development for many more years to come.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image: A Tu-160 strategic bomber (Image © Tupolev)