The two Russian missile-carrying bombers, Tu-160M2 and Tu-22M3M, are set to receive new communications systems based on the platform for the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter.
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“The system has been developed using the communications platform created for the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter. As its main advantages, it is characterized by high reliability, speedy information transmission, a small weight and energy efficiency.
The technical solutions laid out in creating the system help promptly build up its technical functionality by upgrading the software,” the press office of Ruselectronics Group (part of the state hi-tech corporation Rostec) told TASS.
Tu-160 is a soviet-era strategic bomber designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. It is the largest and heaviest Mach 2+ supersonic military aircraft ever built. In 2008 two Tu-160 bombers made the first transatlantic flight from Murmansk to Venezuela, on a training mission.
In June 2010, two Russian Tu-160 bombers completed a record-breaking 23hr patrol covering 18,000km of flight range. The bombers flew by the borders of Russia over the Arctic and Pacific Oceans and finally landed at Engels base in the Volga region.
Tupolev completed bench tests of modernised avionics complex for the Tu-160 bomber in March 2013. A Tu-160 aircraft with upgraded airborne radar and navigation equipment made the first flight on 16 November 2014. It entered service with the Russian Air Force in December 2014.
Tu-160M2 is an upgraded version of Tu-160. In 2015, Moscow announced that the production of Tu-160M2 would be started. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in January 2019 that the troops would receive four new Tu-160M2 strategic bombers by 2023. Tu-22M3M is also been upgraded simultaneously to Tu-22M3M level with considerably improved combat capabilities by Tupolev Aircraft Company.
Now both the strategic bombers will be equipped with communications systems based on the platform for the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter. “The system is undergoing the stage of flight tests and is showing high operational characteristics,” the press office added.
In addition to this, a second prototype of the Tu-22M3M supersonic bomber underwent trials at hypersonic speeds during a fourth test flight earlier this year. According to Mark Episkopos of National Interest, the Tu-22M3M boasts 80 percent new avionics over the original Tu-22M.
“An important part of the upgrade package was the inclusion of up to three of the Kh-32 missiles, which are classified as anti-ship missiles, but were also developed to be effective against critical infrastructure targets including bridges and power plants. That missile allowed the Tu-22M3M to occupy a unique position between strategic and operational-tactical roles,” he added.
As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, the Tu-160 is capable of carrying the twelve strategic cruise missile Kh-55MS which has maximum range is 3,000km, and it is armed with a 200kt nuclear warhead. The plane can also carry Kh-15P, which has a range of up to 200km.
The Kickback can be fitted with a conventional 250kg warhead or a nuclear warhead. The aircraft is also capable of carrying a range of aerial bombs with a total weight up to 40t. The Tu-22M3M is one of the few currently operational Russian aircraft that are compatible with nuclear-capable, Mach 10 speed Kh-47 “Kinzhal” missile that Russian president Vladimir Putin unveiled in 2018.