Russia leans on upgraded Tu-22M3 and Tu-160M bombers as it waits for PAK DA “flying wing”

UAC has been carrying out a program to modernize older aircraft while finalizing test flights with the first new Tu-160M

The Russian Air Force hopes to have the long-awaited PAK DA in the future, a stealth bomber in the shape of a flying wing that Tupolev has been developing for several years. The program, however, is kept confidential although from time to time members of the government give clues about the project.

Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense has been dedicated to modernizing the old Tu-22M and Tu-160 bombers, conceived during the Cold War.

The two Tupolev models have supersonic capability, but needed to be adapted to the new strategic reality, which gives them a role as vectors for long-distance hypersonic missiles.

In December, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the holding that controls the main aircraft manufacturers in the country, announced that it had released a modernized Tu-22M3 for the Long Range Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

Upgraded Tu-22M3 bomber (UAC)

Largest strategic bomber ever built

The same UAC also shared flight test footage of the first new Tu-160M completed. The aircraft is an improved version of the “Blackjack”, the largest strategic bomber ever built.

The huge variable sweep wing plane had several upgraded systems and more efficient KN-32 engines in order to offer optimized performance. The new Tu-160M is expected to be delivered soon as the UAC says the factory test program is now complete.

In addition to it, another old Tu-160M passed the upgrade program and was delivered to the flight test division at the Kazan factory. According to World Air Forces 2023, produced by Flight Global, the Russian Air Force would have 15 Tu-160 and 59 Tu-22M bombers in service.

PAK DA not official rendering
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