Several types of new aircraft missiles are being developed for the Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bombers, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on Friday.
"Yes, certainly," he said, answering a question if a new missile was being developed. "It will be not one, but several types of missiles - both in terms of the range and capacity. Several [missiles] are being developed," the deputy minister said during a visit to the Kazan-based Gorbunov Aviation Plant (branch of JSC Tupolev).
"A working group of the Defense Ministry and Industry and Trade Ministry has been formed for organizing the work. The group will convene monthly at the initial stages. We have made a ‘roadmap’ for the works, top assembly stages," Borisov said.
According to him, the "purely organizational work" is currently underway - the development of technical design specifications, conclusion of contracts.
"The normal systematic work on this project has started. The work is very complex, as once the entire Soviet Union worked on this plane. Today, it’s a major national project," Borisov said.
The Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber (NATO reporting name of Blackjack) was manufactured by the Tupolev aircraft research and engineering complex joint stock company of Moscow and the Kazan-Gorbunov Aircraft Production Association in Tatarstan from 1980 to 1992.
The maiden flight of the bomber was completed in December 1981 and it entered service in April 1987. Production has since restarted and a Tu-160 was delivered to the Russian Air Force in May 2000. About 35 aircraft were built of which only 16 are in service in Russia.
The Tu-160 can climb at a rate of 70m per second. The maximum and cruise speeds of the bomber are 2,220km per hour and 960km per hour, respectively. The range of the aircraft is 12,300km. Its combat radius is 7,300km. The service ceiling is 16,000m. The Tu-160 has a flight endurance of 15 hours. The aircraft weighs around 110,000kg and its maximum take-off weight is 275,000kg.