8 photos of the Tu-160M2, the new long-range super bomber that Russia just unveiled

Tu-160M2.

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Tu-160M2.
source
United Aircraft Corporation

Russia unveiled its new Tu-160M2 Blackjack long-range super bomber on Thursday – an upgrade to the Tu-160M and original Tu-160, according to The Drive.

“While ostensibly an improved variant of the Soviet-era Tu-160, the Tu-160M2 is a new bomber in all but name,” Russian media said, according to The Aviationist.

The new Blackjack is expected to make its maiden flight in 2018 and go into mass production in 2021.

Its full capabilities are therefore still unknown – but here’s what we know so far:


Russia unveiled the new Tu-160M2 White Swan — codenamed Blackjack by NATO — on Thursday.

source
United Aircraft Corporation

Source: airforce-technology.com, The Drive


It’s an upgrade to the Tu-160M, which entered Russian service in 2014.

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REUTERS/Host Photo Agency/RIA Novosti

The original Tu-160 first entered Soviet service in 1987.


The Tu-160 is often compared to the US’ B-1B Lancer.

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Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III/USAF/Handout via REUTERS

Here’s more on the B-1B Lancer.


Its full capabilities are still unknown, but other than keeping the same frame, it will reportedly be a much different aircraft.

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United Aircraft Corporation

In 2015, Russian media reported that the new Blackjack would share 60% of its components with the older version.

You can find a full list of the original Tu-160’s specifications here, and the Tu-160M modifications here.

Source: The National Interest


It will reportedly have a new engine — four of the NK-32 02 series seen below — which will add 600 miles to its flying range.

source
Rostec

The original engine on the Tu-160 – the NK-32 – is already a powerful engine, providing 55,000 lbs of thrust. The B-1B Lancer, on the other hand, only generates about 31,000 pounds of thrust.

Source: The Drive, The Aviationist


It will also reportedly have new avionics, sensors, and communications equipment.

source
United Aircraft Corporation

Source: The Drive, The Aviationist


Including improved inertial, satellite, and astro-navigation equipment. An active electronically scanned array radar will be to able to detect targets at longer ranges and with better accuracy.

source
United Aircraft Corporation

Source: The Drive


It will also most likely be fitted with a new KRET defensive suite.

source
United Aircraft Corporation

The new defensive suite might possibly have any combination of better infrared countermeasures, solid-state lasers, or beams of electromagnetic radiation to take out incoming missiles.

Source: The Drive, KRET


The new Tu-160M2 will probably be used for the same kind of missions as the older Tu-160M version, and carry the same Kh-101 and nuclear Kh-102 cruise missiles.

source
United Aircraft Corporation

Source: The Drive


Russia hopes to buy at least 50 of the new Tu-160M2s.

source
United Aircraft Corporation

Source: The Drive


Below is a video of the new Blackjack rolling out of the hanger.