Upgrade of Tu-160 strategic bomber will be completed in 2019, TASS reports with reference to Director of Design Center of Kazan Aviation Plant named after S.P. Gorbunov, Boris Naishuler. The plant is carrying out the upgrade of these jets.
«The first stage of the upgrade has already been completed; the second stage connected with replacement of almost all the avionics should be completed in 2019,» the source said.
According to him, the upgrade was started with replacing equipment installed on the jets during Soviet era. «The aircraft is fitted with equipment manufactured in former republics of USSR. The upgrade is aimed at replacing all this equipment, including navigation and communication systems, with Russian-produced analogues,» Naishuler explained.
Today Russian air forces are operating around 15 Tu-160 bombers and the upgrade of these jets announced in 2012 has already been started. It was also reported that Tu-160 jets would be fitted with upgraded NK-32 engines; the pilot batch should be delivered to the armed forces in late 2016.
In late April Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu ordered to consider the possibilities for resuming mass production of Tu-160 at the Kazan-based enterprise.