8 photos of the Tu-160M2, the new long-range super bomber that Russia's answer to the B-1B Lancer

United Aircraft CorporationTu-160M2.

Russia announced in late March that it will completely overhaul its entire Tu-160 long-range super bomber fleet by 2030.

“We are going to purchase the entire fleet of our strategic Tu-160 bombers in their new version and carry out heavy upgrade of operational aircraft where only the fuselage will remain while all the onboard radio-electronic equipment and engines will be replaced,” Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov said, according to The National Interest.

Russia unveiled its new Tu-160M2 Blackjack long-range super bomber in November, which “is a new bomber in all but name,” Russian media said at the time, according to The Aviationist.

The new Blackjack is expected to go into mass production in 2021, and therefore its full capabilities are still unknown.

But here’s what we know so far:

Russia unveiled the new Tu-160M2 White Swan — codenamed Blackjack by NATO — in November 2017.

United Aircraft Corporation

Source: airforce-technology.com,The Drive

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

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

The Tu-160 is often compared to the US’ B-1B Lancer, which is seen below.

Here’s more on the B-1B Lancer.

The new Tu-160M2’s full capabilities are still unknown, but other than keeping the same frame, it will reportedly be a much different aircraft.

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.


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.

United Aircraft Corporation

“Even though on the outside it looks much like its predecessor, [the Tu-160M2] will be a whole new aircraft with a new fire control and navigation gear, advance system of electronic jamming, a new cockpit and more fuel-saving engines,” Vladimir Popov, a former Russian pilot, said, Sputnik reported.

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.

United Aircraft Corporation

Source: The Drive

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

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.

United Aircraft Corporation

Source: The Drive

Russia said in late March that it plans overhaul its entire Tu-160 fleet by 2030.

United Aircraft Corporation

Source: The Drive

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

And here’s a short video of the Blackjack making its maiden flight in January.

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