MOSCOW, February 7 (RIA Novosti)
The Russian Air Force will receive more than 10 modernized Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers by 2020, the Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
According to official data, Russia has at least 16 Tu-160 aircraft in service. There are plans to increase their number to 30.
“The Tu-160 in service with the Air Force are already undergoing modernization,” Air Force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said. “We are planning to receive more than 10 aircraft of this type.”
The Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-geometry heavy bomber, designed to strike strategic targets with nuclear and conventional weapons deep in continental theaters of operation.
The modernized version, Tu-160M, features new weaponry, improved electronics and avionics, which double its combat effectivness.
The upgraded aircraft will remain in service until a fifth-generation strategic bomber is developed, the Air Force officials earlier said.
Russia will also modernize about 30 Tu-22M3 Backfire-C strategic bombers to a Tu-22M3M variant by 2020.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.