Russia Upgrades Tu-160M2 Bombers

Tu-160M2 courtesy of Marina Lystseva/TASS
Tu-160M2 courtesy of Marina Lystseva/TASS

The United Engine Corporation announced that it has begun bench test on their new NK-32 02 engine. The new engine has been designed for the Tupolev-160M2 strategic bomber.

“The bench tests of the new NK-32 02 series engines meant for the strategic missile carrying bomber Tupolev-160M2 are in progress at the public joint stock company PAO Kuznetsov in Samara,” the UEC said.

Tu-160 launching Kh-101 against targets in Syria, November 2015
Tu-160 launching Kh-101 against targets in Syria, November 2015

The upgrade will enhance fuel efficiency and endurance.

“Its endurance has been improved. Equipped with this engine, the Tupolev-160M2 bomber will have far greater capabilities, including a longer range of flight,” the UEC said.

In 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to resume the production of the Tu-160M2 strategic bomber. More than 50 bombers have been planned according to Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov as well as six engines should be fully operational for the strategic bomber in the first quarter of 2018.

The Tu-160M2 has a service flight range of more than 12,000 km and a combat radius of 7,300 km. Its two internal bays can carry up to 40,000 kg (88,185 lb) of ordnance including two internal rotary launchers each holding 6× Raduga Kh-55SM/101/102/555 cruise missiles (primary armament) or 12× AS-16 Kickback short-range nuclear missiles.