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"Tereshkova": Russia acquires new long-range nuclear bomber while its constructor fled to the United States

One of Russia's most iconic bombers, the Tupolev Tu-160 White Swan is set to receive a major redesign.

The first Tupolev Tu-160M ​​strategic missile bomber built from scratch finished factory tests at the end of 2022.


The strategic bomber performed maneuvers throughout its test flight to assess the aircraft's stability and controllability in the air, the functionality of its airborne systems and engines, and on-board radio-electronic equipment.

The Tu-160M ​​is an upgraded variant of the Tu-160 bomber, with the latter forming the backbone of the Russian Air Force's long-range bombers alongside the Tu-95MS.

The VKS has deployed these bombers in the ongoing war to destroy targets deep inside Ukrainian territory. It is the world's heaviest supersonic variable-sweep wing military aircraft.


After Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to modernize the bomber fleet, Russia started the program to continue building the modified Tu-160 strategic bombers in the Tu-160M ​​variant. The new variant is designed to strike enemy targets, with nuclear and conventional weapons in remote areas.

According to a reputable media outlet, to implement the program, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Tupolev Aircraft Company restored titanium vacuum welding technology, resumed production of the bomber's fuselage assemblies, and established a new chain of cooperation of advanced metallurgy enterprises, aircraft , machines and instruments, with the majority of them integrated.

In addition to updating the 16 existing Tu-160 bombers, Russia expects to purchase approximately 50 Tu-160M ​​aircraft, with a minimum production rate of three aircraft per year. The upgraded bomber is expected to enter serial production this year. This will be in line with the ten aircraft orders for 2023-2027.

The update of the Tu-160M ​​is carried out in two stages. The first involves removing obsolete components such as bomb detection systems and installing the new K-042K-1 navigation system and ABSU-200-1 autopilot. The air force has been using this Tu-160M1 model since late 2014.

The second phase Tu-160M2 includes the improved NK-32 engines (designated NK-32-02), the new Novella NV1.70 radar, an electronic "glass" cockpit, modern communication and anti-jamming equipment, as well as modern conventional and nuclear weapons.

The manufacturer of the Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber fled to the United States

What is surprising and questionable is that a Russian military engineer who participated in the development and production of Russian strategic bombers Tu-160, fled to the United States and requested political asylum.


According to a foreign media outlet, the latter worked at the Kazan Aviation Plant from 2018 to 2021 and could well have access to data on the modernized Russian Tu-160M2 supersonic missile bomber. In exchange for political asylum, the Russian military engineer offered to reveal some classified information.

“According to an unclassified report from Customs and Border Protection, a Russian engineer went to the US southwest border in late December, seeking asylum and offering to reveal some of Russia's best-kept military secrets.The man and his family arrived in an armored SUV and requested permission to enter the United States, fearing prosecution for participating in anti-government protests. He then told Foreign Intelligence Service officials that he had information the US government was looking for. He described the type of aircraft as a "bomber" and said it was "named Tu-160 White Swan, the largest military aircraft in the world," it reports.

According to the media outlet, due to the lack of official comments from the Russian side, it is not yet known exactly what information the escaped engineer could have access to, however, this could pose a serious threat to Russian national interests.

He also notes that due to the privacy policy, the name of the Russian is not given, however, the latter could well have access to important data, which, by the way, is also confirmed by an American official who is said to be familiar with this situation.





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