Ministry of Defense will launch the upgrade of Tu-95MS strategic bombers in 2013 (NATO reporting name: Bear). The upgraded aircraft will receive Tu-95MSM designation and will be able to breach the enemy air defenses successfully, Izvestiya reports.
The Supreme Command of the air forces explained that Тu-95МSМ will have a new weapon-aiming system, which enables using of advanced Kh-101 cruising missiles. The bomber will also be fitted with GLONASS navigation system. The upgraded bomber will be operated until 2020–2025 and then it will be replaced by PAK DA (Prospective Air Complex for Long Range Aviation).
«Тu-95МS is old but reliable aircraft, — an officer of the Supreme Command of the air forces said. — Of course Tu-160 is better by any definition. But the fleet of Tu-160s is rather limited – only 16 aircraft and no deliveries are expected. Tu-95 may be operated for 30-40 years and there are about 100 of them. A few score of them will be upgraded ant the rest vehicles will be taken out of service».
Only the bomber’s avionics will be replaced; the airframe and the engines will not be upgraded. «The vehicle has a long service life. Itisenoughforanother15–20 yearsofoperation. However, its avionics have not been upgraded since 1980s», — the Supreme Command of the air forces reports.