The first upgraded Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range bomber will perform its maiden flight in 2017, BUSINESS Online reports.
«This year we will start developing documentation and manufacturing the first prototypes. Speaking of our plans, the jet should perform its maiden flight in 2017 and after that its state testing will be started», — Deputy Technical Director of Tupolev’s Kazan-based engineering center, Andrey Levenets, said.
He explained that two prototypes are being prepared for the testing in order to speed up the process; the total number of jets to be upgraded will be determined later, Interfax-AVN reports.
«Some vehicles are being upgraded in the network of the first stage of the modernization program, thus, by the time documentation development for the next stage is complete, we will be delivering the upgraded aircraft fitted with the latest equipment manufactured at the present time», — he said.
He added that implementation of the program’s final stage will help improve the bomber’s combat efficiency, in particular, reduce the crew’s workload, assure more convenient display of flight information, increase the aircraft systems’ level of automation and reliability.
Tu-22M3 is the long-range bomber designed to destroy optically visible and radar contrast targets, isolated, area-type, ground, sea, moving and fixed targets. The jet is capable of using supersonic guided missiles and non-nuclear/nuclear aerial bombs. It is being operated by the units of Russian long-range aviation and Russian navy. Its maximum takeoff weight is 124 tons; maximum payload – 24 tons. The jet’s maximum speed is 2000 km/h. The vehicle’s crew comprises 4 persons. The weapons are carried inside the jet’s airframe and on two wing stations. The jet is able to carry 10 guided air-to-surface, anti-ship (air-to-ship) and air-to-radar cruise missiles, bombs and aerial mines. The jet was developed by Tupolev design bureau. It is powered by two NK-25 turbofan engines having a takeoff thrust of 25000 kg.