Russia is aiming for 2021 for the entry into service of its modernised Tu-160 M strategic bombers, equipped among other things with the new Kuznetsov NK-32-2 turbojet engine. Russia also wants to increase the number of four engine aircraft in service over the next seven years to come.
2021: the entry into service of the TU-160
In 2021, the modernised Tupolev Tu-160 quadjets are expected to enter into service with the Russian Air and Space Forces (VKS). This was officially announced on Wednesday 30 December by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexei Krivoruchko. As the latter pointed out the ambition is, over the next seven years, to increase the Tu-160 fleet by a proportion of one and a half times.
The new Kuznetsov NK-32 turbojet engines
On 23 December 2020, Aleksey Sobolev, Deputy General Manager of the engine manufacturer ODK-Kuznetsov, declared that the company would deliver another batch of second generation NK-32 engines for the strategic upgrade of the Tu-160M within a month. They will be delivered in January 2021. On 21 December 2020, the Russian Ministry of Defence declared that state trials of the upgraded Tu-160 would begin in 2021. By the beginning of November 2020, the first flight of the extensively upgraded Tu-160M bomber will take place with new NK-32-02 production engines. According to the crew, the flight took place in normal mode, with systems and equipment operating without complaining.