The first Tupolev Tu-160M, M as modernized, flew on February 2, 2020. The four-jet engine took off from the Kazan aeronautical plant airport for a flight lasting 34 minutes.
The first modernized Tu-160 "Blackjack" took off for the first time on February 2 from Kazan Aeronautical Plant Airport for a 34-minute flight with the landing gear out. The crew of Tupolev's flight test base at Zhukovsky reported that the aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 1,500 meters (4,920 feet) and performed well. The Tu-160M bomber that carried out this first flight is in fact the former Tu-160 bomber "Igor Sikorsky" (n°14, red color), named after a famous Russian like all the rest of the fleet of Tu-160 in service.
The newly manufactured Tu-160 and the improved versions will not be different from each other, but they have received different names from the Ministry of Defense: Tu-160M for the enhanced aircraft and Tu-160M2 for the new bombers that are not rebuilt from aircraft and/or cells dating from the Soviet era.
The Tu-160M features, among other things, the latest electronic warfare suite, an advanced communications system with enhanced jamming resistance, and weapons that will increase its abilities.