Russia rolls out first newly built Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber

Russia has restarted the production of the Soviet era Tupolev Tu-160 long range strategic bomber after 25 years.

The first newly built aircraft was rolled out from the Kazan Aircraft Factory, where production ceased in 1992 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The aircraft designated Tu-160M2 features improved performance characteristics due to the new engines, avionics, glass cockpit, control and communication systems and weapons.

The swing-wing supersonic heavy bomber was first flown in 1981 and is the largest supersonic bomber and heaviest of all strategic bombers in the world.

Flight testing is planned to commence in early 2018, with delivery to Russian Air Force scheduled for 2019.

The first aircraft is intended to establish the plant's capability to produce the aircraft, including for solving the problems of reproduction of the Tu-160 in a new guise: restoration of final assembly technology, testing of certain new technological solutions.

The design and development was completely carried out using computers, unlike it predecessor.

The Tu-160 had a max take off weight of 275 tonnes and can carry a 40 tonne weapon payload of missiles and bombs in its two tandem under fuselage internal weapon bays.