KAZAN, Russia --- The Kazan-based Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise in the Volga area has launched the manufacture of the upgraded Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko said on Thursday.
"Now the manufacture of the first such planes has begun," the defense official told journalists during his visit to the enterprise.
"No doubt, the serial production will start in the immediate future. We will wait until the debut flight, the fulfillment of experimental design work and after that a decision will be made on serial deliveries," the deputy defense minister said.
The Tu-160 is the biggest plane with a variable-sweep wing and one of the most powerful combat aircraft in the world. In 2015, a decision was announced to restart the production of the strategic bomber at the Kazan Aircraft Enterprise.
On November 16, 2017, the new plane was delivered from the final assembly workshop to the flight-testing station. Thanks to its upgrade, the [effectiveness] of the Tu-160 bomber is expected to increase by 60%.