The general director of Russian aircraft manufacturer Tupolev has revealed further details about Russian bomber modernization.
Alexander Konyukhov, the General Director of Tupolev, noted on May 17, 2017 that the first Tu-22M3M upgraded bomber would be revealed some time in 2018, according to Interfax. He also stated that the first Tu-160M2 prototype will be built by 2019.
The Tu-22M3M is a further development of the Tu-22M3, with a wider number of weapons and better avionics. Current plans call for 30 Tu-22M3s to be upgraded to the Tu-22M3M standard by 2020.
Last month, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov confirmed that Tu-22M3 upgrades would be ongoing. He also said the Tu-160s currently in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces will see modernization work.
Russia is also planning on manufacturing new Tu-160 bombers in the coming years, in the Tu-160M2 modernized version.
Construction of the first Tu-160M2 is slated for this year. Russia restarted the bomber program several years ago, with an intention of producing between two and three planes per year once development finishes (in 2021).