President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Rogozin, you wanted to report on the Tu-160?
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin: That’s right.
Mr President, you adopted a decision to reinforce the Russian nuclear triad, including its air component, and to resume the production of the Tu-160 strategic missile carrier on a new technical and technological basis.
I can report that now, as the Kazan Aviation Factory n.a. S.P. Gorbunov is celebrating its 90th anniversary, the Tu-160M2 aircraft, created on the basis of an earlier design, has been unveiled. What this means is that the factory has accomplished the very complicated challenge of recovering lost production techniques, including electron-beam welding, and handling titanium. The aircraft is equipped with innovative radio-electronic on-board avionics. The Kuznetsov plant in Samara recreated, also on an innovative basis, the production of the NK-32 series 2 engine. We have already made the first aircraft available for flight tests. It will mark the beginning of the process to resume the production of strategic bombers.
According to our plans, the aircraft will be created, as we say, ”from ore” in 2019 and tested. In 2023, we will begin serial deliveries, while the maiden flight of the Tu-160M2, which was unveiled today, will take place in February 2018.
Vladimir Putin: Well, that is excellent. I congratulate the aircraft builders on this event, and I think that the Defence Ministry will be pleased. They insisted on resuming the production of this version of the Tu-160 on a new base. As a matter of fact, it is a tried and tested carrier and supersonic aircraft. Excellent. Congratulations.
Dmitry Rogozin: Thank you.