Russia’s upgraded long-range missile carrying bomber Tu-22M3M has reportedly performed its maiden flight from the Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise airfield in Kazan.

The modernised missile carrying bomber is an upgraded version of the Tu-22M3 and can achieve a speed of 10 Mach.

An unidentified source was quoted by TASS as saying: “The first upgraded Tu-22M3M made the debut flight from the airfield of the Kazan-based Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise on Friday. This flight started the missile-carrying bomber’s flight tests. There were no weapons aboard the aircraft and the flight was brief.”

Meanwhile, Xinhua quoted Russian aerospace and defence company Tupolev, which designed the aircraft, as saying: “The flight was carried out at an altitude of 1,500 metres and lasted 37 minutes.”

The bomber was also put through a series of ground-based tests.

“The revamp also involved the replacement of 80% of the aircraft avionics, which resulted in improved navigation accuracy and automation of aircraft control.”

As part of the tests, specialists tested the bomber’s new on-board radio-electronic equipment, conducted the ground-based engine runs and carried out an assessment of the compatibility of the aircraft’s artificial intelligence elements.

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By GlobalData

The modernisation of the Tu-22M3M bomber involved equipping it with new navigation, communication, aiming equipment, engines and fuel mechanisation control, as well as an electronic warfare facility.

Additional enhancements included an advanced on-board information and control system with the digital indication in the cabin and crew intelligent assistant functions.

The revamp also involved the replacement of 80% of the aircraft avionics, which resulted in improved navigation accuracy and automation of aircraft control.

The Tu-22M3 long-range strategic strike bomber was placed into service in 1989.

According to TASS, Russian company United Aircraft expects the first serial-produced bombers to become available for troops from 2021.