The Russian Air Force is reportedly set to take delivery of additional ten upgraded Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers by 2016.
United Aircraft Corporation flight test chief Alexander Kosarev was quoted by the TASS News Agency as saying: "Last year the Russian Air Force received eight upgraded Tu-95MS bombers, and at least ten more will re-enter duty in 2015-2016."
The upgrades are planned to be carried out by Tupolev affiliate, the Zhukovsky air base which will replace the bombers’ radio-electronic equipment and also improve the parameters of the navigation complex and landing systems.
Zhukovsky base production deputy-chief Vladimir Khokhlov said: "In the process of modernisation, some fundamentally new technological processes had to be mastered and new equipment and tools employed.
"Everything was accomplished within tight deadlines and with high quality."
In 2014, Russian Air Force commander Viktor Bondarev confirmed to the news agency that the service took delivery of eight Tu-95MS bombers following a comprehensive overhaul and upgrade programme.
With the scheduled delivery of ten modernised bombers, Russia’s fleet of Tu-95MS is expected to grow to 43 this year.
The Tu-95MS is built by Tupolev, the Tu-95MS. It is a four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform based on the Tu-142 airframe, and serves as the launch platform of the Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile.
The aircraft lacks the 178cm forward fuselage plug of its predecessor, but retains the shorter fin and horizontal, undrooped refuelling probe of previous bomber variants.
Several dozen Tu-95MS bombers, which carry a single twin-barrelled GSh-23L cannon in place of the pair of single-barrel NR-23s carried on earlier models, are currently in use with the Russian Air Force.
According to the news agency, approximately 70% of the Russian Armed Forces’ strategic aviation is expected to be upgraded by 2020.