Russia is close to commencing ground and flight trials with its first modernised Tupolev Tu-22M3M bomber. Extensive modifications made to the variable-geometry type include the installation of new navigation and communication equipment, targeting systems, engine controls.
United Aircraft (UAC) says that 80% of the Tu-22M3M's avionics equipment has been replaced, with the updates also enhancing commonality with Russia's remanufactured and re-engined Tu-160M bomber; the first of which was flown from Kazan for the first-time last January.
Following preliminary flight checks, the lead Tu-22M3M will be transferred to the Russian air force for joint testing, UAC says.
Russia is considered to have 67 Tu-22Ms in active service, with the oldest example being 34 years old.