Russia's New Version Tu-160M Strategic Bomber Waits for Maiden Flight
The source states that the aircraft stands in the hangar. It will start taxiing test this month. The maiden flight is not planned yet.
The new aircraft will be the first Tu-160 produced since the production was officially ended in 1994.
There were some attempts to rebuild it. Some of them were left uncompleted or delivered to Ukrainian Air Force.
Viktor Bondarev, commander of the Russian Aerospace Forces, revealed in May 2015 that the Russian Defense Ministry had chosen to restart manufacturing of the aircraft, claiming that up to 50 additional Tu-160s will be produced.
A Tu-160M2 was used in a trial run of the resumed production in 2017. The plane was built on the back of an incomplete airframe in 1994. It received extensive upgrades, including improved avionics and a new engine. The aircraft flew for the first time in 2018 and was given to the military at the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Tupolev's S. P. Gorbunov plant was constructing at least two new aircraft from the ground up. They were expected to be manufactured in the somewhat older Tu-160M type, with at least one flying by the end of 2020.