By some sources, the resuming of the production of Tupolev Tu-160, supersonic strategic bomber with the variable-sweep wings, designed to engage targets around the globe with nuclear and conventional weapons, in a modernized version - Tu-160M2 and moving to the finalization of a new generation bomber PAK DA at a later date is very actual.
According to those fully informed, the Tu-160M2 is going to be almost a new plane. The only thing left unchanged is the airframe, and the combat effectiveness of the such a modified aircraft will be 2,5 times higher than that of its predecessor. The new bomber will feature completely new mission systems and other improvements over the existing M variant.
The aircraft will be powered by the upgraded version of the existing NK-32 three-shaft afterburning turbofan engines, NK-32 series 2 (NK-32.02). The upgraded engine has better endurance characteristics, which adds to the new bomber's range, increasing it by some 1.000 km (621 mi.) as compared with the existing version. The engine features improved performance to make the plane reach stratosphere at an altitude of 18,3 km / 11,3 mi. / 60.000 feet.
NK-32 three-shaft afterburning turbofan engine
The new avionics suite is expected to be ready by 2020, subsequently used on the PAK DA next generation strategic bomber. The systems equipping the missile-carrying bomber will include the Novella-NV1-70 phased-array radar, K-042K-1 duel-channel inertial navigation system and ABSU-200-1 autopilot designed specifically for it. The aircraft will boast a sophisticated fire control system to increase the effectiveness of the world’s longest-range cruise missiles – the Kh-101/Kh-102.
The Tu-160M2 does not feature stealth technology. Its mission is not to penetrate into enemy airspace and deliver its payload. Capable of speeds of over Mach 2,0, the bomber can rapidly take the position to launch long-range standoff cruise missiles. The capability to carry and launch long-range missiles matters much more than the specifications of the aircraft itself.
The Tu-160M2 will be built by Kazan Aviation Factory, in Kazan, Russia. The first Tu-160M2 is expected to take off by the end of 2018, followed by full-scale production in 2021. VVS RF is likely to purchase 50 Tu-160M2s throughout the life of the program, though it is unclear what the size of an initial order will be.
More in the following articles. Please, just click on the images …
The image above shows VVS RF´s Tu-160, powered by four NK-32 three-shaft afterburning turbofans (fan diameter: 57,3 in / 1.455,0 mm; BPR: 1,45; engine architecture: 3F-5IPC-7HPC^1HPT-1IPT-2LPT), OPR: 28,2, each rated at 137,29 kN / 14.000 kgf / 30.865 lbf dry and 245,17 kN / 25.000 kgf / 55.116 lbf with the afterburner, accompanied by the VVS RF´s Su-30SM, powered by two AL-31FP twin-shaft TVC afterburning turbofans (fan diameter: 35,9 in / 905,0 mm; BPR: 0,57; engine architecture: 4F-9HPC^1HPT-1LPT), OPR: 23,0, each rated at 74,53 kN / 7.600 kgf / 16.755 lbf dry and 122,58 kN / 12.500 kgf / 27.558 lbf with the afterburner, somewhere over Syria …
Until the end of 2016, the first batch of five upgraded NK-32 series 02 engines went to the Russian Ministry of Defense. After the testing, the new version of the engine will raise Tu-160 bombers to the sky in two versions - M (16 aircraft) and M2. On the basis of the NK-32.02 upgraded engine and the experience drawn from the long-suffering NK-93 three-shaft integral propfan (fan diameter: 114,17 in / 2.900,0 mm; BPR: 16,6; engine architecture: 2F]G[-7IPC-8HPC^1HPT-1IPT-3LPT), OPR: 37,0, rated at 176,52 kN / 18.000 kgf / 39.683 lbf dry, but also by using advanced technologies, materials and a digital design system, and the next generation NK-65 engine (18-30 tf thrust range) has been studied. Even before that, the prority is the NK-23D engine, as a replacement for the Ukrainian made VVS RF´s An-124-100 Ruslan´s powerplant, currently powered by four D-18T series 3 three-shaft turbofans (fan diameter: 91,73 in / 2.330 mm; BPR: 5,6; engine architecture: 1F-7IPC-7HPC^1HPT-1IPT-4LPT), OPR: 25,0, each rated at 229,77 kN / 23.430 kgf / 51.655 lbf dry. The past developments have shown that the engine generated on the basis of the NK-32 series 02 engine will have a maximum take-off thrust of 235,36 kN / 24.000 kgf / 52.910 lbf. On the basis of the NK-32.02 engine´s core, it is also planned to create an engine for the future PAK DA bomber.
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