AFP

Kuznetsov to restart production of NK-32 16 August, 2016

Russian jet engine manufacturer Kuznetsov will restart production of its NK-32 turbofan engine that is solely used on the Tu-160 bomber. An initial batch of upgraded NK-32.02 engines will roll out of the factory by end of this year, according to Russian media reports.

The Tu-160 is powered by four Kuznetsov NK-32 afterburning turbofan engines, the most powerful ever fitted to a combat aircraft.  Tu-160 is capable of reaching Mach 2.05 speed at high altitude.

The Tupolev Tu-160 Beliy Lebed (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) is a supersonic, variable-geometry wing heavy strategic bomber designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau in the Soviet Union.

Entering service in 1987, the Tu-160 was the last strategic bomber designed for the Soviet Union. As of 2016, the Russian Air Force, Long Range Aviation branch has 16 aircraft remaining, with fewer being airworthy and in service. The Tu-160 active fleet has been undergoing upgrades to electronics systems since the early 2000s. The Tu-160M modernisation programme has begun with the first updated aircraft delivered in December 2014.  In April 2015, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that Russia was resuming production of the Tu-160. In May 2015, the Russian News Agency TASS reported that the Russian Air Force will purchase at least 50 new-build Tu-160s and that production of the aircraft will restart at the Kazan aviation plant.

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