Russia is to begin test flights of its new supersonic bomber in August.
The Tu-22M3M strike bomber is a ‘deep modernisationâ of the Tupolev Tu-22M3, which has been used extensively in airstrikes in Syria.
The upgraded aircraft â fitted with deadly new generation missiles â can be navigated up to eight times more accurately and will target missiles up to ten times more precisely than its predecessor.
It can also reach an altitude of 14 miles.
An official said: ‘We intend to take the Tu-22M3M to the air in August.â
The upgrading comes as relations between Russia and the West are at an all-time low since the Cold War.
General director of plane-maker Tupolev said that around 30 of Russiaâs existing 100-plus fleet of this type of bomber â known to NATO as Backfire-C â will be modernised by 2020, with the rest following later.
Viktor Bondarev, the head of the Russian upper houseâs Defence and Security Committee, said: ‘All radio-electronic equipment is being modernised.
‘The most important thing is that the planes are being adapted for carrying modern Kh-32 heavy supersonic missiles.â
The Kh-32 is an air-to-surface missile, which has an operational range of up to 620 miles, can reach a speed of up to 3,100 mph and can fly at an altitude of 25 miles.
The new long range bomber will be able to carry six more advanced Kh-50 missiles.
Bondarov said: ‘This bomber, alongside Tu-160 and Tu-95, ensures the superiority of Russian strategic long-range aviation.â
The Tu-22M3, which came into service in the Cold War in 1972, were actively used in Russian airstrikes against ISIL in Syria.
‘The Tu-22M3 long-range bombers proved highly efficient in Syria,â said Bondarev, formerly the command in chief of Russian Aerospace Forces.