Russia is getting ready to test its new Tupolev strike bombers

The TU22M3 which is going to be modified to be a TU22M3M (Picture: TV Zvezda/east2west news)

Russia is to begin test flights of its new supersonic bomber in August.

The Tu-22M3M strike bomber is a ‘deep modernisation’ of the Tupolev Tu-22M3, which has been used extensively in airstrikes in Syria.

The upgraded aircraft – fitted with deadly new generation missiles – 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.’

TU22M3 which is going to be modified to TU22M3M

The new plane will be a ‘deep modernisation’ of the existing Tu-22M3 (Picture: Sergey Ablogin/east2west news)

TU22M3 which is going to be modified to TU22M3M

The upgrading means the aircraft can be navigated more efficiently than its predecessor (Picture: PAO Tupolev/east2west news)

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 Russia’s existing 100-plus fleet of this type of bomber – known to NATO as Backfire-C – will be modernised by 2020, with the rest following later.

Viktor Bondarev, the head of the Russian upper house’s 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.’

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.

TU22M3 which is going to be modified to TU22M3M

The new bomber can carry advanced missiles (Picture: Vadim Savitsky TV Zvezda/east2west news)

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.’

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,’ said Bondarev, formerly the command in chief of Russian Aerospace Forces.

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