In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017 shows a Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bomber strikes the Islamic State targets in Syria. (Photo by Russian Defense Ministry)
The Tu-22M3M long-range bomber, the newly upgraded version of the Tu-22M3 aircraft, is going to perform its maiden flight in August, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported Wednesday.
"We intend to boost Tu-22M3M into the air in August," the agency quoted a spokesman for the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Factory (KAF) as saying. The KAF is a leading aircraft designer and manufacturer in Russia.
The distinctive feature of the new fighter jet is an "expanded number of airborne means of destruction, modern equipment on a new element base and improved ergonomic parameters of the crew cabin," according to information provided by the Russian Defense Ministry on its website.
The ministry said some 30 long-range bombers are expected to be upgraded to the M3M version.
The Tu-22M3 is a multi-purpose, supersonic and missile-carrying bomber designed to destroy ground and sea targets. With a non-stop flying distance of up to 2,200 km, it can travel in the entire range of aircraft speeds at high, medium and low altitudes, according to the KAF.
The factory has produced some 500 Tu22M aircraft of various modifications since 1989.