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Tupolev to design Russia's new strategic bomber

A File Photo of Russian Tu-160 Blackjack Strategic Bomber

ZHUKOVSKY (BNS): The Russian Defense Ministry and the Tupolev aircraft maker have signed a contract to develop a state-of-the-art strategic bomber for the Russian Air Force, on Wednesday at the MAKS aerospace show in Zhukovski southeast of Moscow.

"We signed a contract this year on research and development of a future strategic bomber for the Russian strategic aviation. It will be a conceptually new plane based on the most advanced technologies," Igor Shevchuk, Director General of Tupolev said at the MAKS-2009 air show near Moscow, as quoted by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Russia's current fleet of heavy bombers consists of Tupolev 22s, Tupolev 95s and Tupolev 160s.

However, Russian authorities said these updated aircraft will be obsolete by 2020, and a new strategic bomber will have to take their place.

Russia's Air Force commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin earlier said a fifth-generation strategic bomber could be used effectively in both conventional and nuclear conflicts.

"The new plane will use a wide selection of high-precision weapons, and will have a whole range of new combat capabilities, allowing it to apply new methods to carrying out deterrence tasks," Gen. Zelin further added, as per the news report.

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