MOSCOW, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Russia will overhaul eight of its Tu-160 and Tu-95 MS strategic bombers by the end of this year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday.
"These aircraft are the most important component of Russia's nuclear triad. Therefore, it is extremely important to repair and modernize them in time," Shoigu said at a video conference with senior military officials.
"The terms of operation of these strategic missile carriers will be extended and their combat capabilities will be increased," he said.
Russia will also start full-scale production of the upgraded Tu-160M2 supersonic strategic bombers, according to earlier Russian Defense Ministry statements.
The ministry expects the Tu-160M2 to make its debut flight later this year and it plans to produce two to three aircraft each year starting 2020-2021.