Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Russia’s newest strategic bombers as a boost to Russia’s nuclear forces on Thursday, Reuters reported.
During a visit to an aircraft-making facility in Kazan, Putin said the new version of the Tu-160 strategic bombers, code named Blackjacks, would enhance Russia’s nuclear capability.
Putin witnessed the signing of a $2.9 billion contract for 10 of the aircraft to the Russian Air Force between now and 2027.
“This is a serious step toward developing our hi-tech sphere and strengthening the country’s ability to defend itself,” Putin said.
The new aircraft is an updated version of the nuclear bomber that would have been used in the late 20th century. During the campaign in Syria, the existing version of the aircraft was used to bomb opposing forces.
The aircraft can carry 12 cruise missiles or 12 short-range nuclear missiles and fly for roughly 7,500 miles before refueling, Reuters reported.
According to the plane’s manufacturer, Tupolev, the aircraft is 60 percent more effective than the previous version and has upgraded engines, avionics, navigation and weaponry.