Russian President Vladimir Putin
Watch: Putin Arrives In Belarus For Talks With Lukashenko Photo by: Reuters/SPUTNIK

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s military unveiled on Monday a new upgraded supersonic bomber that’s being touted as the biggest in the world, with the ability to shoot both conventional and nuclear missiles from the plane.

The Tupolev Tu-160M, which was upgraded and modified to carry the Dagger and Killjoy nuclear-capable missiles, took its maiden flight recently and was able to take off and land successfully from the footage that has been revealed, according to Euro Weekly News.

These modified bomber planes are part of the ‘White Swan’ fleet of supersonic planes, named after the white reflective covering that covers the whole frame of the airplane. The sleek white design was added as a way of reflecting back some of the thermal energy expounded if the plane had dropped a nuclear missile, Eurasian Times reported.

The upgraded Tu-160M is basically a modified Tupolev Tu-160, which had come into service in the 1980s and continued to be made until 1995. The newly-modified planes ended up being commissioned by Putin in 2015, which includes the modification of the existing Tu-160 models.

“Most of the changes concern the bomber’s on-board electronics systems. As part of the project to modernise the aircraft, technicians created a free inertial navigation system, electronic warfare complex, fuel systems, as well as weapons control systems,” aviation expert Yury Gavrilov said.

The first of the newly-built Tupolev Tu-160M was unveiled in January before the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, and it is expected that 50 Tu-160M aircraft will eventually be created, with the serial production of the plane to begin in 2023.

A statement from Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation also accompanied the video footage as they bragged about the capabilities of the airplane and the success of its debut flight, touting the aircraft’s title as the largest supersonic bomber in the world being Russian-made. “The ‘White Swan’ has been the workhorse of Russia’s strategic missile forces since Soviet times but is now touted to be new and improved,” they said in the statement.

Vladimir Putin (5L) visited Moscow's national defence control centre
Vladimir Putin (5L) visited Moscow's national defence control centre to oversee the test launch of the Avangard hypersonic missile on Thursday. Photo by: SPUTNIK/Mikhail Klimentyev

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