New reports suggest that the Russian military plans to continue the modernization of its long-range bomber fleet and will consider restarting production of its Tupolev Tu-160 supersonic bomber, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed Wednesday. The fast bomber can carry either conventional or nuclear weapons.
Work will continue despite escalating tension between Russia and Western powers over the Kremlin’s aggressive military activity in the last several months.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has approved new manufacturing equipment for Russia’s Kazan Aviation Plant in Tatarstan to aid the modernization efforts, Russian news outlet Tass reports.
The defense ministry plans to build two Tu-160 bombers by the end of 2015 and upgrade five existing Tu-160s. Russia currently possesses 15 of the long-range bombers.
The expensive military expenditures come amid tough economic times in the communist country. Low oil prices combined with stiff sanctions for invading Ukraine have the country experiencing food shortages and negative economic growth. The focus on military spending shows the ruling class’ lack of compassion for everyday Russians and has upset foreign aid groups that operate in the country.