The Russian Air Force expects to receive a new strategic bomber some time in 2025-2030. According to the commander of the Russian strategic aviation, Major General Anatoli Zhikharev, the new bomber will use the stealth technology and will replace all the aircraft that constitute the strategic aviation today - Tu-160, Tu-95MS, and Tu-22M3.
It has been reported that in August 2009 the Tupolev Design Bureau began development of the new aircraft under a contract with the Ministry of Defense. It is expected that the new plane will be ready to begin flight tests in 2015.
Meanwhile, the Air Force continues modernization of the existing aircraft. Two Tu-160 bombers are scheduled to return from overhaul and two to begin overhaul by the end of 2009. The modernization program will end by 2015.