In a ceremony at the Gorbunov Aviation Plant in Kazan, Russian strategic aviation received a new Tu-160 bomber, which then flew to its permanent base in Engels. The aircraft, named after Vitaly Kopylov, joined the 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Regiment of the 37th Air Army.

Construction of this aircraft was completed in the end of 2007 and it was reported to begin flight tests in December 2007. It became the 16th bomber in the 37th Air Army, although Russia reports only 15 bombers in START data (it appears that Vitaly Kopylov was already listed in the January 2008 START data exchange).