Putin was at Gorbunov air plant in Kazan to see a demonstration flight of the Tu-160M2 when he made the suggestion
Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested to United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) that a civilian supersonic airliner based on the Tu-160 bomber should be developed.
As reported by Sputniknews, remembering the fate of the Tu-144, the USSR’s answer to the British-French Concorde supersonic passenger airliner, Putin noted that the Soviet Tu-144 airliner “was taken out of production because airline tickets must take into consideration average salaries in the country.”
Today, “the situation is different,” Putin said. “Big companies have appeared which could have used this aircraft.”
Putin was at Gorbunov air plant in Kazan to see a demonstration flight of the Tu-160M2 when he made the suggestion.
Yuri Slyusar, the head of the UAC, told him that such a plane is already in the pipeline.
As we have reported last year Tupolev has been getting requests from rich individuals to buy a supersonic transport based on the Tu-160.
“Big business tycoons in different countries (an Arab sheikh, a millionaire in Australia and a wealthy Greek among them) keep asking us to make a personal supersonic plane on the basis of the missile-carrying Tupolev-160 or long-range bomber Tupolev-22M3. We get such messages regularly, some of them through the Rosoboronexport agency,” Tupolev Deputy CEO for Design and R&D, Valery Solozobov, told TASS.
However, such requests have been turned down as the bombers contain classified technology. Furthermore it’s not ideal for private jets to have variable swept wings as well, Solozobov added.
“Turning Tupolev-160 into a passenger plane would be a very costly affair. It is far less expensive to build a plane anew and without the know-hows used in creating the Tupolev-160. The retractable canards might be used, but they are not always necessary. Besides, most of the Tupolev-160 know-hows are secret, so building even a passenger configuration of this plane for private clients would be wrong,” Solozobov concluded.