| UPDATED: 13:39, Sat, Dec 29, 2018
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On Friday the Tupolev Tu-22M3M supersonic bomber flew for the first time. The aircraft can reportedly hit targets as far as 2,200km away (1,367 miles). Russia is modernising its armed forces as part of a programme overseen by President Vladimir Putin.
Quoting a defence source the Russian state-run Tass News Agency reported: “The first upgraded Tu-22M3M made the debut flight from the airfield of the Kazan-based Gorbunov Aircraft Enterprise on Friday.
“The flight started the missile-carrying bomber’s flight tests.
“There were no weapons about the aircraft, and the flight was brief.”
The aircraft was reportedly in the air for 37 minutes reaching 4,920 feet in height.
The aircraft was reportedly in the air for 37 minutes reaching 4,920 feet in height (Image: GETTY )
The Tu-22M3M takes off for its first test flight (Image: SPUTNIK )
The Tu-22M3M, the latest in a long line of TU-22 bombers, was first unveiled in August.
In 1962, the original TU-22 was launched as the Soviet Union’s first long ranged bomber.
Another modified version of the aircraft, the Tu-22M3, has been active in Syria.
Aircraft manufacturer Tupolev commented: “The first prototype Tu-22M3M aircraft was created as part of a large-scale modernisation programme.
The Tupolev Tu-22M3M was first unveiled in August (Image: GETTY )
“The next stage of the programme is the modernisation of the first batch of Tu-22M3 combat aircraft.”
Russia has been undertaking a major modernisation of its military over the past few years, overseen personally by President Vladimir Putin.
The US claims Russia violated the Intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty (INF) by developing a surface-to-air missile which exceed its maximum allowed range.
In response, America is threatening to withdraw from the INF, in a move which could trigger a new global arms race.