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WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Russia is betting big on its aging but more potent than ever strategic bomber force well into the 21st century. A senior air commander has revealed that all three of the main long-range bombers in the Kremlin's arsenal would be extensively modernized and upgraded this year.
The ambitious program will fit new targeting and navigation systems on Russia's fleets of Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjacks, Tupolev Tu-95MS Bears and Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfires. The long-range bombers will undergo major modernization in 2009, two-star Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov, head of the 37th Air Army, told the RIA Novosti news agency Dec. 23.