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What is Known About the Aircraft Factory in Kazan for Producing Tu-22M3 and Tu-160, Where Ukrainian UAVs Struck

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The demonstration of four Tu-160Ms in the hangar of the Kazan Aircraft Plant, February 2024 / Open source photo
The demonstration of four Tu-160Ms in the hangar of the Kazan Aircraft Plant, February 2024 / Open source photo

What significance does this object have for the Kremlin, and what is there concerning bombers?

On April 17th, Ukrainian long-range drones struck the Kazan Aircraft Production Association (KAPO), which is a manufacturer of strategic bombers such as the Tu-22M3 and Tu-160.

There is no information about the results of this attack, but regardless, the fact of Ukrainian UAV strikes on KAPO is significant.

Read more: ​Another S-400 SAM System Likely to Destroy In Result of Ukraine’s Missile Strike on russia’s Dzhankoi Air Base

The aircraft factory in Kazan is located over 1000 kilometers from the border of Ukraine. Furthermore, KAPO is so crucial in the russian military defense industry that this facility was even used as a "decoration" for one of the propaganda events involving putin.

Partially built Tu-160s on the slipways of the Kazan Aircraft Plant, Defense Express
Partially built Tu-160s on the slipways of the Kazan Aircraft Plant / Open-source archive photo

Over the past 2 years, only two Tu-160 strategic bombers have been modernized at KAPO, and another two aircraft of this type have been manufactured from Soviet-era blanks under the "reproduction" program.

Interestingly, these two new Tu-160s from old blanks were rolled out of the factory workshops as far back as 2022, but the customer, represented by the russian Ministry of Defense, has not yet accepted them. In March 2023, KAPO unveiled another modernized Tu-22M3M, rolled out from the factory workshops.

Modernized Tu-22M3M for the Russian Aerospace Forces at the territory of the Kazan Aircraft Plant, March 2023, Defense Express
Modernized Tu-22M3M for the Russian Aerospace Forces at the territory of the Kazan Aircraft Plant, March 2023 / Open source photo

However, this was only the second bomber of this type in the last 5 years, and there is no other information available about work on Tu-22M3 aircraft at the facilities of the aviation plant in Kazan.

Interestingly, the russians announced rather ambitious plans for expanding production at the facilities of KAPO.

For example, in December 2023, it became known about the plan to equip almost all Tu-22M3 aircraft with an in-flight refueling probe, which allows for flights lasting several hours. At the same time, in December 2023, it became known that russia planned to produce 70 Tu-214 aircraft at the Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 manufacturing plant, but the plan is not being implemented.

The reason for such a "setback" in plan execution is quite prosaic - the unsatisfactory condition of the production facilities of this aircraft plant.

Construction of a workshop for KAPO, which was allegedly intended for the PAK DA program, Defense Express
Construction of a workshop for KAPO, which was allegedly intended for the PAK DA program / Open source photo

Despite all these nuances, the aircraft plant in Kazan has strategic importance for the russian defense industry. The KAPO staff consists of 8,500 employees, making this enterprise one of the largest in russia, comparable perhaps only to Uralvagonzavod, which has 12,000 employees.

Read more: ​On Wednesday Morning, Explosions Rang Out at the russian Dzhankoi Air Base in Temporarily Occupied Crimea