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Putin says Russia needs new strategic bomber

MOSCOW (AP) – President Vladimir Putin says Russia needs a new strategic bomber and will develop it despite high costs.

Speaking Thursday at a meeting with the military top brass after visiting a base in southern Russia, Putin said the project would be expensive and technologically challenging. He added that the job needs to be done despite high costs, according to Russian news agencies.

Putin didn’t mention any specific figures or a give a time frame for the project.

Russia’s air force has several dozen Soviet-built Tu-95 four-engine turboprop bombers whose design dates back to the 1950s and just over a dozen more modern supersonic Tu-160 bombers.

Efforts to upgrade the fleet has been stymied by the 1991 Soviet collapse that left Russian economy in shambles.

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