22:00 19.12.2015 (updated 23:01 19.12.2015)
The Russian Long-Range Air Force deputy commander said that Russia’s prospective complex of distant aviation, a proposed next-generation strategic bomber design, will carry out its first flight in 2020-2021 and four years later will be delivered to the army.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s prospective complex of distant aviation (PAK DA), a proposed next-generation strategic bomber design, will carry out its first flight in 2020-2021 and four years later will be delivered to the army, the Russian Long-Range Air Force deputy commander said Saturday.
“As for rearmament, the aircraft fleet that we have at present will be changed for the PAK DA. According to the plan, the first flights will take place in 2020-2021, later the test flights are scheduled, and the deliveries to the army will begin in 2024-2025,” Maj. Gen. Anatoly Konovalov told reporters.
The project is currently being developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau.
The work on creating the PAK DA was launched in 2009. The military intended to receive a single type of long-range bomber to replace the current Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3.
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Russian Stealth strategic bomber called the PAK-DA
Russia is developing a new strategic bomber called the PAK-DA as part of its post-Soviet military modernization plan, but with the price of oil falling rapidly, there are questions as to whether that nation will be able to afford the new plane.
There is little concrete information about the new Russian bomber—but a stealthy long-range penetrating strike aircraft is not cheap. The Pentagon’s secretive new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program is aiming to develop an aircraft that will cost roughly $550 million per jet. Developmental costs for the American aircraft—which will supposedly rely on “mature” technologies–are likely to be in $50 billion range. While the Russia PAK-DA is not likely to be nearly as expensive, it is going to cost tens of billions of dollars at a time when Russia’s resource-based economy is collapsing into what could be a prolonged recession.
Nonetheless, Russia’s Tupolev design bureau appears to be moving full steam ahead with the development of the new aircraft. Mikhail Pogosyan, head of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)—a state enterprise that includes Tupolev—told RIA Novosti, a state-run Russian new agency (now known internationally as Sputnik International), earlier in the year that development of the PAK-DA had started in earnest in 2014. Pogosyan said that preliminary design work for the new aircraft was completed in April 2014 and some components are already being fabricated.
The PAK-DA is expected to make its first flight in 2019. Russia is expected to complete operational testing of the new jet in 2023—which puts the timeline for the new bomber slightly ahead of the U.S. Air Force’s LRS-B, which is expected to become operational in the mid-2020s. “The maiden flight should be performed in 2019. State tests and supplies will be completed in 2023,” Russian Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev told RIA Novosti in May.
The PAK-DA is expected to become fully operational in 2025 according to earlier statements attributed to Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, commander of the Russian Air Force’s long-range aviation fleet by the news agency.
In order to get the PAK-DA operational as quickly as possible, Russia is using modernized versions of the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic strategic bombers’ Kuznetsov NK-32 engines to power the new aircraft.
“The NK-32 engine, which is at the core of the Tu-160, will be subjected to a number of technical changes and improvements, and will be installed in the PAK-DA,” a JSC Kuznetsov official told Russia & India Reportin November. “This new engine will be based on the second stage HK-32 unified gas generator.”
Samara NK-321 turbofans Dry thrust: 137.3 kN (30,865 lbf) each Thrust with afterburner: 245 kN (55,115 lbf) each
What is known about the new bomber is that the PAK-DA will likely be a stealthy subsonic flying wing design optimized to fly over long distances while remaining undetected. Flying wings lend themselves well to low observable characteristics—particularly against low frequency radars operating in the UHF and VHF bands.
he PAK-DA is also not a small aircraft—with a maximum gross take-off weight of about 250,000 lbs—about the size of a Boeing 757 airliner. According to Russia & India Report, Russian Air Force’s requirements state that the bomber will have a range of 6,740 nautical miles. It will also be able to carry 60,000lbs of weapons.
Further, the PAK-DA will be armed with both stand-off nuclear and conventional cruise missiles, according to RIA Novosti. Russia is investing in hypersonic cruise missiles to arm the PAK-DA, which suggests that the Russian Air Force does not necessarily intend for the aircraft to penetrate deep into hostile airspace. The bomber needs to merely get close enough to launch its missiles. Relying on long-range missiles would be keeping with long established Soviet and Russian practice. “PAK-DA will be equipped with all advanced types of precision guided weapons, including hypersonic,” a Russian government source told RIA Novosti last year.
BrahMos-II or BrahMos-2 or BrahMos Mark II (note: not to be confused with BrahMos block-2) is a hypersonic cruise missile. Currently BrahMos Mark II under joint development by India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia, which have together formed BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited. The BrahMos-II is expected to have a range of 290 kilometers (180 mi) and a speed of Mach 7. During the cruise stage of flight the missile will be propelled by a scramjet air breathing jet engine.
Other possible designs for PAK-DA