Russia is moving ahead with the design phase of a new subsonic strategic stealth bomber to succeed the aging lines of Tu-95 "Bear" and T-160 "Blackjack" conventional Cold War-era long-range bombers - which are seeing modernization as an interim measure. The new bomber will be headed by the storied Tupolev concern (of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)) which designed, developed and produced the aforementioned bombers, showcasing a proven pedigree for long-range, heavy-class aircraft. As of this writing (2014), it is intended that the new bomber - designated under the project name of "PAK DA" ("Perspective Aviation Complex - Long-Range Aviation") - will be a true flying wing, lacking any vertical tail surfaces, and operate as a subsonic aircraft utilizing modern stealth methods to reduce radar signatures (perhaps with some resemblance to the American Northrop Grumman B-2 "Spirit" stealth bomber). Program support is provided through state-owned UAC.
In March of 2013, the Russian Air Force approved of a Tupolev design submission and quantitative serial production was tentatively scheduled for 2020. It is presumed that data/technology garnered in the (ongoing) development of the Sukhoi T-50 "PAK-FA" 5th Generation Fighter will also be instituted in the PAK DA design.
In September of 2014, it was reported that construction of the PAK DA prototype had been approved during 2013 for a start in 2014. First flight is now scheduled for sometime in 2019 with state acceptance trials for 2023 with service entry with the Russian Air Force following. The aircraft will be constructed at the UAC Kazan facility. The engine of choice is believed to be a Kuznetsov design based on the NK-32 turbofan of which the PAK DA will make use of up to four such installations. This engine already powers the Tu-160.
Origins of the PAK DA lay in a 2008 Russian Air Force requirement which evolved into the now-known subsonic flying wing product. The four-engined configuration will help the aircraft achieve the desired ranges and performance specifications. Avionics may include some of what has been developed for the T-50 fighter. Munitions support is expected to include cruise missiles, nuclear ordnance and precision-guided bombs as well as conventional dump bomb support.
At this stage of development, there remains little official information on the PAK DA though the program has the approval of both Russian leaders Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. Details of this aircraft will change as the program gains steam. For the interim, the Russian Air Force will continue use of the Tu-160 and Tu-95 platforms - though in modernized forms that will have them serve into the 2020s.
May 2020 - Russian state media has reported that manufacture of the PAK DA prototype has begun.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
118.1 ft (36.00 m)
103.7 ft (31.60 m)
23.0 ft (7.00 m)
154,324 lb (70,000 kg)
330,693 lb (150,000 kg)
+176,370 lb (+80,000 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Tupolev PAK DA production variant)
4 x Kuznetsov afterburning turbofan engines of unknown thrust output.
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