The first flight of Moscow’s new Tupolev PAK-DA stealth bomber has been delayed by about three years. However, according to Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov,” The work on the development of the PAK DA strategic bomber (prospective aviation complex for long-range aviation) continues and it will not be stopped.”. Viktor Bondarev said on January 2016 that the advanced strategic long-range aircraft’s prototype may take its maiden flight before 2021. The first PAK DA next generation long-range bomber could be supplied to the Russian Air Force in 2023.
The PAK-DA is the first Russian bomber optimized for stealth. It is expected that the new bomber will be able to penetrate through modern air defenses and suppress them. Flying wings lend themselves well to low observable characteristics—particularly against low frequency radars operating in the UHF and VHF bands—but manufacturing could still be an issue, according to The National Interest.
PAK DA is expected to be a large aircraft close in size to a Boeing 757 with an approximate weight of 125 tons (with a combat load of 30 tons) with a range of 12,500 kms. PAK-DA will serve as a launch platform for long-range nuclear and conventional cruise missiles and a host of precision-guided munitions. The aircraft will also carry hypersonic missiles, including nuclear-capable ones, according to unofficial data.
“This is a fundamentally new plane with a new sighting and navigation system. This plane will be equipped with the latest communication systems and electronic warfare, and will have little visibility to radar,” Long-Range Aviation Commander Lt.-Gen. Anatoly Zhuravlev said. It will be equipped with the newest complex of the radio electronic combat and high-precision weaponry.
While earlier interest was in development of subsonic bomber analogous to the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit and the U.S. Air Force’s forthcoming Long Range Strike-Bomber as Vladimir Bondarev, stated in his speeches in 2013 that the PAK DA will be a subsonic bomber and will replace the entire fleet of strategic bombers. But some new reports suggest that the plane shall be hypersonic able to fly anywhere in the world within two hours and launch a nuclear attack from space.
Russia, China and the US are currently engaged in a new arms race aimed at developing hypersonic aircraft and missiles, which are able to reach five times the speed of sound. The aircraft has been designed to take off from regular airfields and travel to space carrying a payload of long-range ballistics, including hypersonic missiles with nuclear capabilities. From there, it will be able to launch attacks on targets before returning to base.
The PAK-DA will be equipped with a special hybrid Turbofan engine, making it capable of low-level space flight. When flying inside the earth’s atmosphere, the bomber will burn traditional kerosene fuel. Once in space, the engine switches to methane and oxygen, allowing the PAK-DA to fly without air. General Sergei Karakayev, commander of Russian Strategic Missile Forces, said that a model for the engine had already been built and tested at Russia’s Military Academy in Serpukhovo.
During the course of the Oboronexpo 2014 in Zhukovsky, a JSC Kuznetsov representative explained that “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. This new engine will be based on the second stage HK-32 unified gas generator
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