With a View to the Future: Why Russia Needs PAK DA Next-Gen Stealth Bomber
In a follow up to recent reports that Russian designers have made the first full-size model of the Russia's next-generation strategic bomber, known as the Advanced Long-Range Aviation Complex (PAK DA), Russian defense analysts explained why the country needs such an advanced aircraft.
The developers from Russia's Tupolev design bureau have recently created a full-size model of the prospective advanced long-range bomber, known by its Russian initials as PAK DA.
The new aircraft is expected to make its first flight sometime before 2021, with the first deliveries starting in 2023. The first public demonstration of the aircraft is expected in 2018.
It is estimated that the new aircraft will have an operational range of about 12,000 kilometers and travel at subsonic speeds. The plane’s airframe will consist of radar-absorbent material.
Furthermore, it was reported that the new fifth generation bomber will be able to carry a 30-ton weapons payload including different variants of air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles as well as conventional and smart-guided bombs.
The bomber "is to be equipped with the latest radio-electronic warfare equipment of domestic manufacture, unparalleled in terms of effectiveness," the designers revealed.
It will have a flying wing design, which is a tailless fixed-wing aircraft that has no clearly defined fuselage. The crew, payload, fuel, and equipment are typically housed inside the main wing structure.
The new aircraft is being designed to replace all three bombers currently in service with the Russian long-range aviation, including the Tu-22M3 long-range bomber and the Tu-95 and Tu-160 (aka the White Swan) strategic bombers.
Commenting on the reports, Viktor Murakhovsky, Editor-in Chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland journal said that the new bomber will be a worthy replacement to the aircraft that were developed back in Soviet times.
"The creation of a new aircraft is not a fast process. Thus the combat effectiveness of the existing fleet of the long-range aviation needs to be constantly maintained, partially with the help of modernization," he told RT channel.
However these aircraft can't fly forever, he noted.
The new bomber is expected to become one of the chains in the system of strategic "non-nuclear" deterrence.
The PAK DA, he said, will have cutting-edge equipment and advanced air-launched weapons, most prominently, long-range cruise missiles and hypersonic striking powers.
Meanwhile, military expert Vasily Kashin, Senior Research Fellow at the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies noted that both Tu-95 and Tu-160 remain visible to the modern anti-missile defense systems, thus Russian Aerospace Forces do need a more modern aircraft with lesser radar visibility.
"It will considerably expand our possibilities and will provide a certain advantage to our forces. It is quite expensive and complicated to create such an aircraft. Long-range combat aviation is not exploited as intensively as civil aviation, and so its working lifespan is considerably longer.
On the whole, Russian long-range aviation is younger than that of the US," he said.
Original post: sputniknews.com
As it is now confirmed that it is flying wing design and tailless I picked the most likely design from the web….
Prospective Air Complex for Long Range Aviation (PAK DA)
In 2015 the decision was announced to resume the production of Tupolev-160 bomber (its upgraded configuration Tupolev-160M2) and to postpone the development of a new generation bomber till a later date. The Defense Ministry said the construction of Tupolev-160M2 would begin in 2023. The Aerospace Force planned to acquire at least 50 such aircraft.
As of February 2017 it was reported that the new bomber was expected to make its first flight sometime before 2021, with the first deliveries starting in 2023. "It is impossible to build a missile-carrying bomber invisible to radars and supersonic at the same time. This is why focus is placed on stealth capabilities. The PAK DA will carry AI-guided missiles with a range of up to 7,000 km. Such a missile can analyze the aerial and radio-radar situation and determine its direction, altitude and speed. We’re already working on such missiles," Bondarev was quoted as saying by the Russian newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta 24 February 2017.
The major design works on developing the advanced PAK DA strategic bomber are due to start after 2021, the commander-in-chief of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, Victor Bondarev, said on 12 August 2015. "Currently, the design work on developing the PAK DA advanced long range aviation complex is being conducted by the Tupolev company under the contract with the Russian Defense Ministry," Bondarev said, adding that the major works will be implemented after 2021. The new strategic bomber was earlier expected to perform its maiden flight in 2019 and become operational in the Russian Air Force approximately in 2023-2025. Its development has been postponed amid plans to resume series production of a Tu-160M2 bomber in 2023.
Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces Viktor Bondarev said that the main stages of the experimental design efforts for the PAK DA creation would begin after 2021. However, he said on January 2016 that the advanced strategic long-range aircraft’s prototype may take its maiden flight before 2021. He said the PAK DA creation works are underway and their progress rates were satisfactory. There is a task to conduct the (PAK DA`s) first flight in 2021. If the reached progress rates are maintained, the bomber will take the flight before the targeted time, Bondarev added.
It was earlier planned that the PAK DA bomber would start to be delivered to the Russian army in 2023-2025, and the first tests flights were planned for 2019-2020. It became known later that the creation of Russia’s new strategic bomber would be delayed because of the plans to resume serial production of Tu-160M2 that is planned to be started in 2023.
The Russian Air Force would start receiving its first PAK DA next generation long-range bomber in 2023, Russian Air Force Commander-in-Chief Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said 22 May 2014. Earlier reports said PAK DA bombers could be supplied to the Russian Air Force approximately by 2020. “The maiden flight should be performed in 2019. State tests and supplies will be completed in 2023,” Bondarev said. The head of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Mikhail Pogosyan, told reporters earlier that the full-fledged construction work would start in 2014.
While the US for many years had the only operational stealth aircraft, as of 2000 Russia was reportedly designing a stealth bomber. Russia announced plans in 2009 to develop a new strategic bomber featuring stealth technology by 2025. The new bomber is expected to replace the Tu-95MC Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, and Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers currently in service with Russia’s strategic aviation. As of 2012 Russia’s strategic air forces operated a total of 63 Tu-95MS and 13 Tu-160 bombers. Altogether, they were capable of carrying 850 long-range cruise missiles.
In December 2009 Russian aircraft maker Tupolev said a new-generation Tu strategic bomber would be developed by 2017. Company President Alexander Bobryshev told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the research on the new aircraft project should be completed by 2012, while production-line assembly should start in 2020 to 2025. However, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, commander of Russia's strategic aviation said a new strategic bomber, which would use stealth technology, was expected to enter service in 2025-2030. He said the stealth technology would make "the new aircraft difficult to detect by radar, although it is impossible to make airplanes of this type completely invisible."
Russia's Long Range Aviation commander, Major General Anatoly Zhikharev, had said the Air Force could receive the new strategic bomber in 2025. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has said that a new aircraft assembly line in Russia's Kazan plant (KAPO) would build PAK DA [Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Dalney Aviatsyi - Prospective Air Complex for Long Range Aviation.] and the new Antonov An-70 propfan transport aircraft. The same plant previously built the Tu-95MS and Tu-160.
In May 2012, Russia Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin called on Russia's defense industry to develop hypersonic air-breathing weapons as a future strike system. He picked out American development work in the X-51, Falcon, HiFire and HyFly programs as examples of what he described as the perspective threat posed by U.S. hypersonic development work. "The undertaking of this work allows us to lay the basis for creation of a national competitor in hypersonic weapons," he said. Development of such a weapon should be discussed at the highest levels of state, he said. Rogozin, who has special responsibility for the military-industrial complex, insisted Russia has no need to develop a new long-range bomber to replace its existing fleet.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin suggested that with the current and future air and missile defense systems in place, strategic bombers were no longer relevant. “Look at the current level of air defense and anti-missile defense – these aircraft will not get anywhere. Not ours, not theirs,” Rogozin, who oversees defense industry and will soon assume full control over financing of R&D for military purposes, said in an interview with Izvestia. He added that strategic bombers could not be viewed as means of delivering nuclear strikes on enemy territory anymore.
On 09 June 2012 Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reiterated plans to develop a new, fifth-generation strategic bomber. “Alongside a fifth-generation fighter there are also plans to develop an advanced long-range aviation complex. I am talking about a new strategic bomber,” he said. Maintenance and modernization of the existing strategic bombers is not enough, he added. His remarks come days after a senior cabinet member questioned the need for a new bomber.
Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov told Izvestia in early June 2012 that the new bomber project was underway as planned. “We have made some progress in the development of the new bomber,” Makarov said. “If we reach production phase, this plane will outperform any modern aircraft of the same class, including those built by the Americans.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered development of the new long-range strategic bomber to be sped up in mid-June 2012. Speaking during a conference on defense orders, Putin said: "We have to develop work on the new PAK DA long-range bomber aircraft for Long-Range Aviation. I know how expensive and complex this is. The task is not easy from a scientific-technical standpoint, but we need to start work," Putin said, adding that otherwise, Russia could miss the boat.
Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said he was in favor of development of the PAK DA long-range bomber for the country's air force, just hours after saying the project was unnecessary, in apparent contravention of President Putin's call last week for domestic aerospace industry to develop just such an aircraft. “I am for PAK DA but it should not be a copy of the B-2. We need to look at the horizon and develop hypersonic long-range aviation, civil and military,” Rogozin said
The outline for a design of the Russian Air Force's future strategic bomber, known as PAK-DA, has been worked out, Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said in June 2012. "The outline of this aircraft is already formed, and the technical and tactical characteristics are being set out," Bondarev said. "I think we have the resources and funding to make the plane on time, so it is ready when we need it as a replacement or addition to our Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers," he added.
The Russian Air Force may receive its first PAK DA next generation long-range bomber about 2020 instead of 2025 as initially planned, Russia’s acting deputy Air Force commander, Major General Alexander Chernyayev, said in late June 2012. “I think the first models of the Prospective Air Complex for Long Range Aviation (PAK DA) will be supplied to the Air Force approximately by 2020,” Chernyayev said in an interview published on the Russian Defense Ministry website. Chernyayev also said in his interview the Russian Air Force was planning to modernize its Tu-95MS, Tu-160 and Tu-22MS bombers, as well as Ilyushin Il-78 Midas air-to-air refueling tanker aircraft.
The general look of the new strategic bomber has already been worked out, and engineers are currently finishing work on aircraft specific operational requirements, Chernyayev said. “We have everything today to develop the plane on time and put it into operation together with [Tupolev] Tu-95MS Bear, Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-22M3 Backfire [strategic bombers], which have proven their high reliability,” he added.
Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who has responsibility for military-industrial affairs, and the Armed Force’s General Staff, disagreed over the need for a new “traditional” strategic bomber. Rogozin said on his blog in June 2012 that it would be undesirable for Russia to "go down the American route," and produce a bomber like the Northrop B-2, and repeated his earlier calls for a hypersonic air vehicle system instead of a traditional long-range bomber. In earlier comments, Rogozin had appeared to dismiss the need for PAK-DA, saying long-range bombers would fall victim to air defense systems long before reaching their targets.
The Russian Air Force has approved the conceptual design and specification of its future PAK-DA strategic bomber, paving the way for development of components for the aircraft, Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said 11 April 2013. “The development of the aircraft is going as planned. The outline of its design and characteristics has been approved and all relevant documents have been signed allowing the industry to start the development of systems for this plane,” Bondarev said at a meeting with Russian lawmakers.
The Russian Air Force has tactical and technical requirements for a new generation of strategic bombers, as reported by Interfax. According to some sources, the PAK DA would be based on the supersonic Tu-160 bomber. Later references to the new bomber, including a televised address from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seem to imply the aircraft will be an entirely new design. Some speculation suggests that it might follow the stealthy design of the America B-2 Spirit bomber, but there is little public evidence to support that.