“We have everything today to develop the plane on time and put it into operation together with Tu-95MS Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack,” deputy Air Force commander said.© RIA Novosti. Anton Denisov
“We have everything today to develop the plane on time and put it into operation together with Tu-95MS Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack,” deputy Air Force commander said.© RIA Novosti. Skrynnikov
MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti)
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, has said.
“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 late last week.
Russia's Long Range Aviation commander, Major General Anatoly Zhikharev, has said the Air Force could receive the new strategic bomber in 2025.
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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered development of the new long-range strategic bomber to be sped up in mid-June.
“I know how expensive and complex this is,” Putin said during a conference on defense orders. “The task is not easy from a scientific-technical standpoint, but we need to start work,” he said, adding that otherwise, Russia could miss the boat.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has said previously that a new aircraft assembly line in Russia's Kazan plant (KAPO) would build PAK DA and the new Antonov An-70 propfan transport aircraft. The same plant previously built the Tu-95MS and Tu-160.
Currently, only Russia and the United States operate intercontinental range bombers. Most other nuclear-capable nations rely solely on intercontinental ballistic missiles, based on submarines or in land-based silos, or cruise missiles. The United States has expressed an interest in successor systems to its B-1, B-2 and B-52H long-range bombers.
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.
Russia’s strategic air forces operate a total of 63 Tu-95MS and 13 Tu-160 bombers. Altogether, they are capable of carrying 850 long-range cruise missiles.
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- free_mind50(no title)15:00, 02/07/2012well, Russia will need this bomber one way or the other. I say it can be done sooner. supplemented with the existing bomber fleet it creates an adequate layered bomber defense until efficient production can be maintained.
- arsanlupinHow's that again?01:11, 16/07/2012" ... an adequate layered bomber defense ... " This makes as much sense as "pointing a missile defense system at Russia", and for exactly the same reason. Intercontinental bombers are purely offensive weapons; they have absolutely zero ability to defend anything. (Hell – they can’t even defend themselves; only 3 of the six strategic aircraft mentioned in the article have a single tail gun each; the other three have nothing.)
The European missile shield, on the other hand, is a purely defensive weapon; they are incapable of attacking anything except an airborne target within 500 kilometers of the launcher. (In fact they are even poor anti-aircraft missiles; the guidance system is optimized for ballistic inbounds, and the LEAP kinetic warhead has no explosives).
Admit it: the new Russian intercontinental bomber is as purely offensive a weapon as it is possible to be. Its sole purpose is to attack targets on other continents. Since Russia was never mad at anyone on Africa or Australia, the obvious sole target is North America. Deterrent? Most definitely. Appropriate for today’s geopolitical situation? Highly debatable. Most would say that it reflects a Cold War attitude 20 years after the Cold War ended. Defensive? Nonsense!
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The current contract portfolio of Russian arms exporters is worth about $46 billion. Annual exports total $15 billion, and this will ensure uninterrupted deliveries for the next three years, even in the worst-case scenario. The list of the main buyers of Russian weapons is unlikely to change drastically.