With the USAF set to announce its proposed Long Range Strategic Bomber (LRS-B) this September, Russia is continuing to develop plans for its own next-generation strategic bomber. Dubbed the Pak DA, the subsonic PAK-DA is destined to replace Moscow’s aging fleet of 63 Tu-95 Bear and 13 Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers.
According to the RIA Novosti, Russia’s Air Force commander insisted that the aircraft will be equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems and armed with new nuclear-capable long-range cruise missiles, and will be able to carry a wide array of conventional precision guided weapons.
With its flying wing shape and radar-evading capabilities, the new plane will enter production stage by 2020 with the first bomber in active service by 2025-2030 timeframe.
The PAK-DA will not be hypersonic (even if it will probably carry hypersonic missiles) as opposed to the American X-51, Falcon HTV-2 and other hypersonic development programs on which U.S.’s perspective strike capability will be based.
A supposed “sixth-generation” pilotless strategic bomber based on the PAK-DA could enter service around 2040-2050, provided Russia can afford its massively inflated defense budget put in place by President Vladimir Putin.