(From the National Interest)
By Dave Majumdar
Despite its economic struggles as oil prices remain stubbornly low, Russia is pressing ahead with plans to develop its new PAK-DA stealth bomber while simultaneously resuming production of the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic strategic bomber. However, Moscow will delay the PAK-DA effort in favor of the advanced Tu-160M2 derivative of the Blackjack, but the program will not be cancelled.
“We certainly are not going to stop the work on the development of PAK-DA,” Yuri Borisov, Russia’s deputy defense minister told the Moscow-based TASS news agency on April 15.
The PAK-DA is likely to leverage many of the technologies that are expected to be incorporated into the new Tu-160M2 variant. That would follow the previous practice established by the Su-35S Flanker-E and the Sukhoi PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter project—which share many key technologies. Indeed, while the Tu-160 will be an upgraded version of the Blackjack airframe, under the hood it is expected to be an almost completely new aircraft with brand new avionics.
“Tu-160M2 is an aircraft with new capabilities and flight and life characteristics. Its tactical employment level is considerably higher than that of its ancestor,” Borisov said. “All the innovations appearing at present should be embodied in the next model, which will replace the Tu-160.” Read more
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