Upgraded Russian Tu-160M, New Strategic Bomber PAK-DA to be Built Simultaneously

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Russia’s upgraded Tu-160M strategic bomber, which made its first fight last year will be built together with the proposed new stealth bomber, PAK-DA.

The Tu-160M aircraft opens up prospects for implementing the new project of building the prospective complex of long-range aviation (PAK DA), Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said on Friday while on a visit to the Tu-160 plant in Kazan.

“It set to complete preparations for its (PAK DA) debut flight and subsequently pass all the stages of trials and its launch into serial production. Two planes, the Tu-160M and the PAK-DA will be simultaneously produced,” Manturov said in comments quoted in several Russian media.

Russia’s Defense Ministry will receive the first newly-built Tu-160M strategic missile-carrying bomber by the second quarter of 2022 for subsequent state trials and operational service, Manturov said.

The Tu-160 is a supersonic variable-sweep wing strategic missile-carrying bomber. Designed to strike enemy targets in remote areas with nuclear and conventional weapons. The Tu-160M is the world’s heaviest supersonic military aircraft to date.

The program of restarting the production of Tu-160 bombers in their upgraded Tu-160M version was launched in 2015.

The upcoming PAK DA has its design based on the “flying wing” scheme. The next-generation bomber will feature technologies and materials that reduce its radar signature. The aircraft will be capable of carrying existing and future strategic cruise missiles, precision bombs and hypersonic weapons and will be outfitted with the latest communications and electronic warfare systems.

Many western experts believe that financial and technological constraints will delay the development of the PAK-DA. The aircraft is behind its American and Chinese competitors- the B-21 Raider and the H-20 respectively in terms of development time.