Russia has begun construction of the first PAK-DA prototype, the all-new long range strategic bomber of the Russian Aerospace Forces, since the cold-war.
“Russia has commenced construction of its first strategic stealth bomber within the Perspective Aviation Complex for Long-Range Aviation (PAK DA) program,” a source in the industry was quoted as saying by TASS on May 26.
"United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) will be in charge of production of airframe elements. Development of working design documentation is complete, material shipping has commenced," the source added.
A second source told TASS that construction of the plane’s cockpit is already underway. “The final assembly of the entire machine should be complete in 2021," he said.
Draft project of the plane had been approved by December last year. Tupolev Design Bureau began development of the working design documentation, and started building parts and elements of the test PAK DA units.
In early February, the Russian defense ministry announced it signed a contract with the developer of PAK-DA to commence production for a possible delivery by 2027.
"The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has signed all the necessary contracts to start production of the PAK-DA long-range bomber. Flight tests of the aircraft is scheduled for 2027," Alexey Krivoruchk, Russian Deputy Minister of Defense, was quoted as saying by defense ministry-run Zvezda.
“The characteristics of the aircraft have been agreed upon, all contract documents necessary for the production of samples have been signed, preparatory design stages are underway,” Krivoruchko said.
A week later, Krivorochko said engine prototype of the bomber could be sent for its initial tests by the end of 2020.
The aircraft will have a 12000 km operational range and is of subsonic speed. It will have the ability to remain in the air for up to 30 hours while carrying 30 tonnes of nuclear weaponry.