Russia has plans to design a new strategic bomber in 2014, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Army, Valery Gerasimov said.
According to Voice of Russia report, the new Prospective Air Complex for Long Range Aviation (PAK DA) will replace the Tu-95MS and Tu-160 bombers which are currently in use. The Tupolev Designing Bureau will develop the new bomber. It will deliver its plan for the development of the aircraft and the estimation of the cost of this work to the Defence Ministry.
The serial production of the bomber is expected to start in 2020. However, some other reports say that the aircraft will make its maiden flight in 2020. Concerning its engines, their development was started in 2011. It’s also possible that the aircraft will be equipped with the updated models of the 117S or NK-32 advanced engines. The weapon systems are also being developed.
It has been suggested that the bomber will carry X-101 cruise missiles that can hit a target at a distance of 5,500 kilometers.
At present, the future bomber will be built under the "flying-wing" scheme similar to the American B-2 Spirit, according to the approved project. The price of a bomber with the necessary equipment and spare parts was estimated at over $900 million in the 1990s, while the overall cost of the development and the production of all aircraft was about $45 billion.
The development of the PAK DA can provide Russia an effective system capable of hitting targets at any points on the Earth, within several hours of receiving the order, without need for foreign bases.