Despite its economic struggles as oil price 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.
The PAK-DA—which is being developed by Tupolev—is expected to be a subsonic flying-wing aircraft that is roughly analogous to the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit and the U.S. Air Force’s forthcoming Long Range Strike-Bomber. Flying wings lend themselves well to low observable characteristics—particularly against low frequency radars operating in the UHF and VHF bands. Meanwhile, the PAK-DA’s engines, which are being developed by the Kuznetsov design bureau, are an advanced derivative of the Tu-160’s NK-32 turbofans. It’s also likely make use of advanced electronic warfare capabilities.
Full article: Russia to Build Lethal PAK-DA Stealth Bomber—with Hypersonic Weapons? (The National Interest)