Russia to Build Lethal PAK-DA Stealth Bomber—with Hypersonic Weapons?

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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 15Continue reading

Get Ready, America: Russia Wants a New Stealthy, Long-Range Bomber

There is little concrete information about the new Russian bomber—but a stealthy long-range penetrating strike aircraft is not cheap. The Pentagon’s secretive new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program is aiming to develop an aircraft that will cost roughly $550 million per jet. Developmental costs for the American aircraft—which will supposedly rely on “mature” technologies–are likely to be in $50 billion range. While the Russia PAK-DA is not likely to be nearly as expensive, it is going to cost tens of billions of dollars at a time when Russia’s resource-based economy is collapsing into what could be a prolonged recession. Unlike the Soviet Union—which had a more or less full-service, if dysfunctional, economy—modern Russia is little more than a glorified petro-state. There are very real questions as to whether Russia can afford to complete the development of the PAK-DA.

Nonetheless, Russia’s Tupolev design bureau appears to be moving full steam ahead with the development of the new aircraft. Mikhail Pogosyan, head of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)—a state enterprise that includes Tupolev—told RIA Novosti, a state-run Russian new agency (now known internationally as Sputnik International), earlier in the year that development of the PAK-DA had started in earnest in 2014. Pogosyan said that preliminary design work for the new aircraft was completed in April 2014 and some components are already being fabricated. Continue reading

Russian Tu-160 Strategic Bombers Land in Venezuela

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MOSCOW, October 29 (RIA Novosti) – Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers on Monday flew from an airbase in southwestern Russia and landed in Venezuela, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The nuclear-capable bombers, which took off from the Engels airbase in the Volga region, “flew over the Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and along the southwestern coast of the North American continent, and landed at Maiquetia airfield in Venezuela,” the ministry said in a statement. Continue reading