Representative of the Military Academy of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), Colonel Alexei Solodovnikov, told RIA Novosti that the prototype of the engine of the new aircraft is to be created by 2020.
"The idea is as follows. The aircraft will take off from conventional airfields to patrol airspace. It will be able to fly into space when there is an appropriate order for it. The aircraft will be able to strike targets from space, including with the use of nuclear weapons, before flying back to its airfield. This is a strategic aircraft," Solodovnikov.
According to the Lieutenant Colonel, the bomber aircraft will be able to reach any location in the world in one or two hours
The new aircraft will be developed by the Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute. Specialists currently work on the characteristics of the aircraft. "I think that the starting weight will be around 20-25 tons, so it could be an attack aircraft. It will be a hypersonic rocket mode machine," the official added. Colonel-General Sergei Karakayev, commander of Russian Strategic Missile Forces, confirmed the model engine for the bomber has been built and successfully tested at the Serpukhovo branch of the Military Academy. “The unit’s operational ability had been proven,” he said.
In October 2015, a representative of the Russian Military Academy reported plans to combine an air-rocket ramjet engine with a pulsating combustion chamber. The new aircraft—equipped with an engine able to work both in airspace and outer space—was, at the time, conveniently needed for delivering supplies to an international orbit station, the representative explained.
Judging by recent developments, a lot has changed.
Just one day after NATO’s Warsaw Summit came to a close, Russia announced to the world she was aggressively building a hypersonic aerospace bomber to make nuclear strikes from outer space possible. The engine’s projected speed will allow the bomber to reach any point on Earth in under two hours.
“Right now we are reviewing the nuances,” Karakayev said, “which will take approximately one year. Then we will make a blueprint, which could be completely different [from the current one]. Once we agree on the plans, we will start building the engine itself. In the second year of development—2018—we will build the hardware. Perhaps I am rushing things—and some issues may arise—but by 2020 we should have a fully-functioning product.”
Two engines—one for the airplane and another for the spaceship—will be combined within the bomber’s engine setting. According to the Academy of Strategic Missiles Forces, in plane mode, the engine will use kerosene fuel. For space flight, it will use methane and oxygen.
"When we sort the basic aspects out, we will proceed to making the engine. During the second year of our work, in 2018, we will work on the hull. The aircraft is to fly in 2020," the specialists said, adding that the aircraft will have a turbofan engine.
"The engine will be able to operate both in the atmosphere of the planet and in near-Earth space, where there is no air. It will be one platform for both aircraft and rocket engines," the specialist said. Currently, Russia does not have such engines, he added.
In July, Russian officials said that the sixth-generation aircraft will be produced in a manned and unmanned version. It will be able to operate in a group of other aircraft and fly into near-Earth space.
SOURCES- the Observer, Pravda