Putin Wants a Russian Darpa, new long range bombers and lots of UAVs

Wired – Russian industry and defense leaders announced plans last week to bankroll the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects in the Defense Industry. (RFARPDI) Russia’s newly re-coronated president, Vladimir Putin, has already sent a bill to parliament to authorize the agency, which will be tasked with keeping track of projects that “can ensure Russian superiority in defense technology,” according to news service RIA Novosti.

Russia wants to modernize, and needs its own far-out research department to do it. Its military is getting old and risks becoming dependent on other (read: more advanced) countries. It’s also a part of a larger Russian push for more military tech.

Note- Russia has often talked big about more military and space spending but budget realities have rendered most of it to be empty talk.

Putin talks about new bomber and drones

Putin has indicated – “We need a program for unmanned aircraft. Experts say this is a most important area of development in aviation,” he said. “We need a range of all types, including automated strike aircraft, reconnaissance and other types.” Russia is allegedly spending $13 billion on unmanned aerial vehicles through 2020.

“We have to develop work on the new PAK-DA long-range bomber aircraft,” Putin said. “I know how expensive and complex this is. We have talked about this many times with ministers, and with the head of the General Staff. The task is not easy from a scientific-technical standpoint, but we need to start work.” Putin also said Russia needs to finish development of its new AWACS early-warning aircraft, the A-100.

The PAK-DA is also still very much a concept at this point, expected to enter service no sooner than 2025

US talking about a $55 billion program for a new bomber

The US Air Force now says it wants between 80 and 100 Long-Range Strike Bombers, the number planners say is required to carry out a sustained bombing campaign against a well-armed foe such as China or Iran. It has said repeatedly that the new planes, which it claims will use “off-the-shelf” technologies, will be ready for flying in the mid-2020’s — when America’s list of friends and foes might be different.

The US military has indicated that the program would be cancelled if the projected cost inflates to over $55 billion.

Others argue against the need for a new bomber.

Bomber upgrades already in the works could render the new bomber redundant. The B-52, B-1 and B-2 are all being fitted with a new cruise missile with some of the same stealth qualities as the B-2, and can hit targets up to 600 miles away. For the cost of the new bomber fleet, the Air Force could buy 50,000 of these missiles. It has fired just 2,000 cruise missiles since it began using the long-range weapons in combat in 1991.

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