Russia pushes back PAK DA stealth bomber to upgrade existing Tu-160 Bomber

Russia’s Air Force has suffered from a string of crashes over the past month that highlight the country’s maintenance and modernization woes.

On June 4, a MiG-29 and an Su-34 both crashed. The SU-34 is one of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets, and was officially introduced into service in March of 2014. On July 14, a Tu-95MS bear bomber crashed.

Russia is flying a lot of flights. Both for the Ukraine war and because they are following a policy of increasing patrols close the western countries. The conflict with the Ukraine and the sanctions from the west and low oil and gas prices have put their economy into a bad shape.

Russia has been flying sorties across Europe, the Atlantic, and the Pacific with a frequency unseen since the Cold War. This increased workload has put heavy strain on an aging fleet of mostly Cold War-era bombers and fighters.

Russia let a lot of their gear get into poor repair after the fall of the Soviet Union.

They had planned to make an advanced PAK DA stealth bomber.

Cheaper and faster to get more bomber capability by building an upgraded Tu-160M2 bomber

Now, Russia’s new-generation PAK DA bomber will be delayed past 2023 due to the development of the new-build Tupolev Tu-160M2 bomber, according to Russian deputy defence minister Yury Borisov

“According to the plans, serial production of the [Tu-160] aircraft new version [the Tu-160M2] is to be implemented starting from 2023,” Borisov said during a visit on 17 July to the Samara-based Kuznetsov Plant of the United Engine Corporation.