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 US Air Force’s forthcoming Long Range Strike-Bomber.
The PAK-DA is likely to feature many of the technologies that are expected to be incorporated into the new Tu-160M2 version.
In a break from previous Russian and Soviet bombers, which focused on using a combination of speed and long-range cruise missiles to deliver their payloads, the PAK-DA is the first Russian bomber optimized for stealth.
That said, the PAK-DA will probably not be a small aircraft, close in size to a Boeing 757.
It is expected to have a range of 6,740 nautical miles. It will also be able to carry 30 tons of weapons.
PAK-DA will serve as a launch platform for long-range nuclear and conventional cruise missiles and a host of precision-guided munitions. It might also eventually be armed with hypersonic missiles, National Interest wrote.
The new bomber is expected to make its first flight sometime before 2021, with the first deliveries starting in 2023.
The PAK-DA will be a unique project in the history of Russian aviation since it will be a “flying wing” aircraft, a design never used before by Russian engineers. It will fly at subsonic speeds and the large wingspan and design features will provide the jet with reduced visibility to radar.
The hypersonic missile-which is a component of the 3K22 Zircon system-will be incorporated into the nuclear-powered Project 11442 Orlan -class battle cruiser Pyotr Veliky When it completes its overhaul in late 2022. Sister ship Admiral Nakhimov -which is currently being modernized-will likely be the first Russian warship equipped with the new missile When it returns to service in 2018. Zircon will be built in air and submarine-launched versions. The Russians are expected to use hypersonic missiles onboard the both the new production Tupolev Tu-160M2 Blackjack and the developmental Tupolev PAK DA stealth bomber. The combination of a long-range bomber and hypersonic cruise missiles would be a dangerous threat to the US and its allies.
General Anatoly Zhikharev has said that an unmanned strategic bomber may follow the PAK DA after 2040
Russia’s existing bomber fleet will also be modernized with advanced avionics and electronic warfare systems. 2 of 13 Tu-160s have undergone this overhaul as of December 2013 and the intermediate-range Tu-22M will be included in the program. 63 Tu-95 bombers will be upgraded and the Tu-95MS is to remain in service until 2040
SOURCES – National Interest, Sputnik News, Wikipedia