The outline for a design of the Russian Air Force’s future strategic bomber, known as PAK-DA, has been worked out, Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Viktor Bondarev said on Wednesday.
“The outline of this aircraft is already formed, and the technical and tactical characteristics are being set out,” Bondarev told a news conference at RIA Novosti dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Russian Air Force.
Russian Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bomber
“I think we have the resources and funding to make the plane on time, so it is ready when we need it as a replacement or addition to our Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic bombers,” he added.
The AF commander did not specify the number of new bombers expected to enter service with the Air Force after 2020.
Bondarev also denied any knowledge about the ongoing conflict between Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who has responsibility for military-industrial affairs, and the Armed Force’s General Staff over the need for a new “traditional” strategic bomber.
Rogozin said on his blog last week that it would be undesirable for Russia to “go down the American route,” and produce a bomber like the Northrop B-2, and repeated his earlier calls for a hypersonic air vehicle system instead of a traditional long-range bomber.
In earlier comments, Rogozin had appeared to dismiss the need for PAK-DA, saying long-range bombers would fall victim to air defense systems long before reaching their targets.
Rogozin’s comments came just days after President Vladimir Putin called on Russian industry to develop PAK-DA.