Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday reiterated plans to develop a new, fifth-generation strategic bomber.
“Alongside a fifth-generation fighter there are also plans to develop an advanced long-range aviation complex. I am talking about a new strategic bomber,” he said.
Maintenance and modernization of the existing strategic bombers is not enough, he added.
His remarks come days after a senior cabinet member questioned the need for a new bomber.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin suggested on Monday that with the current and future air and missile defense systems in place, strategic bombers were no longer relevant and could no longer be relied on to deliver strikes on enemy territory.
Russia announced plans in 2009 to develop a new strategic bomber featuring stealth technology by 2025. The new bomber is expected to replace the Tu-95MC Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, and Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers currently in service with Russia’s strategic aviation.