Tupolev PAK DA
|Role||Stealth strategic bomber|
|Manufacturer||Tupolev, United Aircraft Corporation|
|Primary user||Russian Air Force|
US$160 million (projected)
The Tupolev PAK DA or PAK DA (Russian: ПАК ДА, short for: Перспективный авиационный комплекс дальней авиации, romanized: Perspektivnyi aviatsionnyi kompleks dal'ney aviatsii, lit. ''Prospective aviation complex for long-range aviation''), factory designation Izdeliye 80, is a next-generation stealth strategic bomber being developed by Tupolev for the Russian Air Force. The PAK DA is set to complement and eventually replace older variants, namely the Tupolev Tu-95 and Tupolev Tu-160, in Russia's Air Force service. The first flight is scheduled for 2025–2026 with serial production to follow in 2028–2029.
Technical parameters of the aircraft should include subsonic speed, 12,000 km operational range and possibility to carry both conventional and nuclear payloads up to 30 tons.
First mentions about Russia's next-generation long-range strategic bomber dates back to late 1990s, when formation of requirements for the aircraft had begun. However, Russian Air Force handed the first set of technical and tactical requirments for the new bomber to Tupolev only in December 2007 and financing of R&D work started in 2008. According to some early reports, the PAK DA was to be heavily based on the supersonic Tupolev Tu-160 bomber, but later reports regarding to the new bomber, including a televised address from then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seemed to imply that the aircraft will be an entirely new design.
On 3 September 2009, Russian Defence Ministry awarded Tupolev a three year R&D contract to undertake studies for new long-range bomber. According to the President-General Designer of Tupolev Igor Shevchuk, "this should be a fundamentally new aircraft, based on conceptually new solutions".
In June 2012, then-Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin questioned the need for a new bomber, pointing out the high advancement in air defence and anti-missile defence technology saying "these aircraft will not get anywhere. Not ours, not theirs." The Chief of the General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, responded by stating that work on the bomber is ongoing and that the design was superior to American aircraft. On 9 June 2012, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that the PAK DA was confirmed as planned. Russian President Vladimir Putin in his statement on 14 June 2012 also urged to start development of a new long-range bomber.
On 27 August 2012, Dmitry Rogozin had called for a bomber to be capable of hypersonic speed in order to better match the air defenses of the United States. However, it is unclear whether his comments refer to the bomber being hypersonic or to its ability to carry hypersonic air-launched missiles. Rogozin's statement came just days after a test of U.S. Boeing X-51 Waverider hypersonic demonstrator vehicle.
In March 2013, it was reported that the selected PAK DA design would be a subsonic flying wing and that emphasis will be on stealth technology rather than on PAK DA's capability to overcome supersonic speeds.
Anatoly Zhikharev has noted that an unmanned strategic bomber may follow the PAK DA after 2040.
On 30 August 2013, a Russian Defense Ministry source revealed that the PAK DA will be equipped with advanced types of precision-guided weapons, including hypersonic weapons. The bomber itself will fly at subsonic speeds. Hypersonic technology is being pursued so that Russia does not fall behind American development of similar weapons.
In November 2013, a decision was taken to speed up work on the PAK DA and begin full-scale R&D work in 2014. In December 2013, Anatoly Zhikharev reported the planning stage was completed in less than one year and development work was to begin in 2014. He further noted the first flight would commence in 2019 with serial production to begin in 2025, alongside the ongoing modernization of Russia's existing bomber fleet.
In February 2014, then-Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Andrey Boginsky stated, that Russia was attempting to acquire Chinese investment in the project.
In April 2014, head of Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Mikhail Pogosyan announced that the Tupolev Design Bureau had finalised the design of the PAK DA and that the project was moving to the intermediate phase - i.e. completion of the design and construction of a prototype.
Engine for the PAK DA will be derived from the upgraded Kuznetsov NK-32 Tier 2 turbofan, intended for modernized Tupolev Tu-160M bombers. According to the United Engine Corporation (UEC), 8 billion rubles are to be allocated for the development of the engine that will be produced by JSC Kuznetsov in Samara. The engine is to provide the PAK DA with a capability to perform 30 hours nonstop flight, while being resistant to temperatures from minus 60 to plus 50 °C and even effects of nuclear explosion. The service life of the engine is reportedly 12 years with possibility of extending it to 21 years.
In March 2015 it became known that the construction of the PAK DA prototypes and serial aircraft will take place at the Kazan Aircraft Production Association (KAPO) plant in Kazan. The Russian Defence Ministry allocated about 5 billion rubles for reconstruction and technical re-equipment of the production base, to prepare the plant for construction of the new bomber.
In July 2015, representatives from the United Instrument Manufacturing Corporation (UIMC), now part of Roselectronics, announced the company is developing "one-of-a-kind communications system" for the PAK DA bomber.
On 1 March 2017, it was reported that the first full-size model of the PAK DA bomber was built, amongst various scale mock-ups of different configurations.
In February 2019, the final draft of the PAK DA was approved and all documents for construction of the bomber were signed. The aircraft is set to be rolled out in 2021–2022. However, as a result of the ongoing modernization of Russia's existing bomber fleet, and due to massive purchases of upgraded Tu-160M2 bombers, it is believed that the Russian Defence Ministry will procure only a small number of PAK DA bombers.
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
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