Tupolev PAK DA
|Role||Stealth strategic bomber|
|Manufacturer||Tupolev, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC)|
|Primary user||Russian Air Force|
The Tupolev PAK DA or PAK DA (Russian: ПАК ДА, short for: Перспективный авиационный комплекс дальней авиации, translit. Perspektivnyi aviatsionnyi kompleks dal'ney aviatsii, lit. ''Prospective aviation complex for long-range aviation''), factory designation Izdeliye 80, is a proposed Russian next-generation strategic bomber being developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. The PAK DA is planned to be a new stealth strategic bomber and is expected to enter service in 2025–30, with the first aircraft previously planned for delivery in 2020, but delivery will likely be after 2023.
In 2008, it was reported that the Russian Air Force had tactical and technical requirements for a new generation of strategic bombers. According to some early reports, the PAK DA would be heavily based on the supersonic Tu-160 bomber. Later references[when?] to the new bomber, including a televised address from then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seemed to imply that the aircraft would be an entirely new design.
In June 2012, the Deputy Prime Minister in Dmitry Medvedev's Cabinet, Dmitry Rogozin, announced that the project was in doubt and the new bomber design might not be needed. The Chief of the General Staff, Nikolai Makarov, responded by stating that work was still 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.
Speculations about the design include a combat radius of around 3,500 kilometers with full payload, a loaded weight of 100 to 120 tonnes, four engines and the possible use of some equipment from the Sukhoi Su-57, such as avionics and engines. President Vladimir Putin also stated that work is to start on PAK DA despite the complex technology and monetary requirements.
On 27 August 2012, Jane's Defence reported that Dmitry Rogozin had recently called for the bomber to be capable of hypersonic speed in order to match and better the air defenses of the United States. It is unclear whether Rogozin's comments refer to the bomber being hypersonic or to its ability to carry hypersonic air-launched missiles.
In March 2013, it was reported that the selected PAK DA design would be a subsonic flying wing. In order to maintain affordability, the PAK DA will be a less ambitious project than the Northrop Grumman B-21.
General Anatoly Zhikharev has said 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. A Russian hypersonic missile is in development, but is currently able to fly for only a few seconds. 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. The planning stage was completed in less than one year, and development work was to begin in 2014. First flights will commence in 2019, and the bomber is to enter service in 2025. Russia's existing bomber fleet will also be modernized with advanced avionics and electronic warfare systems. Two 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.
In February 2014, Andrey Boginsky stated that Russia was attempting to acquire Chinese investment in the project.
In April 2014, Mikhail Pogosyan, head of Russia's UAC, 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.
Some of the technology and components from the PAK DA will be derived from existing aircraft. The current engine is a non-afterburning variant of the NK-32 used on the Tu-160, certain avionics such as the radar will be based on those developed for the Su-57.
A 2016 report mentions an expected 30-ton weapons payload, a range of 6,740 nautical miles (~12,500 km), the first flight in 2021 and deliveries in 2023.
On 1 March 2017, it was reported that the first full-scale model of the PAK DA was built, amongst various smaller-scale ones of various configurations, while confirming it will be a flying wing and that emphasis has been put on the low-observability (stealth) characteristics of the aircraft.
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
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