The Russian Ministry of Defense has approved the final design of the stealth bomber known as the Perspective Airborne Complex of Long-Range Aviation (PAK DA), which is being developed by the Joint Stock Company Tupolev, as per RIA Novosti. The priority of the Tupolev PAK DA design is to reduce the aircraft’s signature and integration of long-range weapons. PAK DA is also known as also known as “Product 80” and “Courier.” The R&D work on the bomber started in 2009.
“The development work on the (PAK DA) program is at the stage of detailed design, construction of several prototypes is underway,” said the source to the news agency.
The new bomber will be built according to the “flying wing” aerodynamic scheme. The plane will fly at a subsonic speed and a longer flight duration. PAK DA will use only in-body weapons, including long-range cruise missiles and Hypersonic missiles. The onboard equipment of the aircraft is automated as much as possible, and it could fly in an unmanned mode too.
“It is also assumed that the bomber will be able to control groups of unmanned aerial vehicles and will be able to use the entire range of air-to-air missiles,” the source added.
As another source in the military-industrial complex had previously reported to RIA Novosti that special mock-ups and individual full-size elements of the bomber were created and they underwent a series of bench tests to assess the level of radar signature. Among other things, it was confirmed that, with the use of certain tactics, the PAK DA will be able to evade the advanced air defense lines of NATO countries.
Tupolev PAK DA is Proposed long-range next generation plane being developed by the Tupolev design bureau will have a variety of functions. It will be configured as a bomber, command center or a reconnaissance plane.
The PAK DA bomber is expected to make its first flight in 2025-2026 and begin to be batch-produced in 2028 or 2029. The plane will undergo trials at the Flight Test and Development Center in the town of Zhukovsky outside Moscow.
PAK DA is designed to replace Tu-22M3, Tu-95MS and later Tu-160 bombers. It is expected to coexist with Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bomber that will remain a cutting-edge plane for 40 years, as per the Russians. The serial production of Tu-160M2 bombers should begin in 2023. Work on PAK DA was rescheduled for bringing the Tu-160 M2 Blackjack bomber project into fruition.