"The military mentioned everything they could, including a strategic bomber, an operative and tactic missile-carrying bomber and even a long-range interceptor capable of launching space vehicles," Fedorov told the Russian news agency RNS.
The PAK DA project was launched in 2009. The new aircraft is being designed to replace all three bombers currently in service with the Russian long-range aviation, including the Tu-22M3 long-range bomber and the Tu-95 and Tu-160 (aka the White Swan) strategic bombers.
"Money is also taken into consideration in the development of the PAK DA. The Tu-160 is a masterpiece but it is extremely expensive. The new plane is expected to be cheaper but much easier in production. The preliminary design was approved and the decision was made to start building the aircraft," he pointed out.
The new bomber is expected to make its first flight sometime before 2021, with the first deliveries starting in 2023.
The aircraft will be capable of carrying air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles as well as conventional and smart-guided bombs. A 2016 report mentioned that the PAK DA was expected to have a range of 6,740 nautical miles. It will also be able to carry 30 tons of weapons.
"It is impossible to build a missile-carrying bomber invisible to radars and supersonic at the same time. This is why focus is placed on stealth capabilities. The PAK DA will carry AI-guided missiles with a range of up to 7,000 km. Such a missile can analyze the aerial and radio-radar situation and determine its direction, altitude and speed. We’re already working on such missiles," Bondarev was quoted as saying by the Russian newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta.
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