A new-generation Tu strategic bomber will be developed by 2017, Russian aircraft maker Tupolev said on Wednesday.
Company President Alexander Bobryshev told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the research on the new aircraft project should be completed by 2012, while production-line assembly should start in 2020 to 2025.
However, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, commander of Russia's strategic aviation said on Tuesday a new strategic bomber, which will use stealth technology, is expected to enter service in 2025-2030
He said the stealth technology will make "the new aircraft difficult to detect by radar, although it is impossible to make airplanes of this type completely invisible."
The new bomber will 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.
According to various sources, in addition to 16 Tu-160 bombers, the Russian Air Force currently has 40 Tu-95MS bombers and 141 Tu-22M3 bombers in service.
These aircraft will form the backbone of the Russian strategic aviation in the next decade following extensive modernization.
MOSCOW, December 23 (RIA Novosti)