TechRostec gears up for PAK DA testing. New Russian bomber could replace aging fleet despite challenges

Rostec gears up for PAK DA testing. New Russian bomber could replace aging fleet despite challenges

PAK DA - one of the visualizations
PAK DA - one of the visualizations
Images source: © Licensor

7:39 AM EST, December 14, 2023

The PAK DA, also known as the Prospective Aviation Complex for Long-Range Aviation, is a new Russian strategic bomber project. This flying wing configuration aircraft resembles the American B-21 Raider aircraft and is anticipated to have stealth features. The Tupolev Design Bureau is developing it.

As per Russian plans, the PAK DA is forecasted to replace the old Tu-22M3 and Tu-95MS aircraft. The new plane is projected to be in service "before 2027", which considering the current pace of progress, seems highly unlikely.

Nevertheless, work on the PAK DA continues, as confirmed by the latest update from Rostec. They report the completion of construction on all stations used for testing both the new aircraft and its individual components.

Introducing the PAK DA - a new Russian strategic bomber

The exact technical specifications of the new aircraft are yet to be disclosed. The PAK DA is expected to carry roughly 66,000 pounds of armaments, accommodate a four-person crew, and be powered by four engines. These engines will be an advanced version of the NK-32-02 engines used in the Tu-160 bomber. The aircraft is designed to be a subsonic machine.

As noted by the Defence 24 service, the projected PAK DA development schedule appears unrealistic. The Russian aerospace industry is facing challenges regarding technical components like stealth solutions and financing for this ambitious program, especially amidst rerouted resources for currently needed MiG-35, Su-30SM2, Su-34M, and Su-35S aircraft production due to losses in Ukraine.

PAK DA - one of the visualizations
PAK DA - one of the visualizations© Licensor

Challenges with the PAK DA aircraft project

Maciej Szopa from Defence 24 indicated that when the PAK DA reaches production, due to its classification as a strategically important weapon, it may not achieve export success since it belongs to a class of exportable weapons.

This limitation may lead to the Russian program's failure. With a small-scale production aimed to produce around 50 units, the aircraft's potential entry into service might be postponed until the late 2030s. By that time, machines produced under current assumptions may already become outdated.

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