The PAK DA, the first Russian stealth bomber, is already in the process of producing prototypes, revealed the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dennis Manturov.
“The aggregate assembly of prototypes is underway at the production site itself,” he told Interfax in an interview.
Considered as a flying wing, the aircraft is developed by Tupolev and is expected to carry out its inaugural flight between 2025 and 2026. Entry into service is scheduled for the end of this decade.
After being asked if the PAK DA would be superior to the Northrop-Grumman B-21 Raider, which is being developed by the US Air Force, Manturov stated, “Obviously, we set the task of creating aircraft with capabilities superior to those of other countries.”
Government minister Putin said that at the moment the program is in the transition phase between the completion of the project and the submission of documentation to the factory.
The stealth bomber is one of Russia’s main projects and will replace the old Tu-95, Tu-22M3 and Tu-160. Although it is subsonic, the PAK DA will have a greater weapons capacity than the supersonic ‘Blackjack’, says the country’s press.
Manturov also commented on the program of the Tu-160M, a modernized variant of the cold war bomber. Equipped with new NK-32 engines and more modern avionics, the Tupolev aircraft is in flight tests with an adapted model.
The first series-production Tu-160M, however, should be completed in 2022, the minister said.