Several prototypes of ‘PAK DA’ — Russia’s next-generation nuclear-capable stealth strategic bomber — are being manufactured simultaneously within the country for flight and ground tests, according to military sources.
Codenamed Poslannik, the PAK DA (an acronym for Prospective Aviation Complex for Long-Range Aviation), is a next-generation missile carrier strategic bomber, which is being built by the Moscow-based aerospace giant, Tupolev, for the Russian Air Force.
The news of the parallel flight and ground tests of PAK DA prototypes has been confirmed by a source in Russia’s military-industrial complex. “Two or three objects are already being launched (into production) – for “statics”, for flight (tests),” said the source.
Reports suggest the PAK DA stealth bomber has been designed using the flying wing scheme, which means that the bomber will be a tailless fixed-wing aircraft with no definite fuselage. Its crew, payload, fuel, and equipment are all accommodated inside the main wing structure.
The bomber will complement and eventually replace the older Tupolev Tu-95 in Russia’s Air Force service.
The stealth bomber can travel at subsonic speed and is estimated to have an operational range of about 12,000 kilometers. It has been equipped with the newest communication and jamming equipment.
The new bomber reportedly possesses the ability to carry nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missiles along with air-to-air missiles for self-defense and air-launched hypersonic weapons.
The most significant feature of the aircraft is that its stealth technology enables it to reduce its radar visibility. While the prototypes of the bomber are undergoing tests, there has been no official comment from the United Aircraft Corporation, which is designing the bomber.