A new Russian stealth bomber design, developed under the codename PAK DA, was finalized and approved by Russian Defense ministry.
“The development of the program is in the phase of detailed design and several prototypes are being built,” an unnamed industry insider is quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
The aircraft, a flying wing design, is going to have stealth features, long range, and an emphasis on standoff weaponry.
The armament of the new bomber is said to consist of cruise and hypersonic missiles of various types. It is also going to carry a full range of air-to-air weaponry, command swarming drones, and be able to perform unmanned missions.
According to the insider, small-scale models of the aircraft as well as full-scale elements of its airframe were recently tested.
Tupolev has been developing the bomber since 2008. The work was frozen in 2012, but resumed shortly after. In 2014, Tupolev already announced that the design was finalized, and in 2017 – that a full-scale prototype was built. The latest information contradicts those statements.
In early 2020, Russian media announced that the construction of the first prototype commenced, to be finished in 2021. Russian defense ministry has ordered production of three prototypes to be tested between 2023 and 2025.
The aircraft is expected to enter into service by 2027 and replace the current fleet of Tu-95 strategic bombers.