Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Russia to Fly PAK-DA Stealth Bomber in 2019; wants China’s Involvement


(Photo : Tupolev) Russia's PAK-DA strategic stealth bomber.

Russia is again expected to try to get China to invest in its new Tupolev PAK-DA strategic stealth bomber capable of launching nuclear weapons from space.

Russia first made investment overtures to China in 2014 but seems to have been turned down. The need for Chinese investment is now even more pressing as Russia is facing a severe cash crunch as a result of crippling economic sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2014.

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Russia, however, sees its new strategic bomber as so important President Vladimir Putin commanded work begin on PAK DA despite the complex technology requirements and funding problems. The PAK DA project was almost cancelled in 2012 due, in part, to funding deficiencies.

Analysts said China might want to invest this time since none of China's Xi'an H-6 strategic long-range bombers (the equivalent of the U.S. B-52) are capable of reaching the continental United States. The H-6 has a range of 3,600 kilometers while the distance from Beijing to Washington D.C. is 11,000 km.

PAK DA, which will replace both the turboprop-powered Tupolev Tu-95 "Bear" and the supersonic Tupolev Tu-160 "White Swan" strategic bombers, is being developed by the Tupolev Design Bureau. PAK DA stands for "Perspektivnyi Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Dal'ney Aviatsii" literally, "prospective aviation complex for long-range aviation."

This next-generation strategic bomber is expected to enter service with the Russian Air Force from 2025 to 2030. First flight of the flying wing is scheduled for 2019. PAK DA will fly at subsonic speeds but a hypersonic version might be developed.

PAK DA will be equipped with advanced precision guided weapons, including hypersonic weapons.

In its hypersonic version, PAK DA will be capable of launching nuclear weapons from space and can reach any part of the globe in one or two hours, said Colonel Alexei Solodovnikov, Representative of the Military Academy of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces.

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