Russian PAK-DA bomber in doubt, says minister

Moscow
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Russia probably does not need the PAK-DA long-range manned bomber destined to replace the Tupolev Tu-160 and Tu-95 aircraft in service, according to deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin, who has special responsibilities for the military-industrial complex, told Russia's Izvestia that long-range aviation will not be revived in the "traditional sense" as part of the nation's strategic nuclear strike force.

"Look at the level of development of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defences: all these planes will never get near their targets," he added.

Little is known about the PAK-DA, other than that it is being designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau and will not be a heavily modified version of the Tu-160, as was suggested previously.

Late last year, long-range aviation commander Maj Gen Anatoly Zhikharev said the stealthy PAK-DA would be flown in prototype form around 2020, enter service in 2025 and feature new navigation, communications and electronic warfare equipment and other sensors.