Skip to comments.IN FOCUS: Russian's next-generation bomber takes shape
Posted on 10/16/2012 11:27:32 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
IN FOCUS: Russian's next-generation bomber takes shape
Confirmation came on the occasion of the Russian air force centennial celebrations in August. Addressing media, air force commander-in-chief Lt Gen Victor Bondarev revealed that development of a new strategic bomber, the PAK-DA, had commenced. Its name is a Russian acronym that approximates to "future aviation complex for long-range aviation", and the aircraft is intended to supplement and partially replace the Tupolev Tu-160s, Tu-95MSs and Tu-22M3s now forming the backbone of Russia's land-based strategic bomber fleet.
Touching on a recent meeting with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, during which long-term procurement issues were discussed, Bondarev happily observes that the air force enjoys priority in the current equipment purchase plans set out in the GPV-2020, the government's most recent defence procurement programme. Putin assured him that the air force will get everything on its wish list, and pledged support to the PAK-DA project.
"The defence ministry is working on a complete range of requirements for the PAK-DA, and after these are firmed up, the industry will be able to complete the technical shape of this aircraft", Bondarev says. Russia is also working on "strategic UAVs" as part of shaping "sixth-generation aircraft", which, according to Bondarev, will largely be unmanned and "with built-in intellect".
Lt Gen Anatoly Zhikharev, commander of long-range aviation, says PAK-DA flight testing will commence in 2022. An early design has been completed and accepted, and the industry is now doing full-scale research and development work on the aircraft.
Technical information on the new bomber remains scarce. It is not even known whether it would be supersonic or subsonic, manned or unmanned. The very fact that Russia is working on such an aircraft, however, is no surprise. Even during the worst years in its history, the Tupolev design house - which developed every big Russian bomber that has gone into series production since the Second World War - continued to work on new concepts and technologies, plentiful evidence of which can be seen in the company's museum. Among various models on display are a hypersonic strike aircraft, a spaceplane and the Tu-500 large unmanned strike vehicle. These and other aircraft began development after the Tu-160 went into production.
Besides, various Russian scientific institutions, among them TsAGI (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute), have been working on technologies of undoubted interest to designers working on the PAK-DA. In particular, TsAGI did intensive wind-tunnel testing on the Sova future hypersonic vehicle (capable of reaching a speed of Mach 5) and collaborated on domestic and European projects on future supersonic business jets, with the focus on sonic boom suppression and drag reduction.
According to Russian media reports, PAK-DA development began in earnest in 2010. Initial studies dated back to 2007, when the Russian air force handed Tupolev a set of technical requirements for a future long-range bomber. Funding for this project was allocated in the state defence budget of 2008 and was subsequently confirmed in GPV-2015 and then GPV-2020. In 2009 the defence ministry awarded Tupolev a three-year R&D contract to undertake concept studies and research that would facilitate shaping of the aircraft's aerodynamics and systems architecture.
In August this year the air force announced that it had approved an early design of the PAK-DA and that industry could go ahead with adapting the design "to various tactical and technical requirements". Cutting metal on technology demonstrators and/or development prototypes is expected in 2015, and series production around 2020. The first squadrons could then introduce the new type in 2025. However, industry sources suggest the new bomber can, realistically, be built no earlier than 2025, and that the development cycle could require at least 15-20 years.
Neither the PAK-DA concept nor its performance targets have been revealed in public. It may well be that the air force has not yet issued a final specification. What is known for sure is that PAK-DA must be able to fulfil various roles in all-out nuclear war or non-nuclear conflict, using a wide arsenal of precision-guided munitions (PGMs). As the defence ministry puts it, the PAK-DA must have a set of "combat capabilities of a new quality, to execute all-new methods of deterrence". In terms of construction, the new bomber will be built using advanced materials, including composites, and the stealthy aircraft will be designed from scratch. It will carry all-new weaponry specially developed for the aircraft.
Although not directly related to PAK-DA, an ongoing discussion in Russia about the need to develop a "second generation of hypersonic weapons" may have some relevance to the planned bomber. Compared to the "first generation" - such as the in-service Onix surface-strike missile and its Indian version, the BrahMos PJ-10 - the next generation will fly three or four times faster, at M10-12, speeds necessary to overcome modern air defences. But the nature of such weapons means high drag and fuel burn. A difficult-to-detect bomber could get superfast but short-legged missiles closer to the battleground.
As of mid-2012, the Russian air force had 66 combat-ready intercontinental bombers, not counting those undergoing repair and modernisation or on training duties. These comprised 11 Tu-160s and 55 Tu-95MS, with some 200 nuclear charges (although this fleet can carry more). The latter types are undergoing modernisation, which is centred on fitting them with new long-range subsonic cruise missiles. Most of these bombers were built in the 1980s and 1990s and have logged a relatively small number of flight hours. They could therefore remain in service until 2030-2040, and beyond, suggesting that the PAK-DA, if it arrives on time, may be deployed in different roles to those allocated to the Tu-95MS and Tu-160. Presumably, the air force will be more interested in a harder-to-detect bomber able to penetrate through modern air defences and suppress them.
By large, the Russian and US air forces' strategic bomber inventories are similar. Both services have three major types. The B-52H and Tu-95MS play the role of heavy lifters, able to take a huge load of cruise missiles - the Tomahawk and its Russian equivalents the Kh-55 and Kh-101 - and deploy them before getting within firing range of enemy anti-aircraft systems. Albeit very different technically, the B-2A and Tu-160 are both intended to penetrate strong air defences. Finally, there are the B-1B and Tu-22M3 swing-wing supersonic bombers. Views on their employment in wartime have changed dramatically since introduction into service. Today, they have more "tactical" duties than "strategic" functions.
The USA is working on the Long-Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B), but Russia is unlikely to copy this. Rather, Russia is likely to attempt something less expensive but still adequate as a means of strategic deterrence. Programme costs must be controlled to defend the PAK-DA from opponents in the defence ministry and other government departments. These opponents argue that nuclear submarines and land-based intercontinental missiles provide a more effective and cheaper solution, thus rendering the PAK-DA an unnecessary expense.
Should oil prices stay high, Russia will have enough petrodollar income to fund the PAK-DA and other expensive defence projects. But will the Russian military-industrial industry live up to expectations?
Another major aviation project, the PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter, has been experiencing technical problems with the powerplant and onboard systems. The Saturn Item 117 engine developed for the PAK-FA has suffered flame-outs, including one on the closing day of the 2011 MAKS air show. At the defence ministry's insistence, industry began working on a more advanced Item 129 model. If that proves up to expectations, it may also find way onto the PAK-DA.
Another major aviation project, the PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter, has experienced technical problems
In any case, powerplants still represent a big challenge. In-service bombers have been bedevilled by the low reliability of Kuznetsov engines, as well as spares shortages. At times, fleet readiness has dropped to 50-60%.
Russia is making efforts to restart production of the Tu-160's motors; a reworked version, the NK-32M, is said to be less faulty and have a longer lifetime. A greatly improved gas generator has been benchtested successfully, but some sources say that production examples will be available no earlier than 2016. Meanwhile, Russia has experienced troubles with relaunching into production the NK-12 turboprops powering the Tu-95 and is instead considering a retrofit of these with Ivchenko Progress D-27s developed for the Antonov An-70 airlifter.
The situation with the electronic equipment and avionics is similar. Initially, Tu-160 systems were faulty, and it took some 20 years to bring them up to scratch via a complete rework using modern microchips and computer boards. The first phase of modernisation and upgrade for the fleet of in-service Tupolev bombers will result in an extension of their lifetimes - up to 30 years in the case of the Tu-160. Subsequently, 10 of these swing-wing supersonic aircraft will be subjected to a second phase of modernisation, starting in 2016. The Russian air force has ordered the modernisation of 30 Tu-22M3s to be completed in the next eight years, and is considering extending the contract for 30 more.
Georgia managed to shoot down a Tu-22M in August 2008 during the war for Northern Ossetia, inflicting on the Russian air force its first loss of a nuclear-capable strategic bomber. Notably, the event also indicates that the Russian armed forces were willing to use of such weaponry in local conflicts.
According to the Red Star newspaper, the official publication of the Russian defence ministry, all of the Tu-160 commanders have an annual flight time of more than 100 flight hours, and Tu-95 crew members more than 200, while certain Tu-22M3 commanders manage to log more than 300 flight hours in a year. These newly released figures provide evidence of a considerable increase in flight time logged for the long-range aviation assets.
There is little doubt that the Russian air force will do all it can to keep its ageing Tupolev bombers in service for as long as possible. Meanwhile, questions remain as to whether and when the striving military-industrial complex will prove able to produce a worthy replacement in worthwhile numbers.
Russia has revealed details of its ambitious plan to upgrade its army over the next ten years, planning to spend US$650 billion on the project.
The unveiled large-scale plans of the Russian defense ministry propose the spending of vast sums of money up to 2020.
First and foremost, Russian defense will focus on the development of strategic nuclear weapons, construction of over 100 military vessels for Russian Navy, including construction of four originally French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, and the introduction into the Air Force of over 1,000 helicopters and 600 military planes, including fifth generation PAK-FA fighter.
Most of the military hardware will be equipped with next-generation weaponry.
China and Russia launched joint naval exercises Sunday in the Yellow Sea between the east coast of mainland China and the Korean peninsula.
Sixteen Chinese surface vessels and two submarines as well as four Russian warships will take part in the six days of drills. ...
China and Russia have conducted four bilateral and multilateral military exercises since 2005.
From the campaign trail, February 2008...
Obama Pledges Cuts in Missile Defense, Space, and Nuclear Weapons Programs
February 29, 2008 :: News
A video has surfaced of Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama talking on his plans for strategic issues such as nuclear weapons and missile defense.
The full text from the video, as released, reads as follows:
Thanks so much for the Caucus4Priorities, for the great work you've been doing. As president, I will end misguided defense policies and stand with Caucus4Priorities in fighting special interests in Washington.
First, I'll stop spending $9 billion a month in Iraq. I'm the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning. And as president I will end it.[not win it -etl]
Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending.
I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems.
I will not weaponize space.
I will slow our development of future combat systems.
And I will institute an independent "Defense Priorities Board" to ensure that the Quadrennial Defense Review is not used to justify unnecessary spending.
Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert [they are NOT on "hair-trigger alert" now -etl], and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenals.
You know where I stand. I've fought for open, ethical and accountable government my entire public life. I don't switch positions or make promises that can't be kept. I don't posture on defense policy and I don't take money from federal lobbyists for powerful defense contractors. As president, my sole priority for defense spending will be protecting the American people. Thanks so much.
Article: Obama Pledges Cuts in Missile Defense, Space, and Nuclear Weapons Programs:
That’s probably not sarcasm. 0bama’s leveling the playing field INTERNATIONALLY, ya know.. Necessary for the NWO dream where American ‘sovereignty’ is a thing of the past.
We are creating a new world, a balanced world. A new world order, a multipolar world, Chavez told reporters during a visit to Communist China, one of many. His new world order includes [RUSSIA], China, Iran,... and a significantly weakened United States, he explained.
Resurgent Communism in Latin America
by Alex Newman, March 16, 2010:
From the Russian News and Information Agency:
July 27, 2006
"'I am determined to expand relations with Russia,' Chavez, known as an outspoken critic of what he calls the United States' unilateralism, told the Russian leader, adding that his determination stemmed from their shared vision of the global order.":
From the Sino-Russian Joint Statement of April 23, 1997:
"The two sides [China and Russia] shall, in the spirit of partnership, strive to promote the multipolarization of the world and the establishment of a new international order."
"Joint war games are a logical outcome of the Sino-Russian Friendship and Cooperation Treaty signed in 2001, and reflect the shared worldview and growing economic ties between the two Eastern Hemisphere giants."
Obama: "We Welcome China's Rise"
CBS News ^ | January 19, 2011 | Stephanie Condon
Obama was talking with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev when neither of them realized that their conversation was being picked up by microphones. Here is what they said:
Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but its important for him to give me space.
Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you ...
Obama: This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.
Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.
This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility. That statement tells us much about the presidents mindset.
The specific mention of missile defense is worrisome enough. Mr. Obama has retreated from the missile defense plan that was negotiated with European allies during the George W. Bush administration. Apparently, he is signaling Moscow that he intends to retreat further. The clear implication from the presidents comments is that he cannot tell the American people before the election what he plans to do after the election.
In addition, there is the phrase on all these issues, implying more is at stake than just missile defense.
Article: Obama plans double cross on missile defense
When it comes to keeping America safe, we shouldnt be too flexible:
Russia's Medvedev hails "comrade" Obama
Associated Foreign Press (AFP) ^ | April 2, 2009 | Anna Smolchenko
"Russia's Dmitry Medvedev hailed Barack Obama as "my new comrade" Thursday after their first face-to-face talks"
April 1, 2009:
"Obama, Medvedev pledge new era of relations":
Regardless of the fact it was designed to carry Russian nuclear weapons to drop on my country, the slender planform of the TU-95 - even the later variant (with its bulged nose radome) pictured at the head of this article - makes it one of the most beautiful, large propeller-driven aircraft ever to fly.
This is just my opinion, of course.
The effort rests on the likely hood that there will be a Russia in 2022 or 2025.
The effort must be viewed in the light of jobs.
Russia has no manufacturing base worth damn and to create jobs and have an economy, Putin shovels the money from natural resources into the only industry he has, defense.
The problem with bombers is they don’t sell very well on the export market. Nevertheless, the effort keeps some people working and must be expanded.
Speaking of "shoveling" something, why don't you stop the friggin' BS. It's OBVIOUS the SOB is building up his military to go against us. They've said it themselves directly in various pacts with the ChiComs and others that they want to create a "New International Order".
"the United States needs to be restrained, and Russia is the country to do it"
Putin praises Cold War moles for stealing U.S. nuclear secrets
Reuters ^ | Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:04pm EST | Steve Gutterman
Vladimir Putin praised Cold War-era scientists on Thursday for stealing U.S. nuclear secrets so that United States would not be the world's sole atomic power, in comments reflecting his vision of Russia as a counterweight to U.S. power.
Spies with suitcases full of data helped the Soviet Union build its atomic bomb, he told military commanders.
"You know, when the States already had nuclear weapons and the Soviet Union was only building them, we got a significant amount of information through Soviet foreign intelligence channels," Putin said, according to state-run Itar-Tass.
"The were carrying the information away not on microfilm but literally in suitcases. Suitcases!"
Putin's remarks referred to the dawn of the Cold War more than half a century ago, but they echoed a message he has made loud and clear more recently: that the United States needs to be restrained, and Russia is the country to do it.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
"The two sides [China and Russia] shall, in the spirit of partnership, strive to promote the multipolarization of the world and the establishment of a new international order."
"I am determined to expand relations with Russia",' [Hugo] Chavez, known as an outspoken critic of what he calls the United States' unilateralism, told the Russian leader, "adding that his determination stemmed from their shared vision of the global order"
No it wasn't. According to "bert", it was designed to create jobs in Russia! LOL. Old KGB Putin only has the best of intentions.
Russian nuclear bombers in Cuba?
July 23, 2008
The media has been abuzz today at the prospect of Russian nuclear bombers being stationed in Cuba if the US goes ahead with plans for missile defense bases in Eastern Europe.
The story has riled the US enough that a US general has been wheeled out to tell the worlds press that any Russian attempt to build another nuclear base in Cuba would cross US red line.
The story broke earlier this week, when Russian newspaper Izvestia quoted an un-named source from within the Russian military. He told the Russian daily:
While they are deploying the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, our strategic bombers will already be landing in Cuba.
The quote hasnt been independently confirmed, but the Russian Defense Ministry added fuel to the fire when they refused to comment on the story.
The prospect of Russian nuclear forces being stationed in Cuba - which is, after all, only 90 miles from the US coast - would bring back some rather unpleasant memories for the US of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, where the Soviet Union under Nikita Kruschev launched an audacious and foolhardy bid to station nuclear missiles on the Caribbean island.
Russia to help Cuba modernize weaponry, train military
September 18, 2009
HAVANA, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Modernization of the Soviet-made military equipment and training of Cuban military personnel will be the focus of Russian-Cuban military cooperation in the near future, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Friday. Gen. Nikolai Makarov arrived on a working visit to Cuba on Monday, met with Cuban President Raul Castro and the country's military leadership, and visited a number of military installations.
"During the Soviet era we delivered a large number of military equipment to Cuba, and after all these years most of this weaponry has become obsolete and needs repairs," Makarov said.
"We inspected the condition of this equipment, and outlined the measures to be taken to maintain the defense capability of this country...I think a lot of work needs to be done in this respect, and I hope we will be able to accomplish this task," the general said.
Makarov said the Cuban request for assistance with training of military personnel will also be fully satisfied.
Although the Cuban leadership has repeatedly said it has no intention of resuming military cooperation with Russia after the surprise closure of the Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in 2001, bilateral military ties seem to have been improving following the visit of Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to Cuba in July last year.
A group of Russian warships, led by the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer visited Cuba in December last year during a Caribbean tour.
"the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century" -Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the collapse of the Soviet Union...
"World democratic opinion has yet to realize the alarming implications of President Vladimir Putin's State of the Union speech on April 25, 2005, in which he said that the collapse of the Soviet Union represented the 'greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.'
"'The Black Book of Communism,'; a scholarly accounting of communisms crimes, counts about 94 million murdered by the supposed champions of the common man (20 million for the Soviets alone), and some say that number is too low."
Forgetting the Evils of Communism: The amnesia bites a little deeper
By Jonah Goldberg, August 2008:
“makes it one of the most beautiful, large propeller-driven aircraft ever to fly.”
Unless you are inside of it.
Venezuela's Chavez welcomes Russian warships
Nov 25, 2008
LA GUAIRA, Venezuela Russian warships arrived off Venezuela's coast Tuesday in a show of strength aimed at the United States as Moscow seeks to expand its influence in Latin America. The deployment is the first of its kind in the Caribbean since the Cold War and was timed to coincide with President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Caracas the first ever by a Russian president.
More Yahoo search results for Russia and Venezuela connections:
From National Public Radio (NPR):
August 29, 2006
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been visiting countries such as China, Iran and Russia as part of an effort to build a 'strategic alliance' of interests not beholden to the United States. He considers the United States his arch enemy.":
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