Apr. 15, 2014 Asian Defence News
Tupolev have completed the design of Russia's PAK-DA next-generation bomber aircraft, according to the head of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Mikhail Pogosyan.
Pogosyan made the remarks during a briefing with the Russian aerospace press, according to individuals familiar with the presentation who briefed IHS Jane's on the details. He is understood to have confirmed that the "on-paper" design of the PAK-DA has now been completed by the Tupolev design bureau.
The PAK-DA project will now transition into an intermediate phase between the completion of the aircraft's design and prototype construction, with the beginning of fabrication of some of the component modules for the aircraft.
Despite speculation about whether the PAK-DA will be of a flying-wing design, Pogosyan declined to discuss details of the aircraft's configuration. UAC, which holds the contract for the PAK-DA programme, has overall responsibility for the design of the new bomber. However, the programme is being developed by UAC's new subsidiary formed by the merger of the Tupolev design bureau and the KAPO production plant in Kazan.
Meanwhile, the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter continues to add more flight test aircraft to the programme, with five prototypes now undergoing validation flights. One more prototype will be delivered for the flight test schedule in 2014 and then two more in 2015. In 2016 the programme is scheduled to begin a low rate of deliveries to operational units, but this is still open to change due to a lack of any concrete facilities within the Russian Air Force (VVS) for the testing of some of the aircraft's performance parameters.
Because of the phased introduction into service and the number of improvements being planned beyond the original configuration the T-50 is probably headed for a very long service life. Projections are, said Pogosyan, that it would be in service well after 2050.
Pogosyan is also understood to have confirmed that the slow pace of the introduction of the T-50 PAK-FA fighter means that the Sukhoi Su-35S 'Flanker-E' will be the backbone of the VVS for the foreseeable future. Pogosyan envisages that as a result, the Su-35S, and later derivatives, will remain in production for at least another decade for the VVS. Of the 48 Su-35S aircraft on order, 12 have been delivered so far, with a further 12 planned in 2014 and 14 in 2015. As a result, several additional Su-35S batches are expected to be procured to replace Su-27 and Su-30 models that are being retired, as PAK-FA aircraft will not be able to replace these older models on a one-for-one basis.
He also reiterated a previous position that there was no immediate Russian requirement for a lightweight fighter to replace the MiG-29 'Fulcrum'. For now the Mikoyan design team will focus on advanced derivatives of the MiG-35, but that a single-engine fighter requirement potentially exists "somewhere in the future".