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MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. The first experimental prototype of Russia’s next-generation strategic bomber abbreviated as PAK DA is expected to be developed in the early 2020s and the relevant contract has been signed, a source in the country’s defense industry told TASS on Thursday.
The first stage of the R&D work on the new strategic bomber was completed in 2016, the source said.
"Now we are switching to the second stage: the development of design documentation and further on - the manufacture of the aircraft’s experimental prototypes. The military has signed a contract for the fulfillment of works at this stage with the United Aircraft-Building Corporation. The first experimental prototype is expected to be manufactured in the early 2020s," the source said.
The aircraft will be based on the flying wing design and "other schemes are not being considered or discussed. This is the sole and the approved version," the source said.
TASS does not have official confirmation of this information.
Another source in the Russian defense industry earlier told TASS that Tupolev Aircraft Company had already made a full-size wooden mockup model of the PAK DA and also several smaller mockups of composite materials.
The Perspective Airborne Complex of Long-Range Aviation (PAK DA) is a Russian next-generation strategic bomber being developed by the Tupolev aircraft manufacturer. R&D work on the bomber started in 2009. The PAK DA will fly at subsonic speeds and carry weapons inside its body. The aircraft’s design will maximally use radar-absorbing materials (the stealth technology).
The bomber was initially planned to start arriving for the Russian Armed Forces in 2023-2025 and the first test flights were scheduled for 2019-2020. It emerged later that the bomber’s development had been rescheduled due to the resumed serial production of the Tu-160 strategic missile carrier.
The first flight of the PAK DA experimental prototype is planned for 2025.