MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. Russia’s PAK FA (Perspective Aviation Complex of Frontline Aviation) fighter jets (T-50) will start arriving for the country’s Armed Forces in 2019 while the deliveries of the most advanced S-500 surface-to-air missile systems will begin in 2020, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday.
"The deliveries of T-50 perspective frontline aviation platforms from 2019 and S-500 air defense missile systems in 2020 will raise the efficiency of fighting modern aerospace attack means," the defense minister said in the upper house of Russia’s parliament.
The implementation of the plans that have been mapped out will create a reliable barrier to "an instant global strike" by an enemy and ensure non-nuclear containment of any hi-tech aggressor, the Russian defense minister said.
"As a whole, the pace that has been gained will allow accomplishing the task set by the president of the Russian Federation and reaching the level of the Armed Forces’ armament with modern weaponry at no less than 70% by late 2020. This will allow Russia to keep its positions as the most developed state in military terms," the defense minister said.
The minister went on to say that the serial production of upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) strategic missile carriers is expected to begin after 2021.
"After 2021, we plan to begin the serial production of the modernized Tu-160M2 strategic missile carrier, which is capable of striking hostile ground objectives in remote strategic areas without entering the zones of operation of anti-ballistic missile and air defense systems," Shoigu said.
A source in the defense and industrial sector earlier told TASS that the serial production of the modernized Tu-160M2 missile carrier would begin in 2020 and two-three such aircraft were planned to be produced each year.
The idea to restart the production of Tu-160 bombers in their upgraded version was put forward by Russian Defense Minister Army General Shoigu in April 2015 during his visit to the Kazan aircraft enterprise, part of the Tupolev aerospace company.
In May that year, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave instructions to resume the production of these aircraft. Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said in October 2016 that 50 such planes were planned to be produced.