MOSCOW, August 12. /TASS/. The major design works on developing the advanced PAK DA strategic bomber are due to start after 2021, the commander-in-chief of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, Victor Bondarev, said on Wednesday.
"Currently, the design work on developing the PAK DA advanced long range aviation complex is being conducted by the Tupolev company under the contract with the Russian Defense Ministry," Bondarev said, adding that the major works will be implemented after 2021.
The new strategic bomber was earlier expected to perform its maiden flight in 2019 and become operational in the Russian Air Force approximately in 2023-2025. Its development has been postponed amid plans to resume series production of a Tu-160M2 bomber in 2023.
According to the commander, Russia's modernized Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) strategic bomber will enter service in Aerospace Defense Forces in 2021.
The Russian Air and Space Force is expected to receive no less than 50 new planes, which will enter into serial production in 2023.
The Russian Air Force currently operates about 15 Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) supersonic strategic bombers.