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Russia and US develop new strategic bomber projects - part 2

Building specialised machines for use of one particular type of munition, as during the cold war, is way too costly today. So the possibility of using a variety of weapons, both nuclear and non-nuclear, will be envisioned in both cases from the start. The Russian bomber, judging by some data, will have a payload of up to 30 tons, which, in association with a spacious weapons bay must ensure different operational options, including the launch of heavy supersonic anti-ship missiles, plus attachment of different auxiliary equipment for performance of reconnaissance and electronic warfare missions.

Russia and US develop new strategic bombers projects part 2 Tupolev PAK DA (Picture source: Youtube)

As for the classical armaments, the latest of them will probably be long-range Kh-101/102 cruise missiles (and their follow-on derivatives). The entire currently existing variety of air-to-surface weapons, including guided munitions weighing 250 to 500 kg, will be placed below. Those can be used simultaneously and in large numbers, ensuring effective engagement of several targets at a time at the enemy’s particularly important facilities.

Also, B-21 must perform different missions for which purpose, in addition to strike options, it must have the capability of carrying additional modules with equipment for performance of ECM, communications, various reconnaissance and target designation. Such an approach is justified given that it assures an efficient use of quite costly aircraft. According to Yermakov, the US has transformed the strategic bomber to a global means of non-nuclear strike delivery. The Russian approach to this type of machine is roughly similar.

It should be noted, however, that even though both machines are being created on the basis of rather similar approaches to the concept of strategic aviation, this is done under different military and political circumstances and with invariably different tasks and goals. It is obvious that the new Russian bomber, like the bulk of Russia’s post-war aircraft of this class, will be tasked, among other things, with fighting warships, which is an unlikely mission for the US aircraft.

A significant issue is stealth and flight characteristics of both machines. Even though in the last decades the stealth does not imply necessarily low flight performance of the craft, certain compromises are unavoidable. It will be interesting to know which line the designers in the two counties decided to pursue. Anyway, nobody should rest on laurels, at least due to the fact that an indigenous bomber of this generation is also being developed by China, the Izvestia newspaper reports.

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