The Russian government recently announced the construction of stealth bomber prototypes with the designation PAK DA.
Currently, the “three horse” race on stealth bombers between the US, Russia and China is taking place quietly, but no less fiercely; These countries all plan to operate new aircraft arrays within the next 9 years.
The United States is in the final stages of assembly with no less than five B-21 Raiders, putting the US at the forefront of the race to build the first new strategic stealth bomber since 1989.
Currently, the US is also the only country in the world that has both stealth bombers, as well as two different types of stealth fighters, the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II.
But America’s lead in stealth aviation is beginning to shake, the Modern air defense system from Russia like S-400 and S-500 makes the US stealth fighter and bombers vulnerable.
While the F-35 took too long to develop, and the F-35 is also the only stealth aircraft, entered service with the US Army during the Global War on Terror and the bomber stealthy B-2 Spirit, dating back to the Cold War, still has no replacement aircraft.
Taking advantage of the US being dragged into the war on terror, America’s top rivals, Russia and China, have made every effort to close the gap in US technological advantages, bringing stealth fighters their first flight with test flights in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Currently, both Russia and China have stealth bomber programs under development and, according to government statements, the Russian PAK DA program is slightly earlier than the Chinese H-20; Russian bombers are expected to enter service in 2027 and China’s before the end of the decade.
The PAK DA is designed to perform as a stealthy, long-range strategic bomber for the Russian Air Force. However, the tactical features of PAK DA still do not really exist; and all analysis of this aircraft is conjecture.
According to Russian news agency TASS, the new bomber will use the same flying wing design as the US B-2 Spirit and B-21 Raider; In the PAK DA design, Russia will abandon the supersonic design, but only a subsonic aircraft, with a large payload capacity, including cruise missiles, precision-guided bombs, and hypersonic missiles.
So far, Russia has completed the construction of a wooden PAK DA model the size of a real airplane. Several smaller, composite models have also been built for wind tunnel testing.
Last month, Russia announced that the construction of the first prototype PAK DA, with a plan to start test flights in 2023, entering service in 2027 can be done as planned.
The US continues to demonstrate its ability to be at the forefront of stealth bomber development. After the B-2 stealth bomber clearly demonstrated its power, it did not stop at this success, the US continued to develop a new generation of stealth bombers with the designation B-21.
Although the size of the B-21 is somewhat smaller than the B-2 and the number of weapons it carries is only half, its stealth capabilities are superior. Currently, the B-21 prototypes are in the production line.
The US Air Force is expected to hold the first test flight of the B-21 series in December this year. However, this plan has been delayed for a few reasons, the aircraft can only be shipped in early 2022 and the first flight will take place in the middle of next year.
When the B-21 enters service, they will gradually replace the tasks that B-2 and B-1B are undertaking, in the role of attacking to break into the enemy’s dense defense network, to launch airstrikes, and destroy important goals.
H-20 stealth strategic bomber developed by China; According to British newspaper The Sun, the H-20 has a range of over 11,000 km. With such a range, the H-20 can attack targets on US territory without needing to refuel.
China announced its development plan for the H-20 from 2016, with a test flight expected in 2021. Chinese media reported that the H-20 can carry 45 tons of weapons, including nuclear weapons, cruise missiles, or hypersonic missiles developed by China.
The H-20 development program is part of a plan to expand the range of bombers currently in service with the Chinese Air Force. This is the grand strategy of the Chinese leadership, with the ambition to possess the ability to “strike on a global scale”.
Beijing-based military expert Tong Zhongping said the H-20 was designed “to reach the US territory”; Along with ground-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles and ballistic missile nuclear submarines, the H-20 will be an important vehicle in China’s nuclear triad.