Russia has built a digital design of the PAK DA strategic bomber, according to United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) official Sergei Korotkov.
Speaking to Tass News Agency, Korotkov said,
“The entire world is developing along the path of digitizing systems and modelling aviation complexes that make it possible not simply to get some drawing but to work with the digit throughout the life cycle: from creating a digital model to operational characteristics or systems. We are also following this path. The digital model is available. Moreover, the United Aircraft-Building Corporation has switched to a single information system.”
The single information system improves coordination between UAC subsidiaries.
“It is not important whether this is Tupolev, Sukhoi or MiG: everyone is working in a single information space. A team of engineers-designers available at enterprises works not only for itself but also for the enterprises that are integrated into the United Aircraft Corporation,” said Korotkov.
Sources told Tass earlier in the year that physical mockup models have been built, as well. Russian officials have previously stated that a design for the PAK DA would be displayed this year, without specifying.
The PAK DA is a next-generation strategic bomber under development in Russia. While Moscow initially planned to begin acquiring the bomber starting in 2023, the program has been delayed. Currently, Russia expects a prototype bomber to make its first flight in 2025, with serial production possible for 2028.
The cost associated with the development of the advanced bomber is believed to be a factor in the delay. Given a tighter financial outlook for the coming years, Russia has opted to restart production of the Tu-160 — in a newly modernized version, called the Tu-160M2 — for delivery to the Russian Aerospace Forces.
Production of the first Tu-160M2 prototype is slated for this year, while serial production is currently scheduled for 2022. Russia may build 2 to 3 annually thereafter.
In addition to developing modernized versions of the bombers, Russia is upgrading those currently in service.
Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said while touring the Kazan aircraft manufacturing plant recently, “All 16 Tu-160 planes in service will undergo a 100-percent, deep, modernization…In addition, Tu-22M3 [Backfire] bombers will be upgraded, as well.”