While the US and China are preparing to conduct test flights of new-generation strategic bombers B-21 and H-20, the Russian PAK DA has not yet been seen.
In July 2019, the construction of the first prototype of America’s latest generation strategic stealth bomber – the B-21 Raider took place. On June 8, 2021, the representative of the US Air Force told the House of Representatives that prototype creation was completed at the Northrop Grumman plant in Palmdale, California, the B-21 is expected to make its first flight in the year 2022.
The U.S. Air Force’s B-21 bombers (estimated at $550 million each, excluding research costs) are expected to reach initial readiness in 2030 and become operational. full by 2035. The first batch of B-21 bombers are expected to be stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. They will then be deployed at Whiteman Base in Missouri and at Dyce AFB in Texas.
According to the most conservative estimate, the US Air Force will buy about 100 bombers of this type. Some experts believe that more than 200 B-21s will be equipped to significantly increase the number of strategic bombers.
The B-21 Raider will have an intercontinental range to strike targets anywhere in the world. They will replace the swing-wing supersonic B-1B Lancer and stealthy B-2 Spirit, the B-21 will serve with the B-52H – which is approaching 100 years old by then.
However, if the B-1B and B-2 were created to overcome Soviet air defenses, the main task of the B-21 would be to break through the defense network to neutralize the nuclear facilities. on the territory of Russia, China, or a potential future adversary.
In order to compete with the US, the Chinese in turn are developing the H-20 strategic bomber, while Russia is investing in the PAK DA (now receiving the official designation Poslanhik).
Currently, the H-20 prototype form has been around for some time, while the Russian program is clearly behind its American and Chinese rivals (the first prototype began to be built in May 2020).
At the moment Russia is producing the Tu-160M supersonic strategic bomber, which is equipped with the most powerful aviation engine among all military aircraft in the world. The United States and Russia are the only two countries that have deployed long-range intercontinental bombers.
China has one of the largest bomber fleets in the world, but the H-6s are designed exclusively for military operations within a limited range of operations, with a focus on East Asia. clearly inferior to American and Russian products.
However, with its growing scientific, technical and financial potential, the vast gap can be quickly filled by China, especially when the positive signs from the H-20 are very clear.
As for Russia, PAK DA currently only exists in the form of models and graphics, before the actual situation, it is clear that it will finish far behind the US and China, especially when Moscow has not shown that they are capable of mastering it. new concept engine manufacturing technology.
In the future war, the high speed of Tu-160M or Tu-22M3M will be ineffective against modern air defense complexes, so Russia needs a means of stealthy penetration like PAK DA to strike destructive attack.
Clearly, the delay compared to the two major rivals shows that Russia’s position as the world’s second largest military superpower is being challenged.