Mach 7.5 engine? what about that GarryB in your "too expensive" for Russia to go for
Did you even read the article?
Having a Hydrogen powered scramjet that produces positive thrust at Mach 7.5 is one thing... having that same engine installed on an actual bomber and producing enough positive thrust to keep the actual bomber in flight at mach 7.4 is something else. Converting the aircraft to hydrogen fuel alone would be complicated and expensive.
The people need to open the mid to very significant improvements from the Tu-160 to the Tu-PAK-DA. We will see all the technological improvements of 40 years in a single step.
But you also need to be realistic, the heat barrier needs to be addressed... having a scramjet engine is just the first step... you need new materials that will withstand an entire operational career of heating to thousands of degrees every flight... for a missile that is no problem because they only need to withstand that heat for an hour at most and then they will be destroyed... an aircraft needs to withstand those temperatures over and over again for hours at a time.
I think the best we can expect is a rocket scramjet powered cruise missile that is say 5 tons at launch that starts by being launched at medium to high altitude 5,000km from the target. Once launched its rocket will accelerate it to high subsonic speed but more importantly will allow it to climb to high altitude where the ramjet will take over and long range cruise wings will deploy.
As it burns it large store of fuel it will get faster and accelerate to transsonic and then supersonic speeds and when it is say 2,000km from the target it could drop its large cruise wings and its cluster of four external fuel tanks which would now be empty and it can go to full throttle on its scramjet and rapidly accelerate to mach 7 or so as it approaches enemy territory. Reduced weight and reduced drag should greatly improve acceleration at this point and the sudden increase in speed will make interception by F-15 or F-35 or even F-22 pointless as none of them could hope to intercept a mach 7 target.
When your cruise missiles are hypersonic there is no benefit to having bombers also hypersonic, though having hypersonic interceptors would be useful and worth developing too.
Do not expect small changes. We will see very important improvements. Hipersonic speed? Maybe.
Supercuising would be an enormous leap forward for bombers... it would dramatically increase flight performance without the increased cost and range reduction of having to use ABs for supersonic speed. Most current and projected non Russian interceptors would have difficulty intercepting a mach 1.6 bomber as they would have to use full AB to keep up which burns through fuel rapidly.
Actually judging by reports from last few years PAK-DA will be subsonic. Flying wing designs cant be super/hypersonic by default anyways.
I agree, though the subsonic limitation is because they don't have tail surfaces to deal with cg changes at transonic speeds so the tailed flying wing models shown could be supersonic... but their leading edge sweep is not sharp enough for hypersonic speeds...
Is it PAK-DA ?
I doubt the design is even finalised yet.
Most common render tho is this one and alike:
That is not an artists design, that is the T-4MS and was rejected in favour of the Tu-160 design.
This one comes from the Tu-4MS project.
Close. It is the T-4MS design... a Sukhoi design.
In the US would be very happy if this is true. After 40 years Russia going one step back...
First of all who cares what the US thinks.
Second, a conservative cheap subsonic or super cruising flying wing bomber, together with a sophisticated supersonic evolution of the Tu-160M2 sounds pretty good to me... capable, flexible, and affordable. With subsonic stealthy cruise missiles and hypersonic cruise missiles these bombers will be excellent defenders of Russia for decades to come.
I think you are getting too short in your expectation. Do you think Russia needs about a decade of research and development to make a subsonic strategic bomber?
Money is currently a bit tight, but I think you are underestimating the Russians... they don't need a hypersonic first strike bomber... they need one they can afford to put into service in large enough numbers to be an effective deterrent. Actions in Syria suggest they might even use them operationally in a conventional role.
We can not be talking seriously about the new Tu-PAK-DA having lower performance and capabilities than the current Tu-160. Russia has not designed a subsonic strategic bomber since 1959, only some version of previous designs. Russia is designing supersonic strategic bombers even before this data. I do not expect Russia returning back to subsonic strategic bombers after 65 years (in 2024).
The Tu-160 does not fly its entire mission to the continental US at supersonic speed... it would fly most of the way subsonic and have a 2,000km dash over the north pole to deploy subsonic cruise missiles and then a long subsonic flight home.
Speed it not its key feature. Even at full speed... mach 2 it would have to fly at high altitude and would be detectable from very long range by Patriot batteries... its key advantage is that it can avoid major SAM and radar positions and launch its 5,000km range cruise missiles from undefended air space... a supersonic dash makes it safer from any F-22s or F-15s loitering in the area... if they are anywhere near there.
If they design the PAK DA to supercruise it will get to its launch position faster than the Tu-160, but if it is subsonic that means they can give it much longer range and much larger internal weapons bay to carry rather more weapons and more bulky weapons like hypersonic missiles with external fuel tanks.
The Pak DA wont be faster than Tu-160, but it should have different advantages like a much larger conventional weapons payload... say 4 or 6 FOABS or 4 FAB-9000s or FAB-5000s. It can be stealthier and have radar sensor panels that cover 360 degrees with new photonic radars... it could be its own AWACS and JSTARS...
The new Tu-160M2 might supercruise and therefore be much harder to intercept by conventional interceptors and it might operate at much higher speed...
I have never been too impressed with the B-2 bomber, because when its radar hidding capabilities be surpased it becomes very very vulnerable and as consequence, severely outdated.
I agree but in its primary role a strategic bomber will be entering enemy airspace a few hours after that airspace has been devastated by ICBM and SLBM nuclear missile attack so any defences will be in disarray. Being able to attack your targets from a 5,000km standoff range also makes the mission much easier.
Why do you asume that will not be interceptors or SAMs surviving the first attack? It seems a weak asumption.
Because as it is there are not that many major SAM systems covering the US and even less in Canada... how many operational air bases would Russia need to target to ensure nothing is airborne to stop them?
Now ask yourself that SLBMs might be targeting...
Also the current strategic bombers are being used in conflicts where ICBMs are not being used. In fact strategic bombers never have been used in a war with ICBMs, then the most likely use of them is in conflicts where ICBMs have not been used.
Strategic bombers need to be designed first and foremost for their primary strategic role. Alternative conventional roles might be value added extras but the core role is strategic cruise missile carrier.
Time is THE most important factor for a strategic bomber, speed is very much a factor in time.
You need to tell this to the Americans then because they have gone backwards two times... with the B-1B being rather slower and smaller than the B-1, and the B-2 and now B-21 being slower still.
Strategic bombers are not first strike weapons... if you need fast then ICBM and SLBM are fast. Strategic bombers approach the edge of the enemies air space and launch 5,000km range cruise missiles to destroy population areas and anything that might have survived the first strikes by ballistic missiles.
the PAK DA will be subsonic or super cruising, but will carry hypersonic cruise missiles the enemies air defences wont be able to intercept.
To suggest such an aircraft will be obsolete is amusing when over the last few months subsonic Bear aircraft have successfully attacked ground targets with subsonic cruise missiles without being shot down... the difference is that the PAK DA should be able to carry more weapons further.