Perhaps any lower speed Pak Da can replace the Bears.
We don't really know if its a subsonic, or a Mach 1.5 to 2.0 tops plane.
Speed costs money and burns fuel and makes a plane bigger than it needs to be.
Very high speed makes planes very expensive to buy and operate.
Having said that a new type of engine can open options that were not previously even dreamed of.
For instance a fully developed 5th gen version of the 25 ton thrust NK-32 that perhaps generates 30-35 tons of thrust starts to get interesting... the Tu-160 was developed during a period where long range low speed cruise and high dash speed required a swing wing as a solution. These days different wing shape options are now available so that the weight and complexity of swing wing is no longer needed.
A ramjet is a hollow tube through which air passes... fuel is added and burned creating thrust. A scramjet is just the same thing but where the fuel is burned at supersonic speed so it can operate at very high flight speeds without sophisticated intakes that slow the incoming air to make it subsonic.
Fitting a slightly enlarged Tu-160 with a fixed wing shape of a more sophisticated design with two NK-xxs with 35 tons thrust with the space between then used as scramjets able to operate at very high speed offering high thrust performance would be very interesting.
The NK-xx engines would be used to get airborne and as the aircraft accelerates and climbs the scramjets can be started to boost power and speed.
The main issue is that hypersonic speed would require brand new structure materials and surface skins that can resist high speed flight for very long periods.
Personally I prefer the large flying wing with a horizontal tail surface... actually something that looks like the F-23 but with the cockpit pushed back to the wing... the wing greatly enlarged and the entire aircraft enlarged and the tail surface flattened so the whole aircraft is flat. Thrust vectoring would be used for stabilisation. The horizontal tail surface would allow supersonic flight as it needs an ability to shift its cg as it accelerates through the speed of sound.
Could still have NK-xx engines and scramjet engines but instead of hypersonic speed I would go for supercruising at mach 2.2-2-6... this would allow the aircraft to move around rapidly... would make it rather difficult for current and planned aircraft to intercept it but not require exotic new materials.
The aircrafts primary weapons will be very long range cruise missiles including stealthy ones and hypersonic models.
Stealth of the bomber would not be critical as it is a stand off attack aircraft in the strategic role and would be supported in theatre missions by jammers and other platforms and could carry a very heavy guided bomb load over short distances with a reduced fuel load...
This should result in a lower cost but still very viable bomber aircraft that could replace the Tu-95, Tu-160, Tu-22M3 and also the Tu-142 MPA... and if it has very very long range and can supercruise all that way at mach 2.6 then it could be used as a replacement for the Mig-31.
It could even be considered as a commercial airliner for long range flights.
Once hypersonic flight is perfected with cruise missiles then I would look at using such engines in bombers and fighters.
Ofcourse it means Russia spending more on planes, but probably means it can spend less on subs, ships and ICMBs etc in this area.
Hopefully having one type replacing a range of aircraft types they will actually be saving money rather than spending more.
I wonder what could be done with an enlarged Pak Fa, with buddy refuelling, for rapid response long range attacks? (I know its payload would be relatively tiny.. but its stealth and its fast).
Might be useful some time down the line as a Su-34 replacement would would hardly replace the Tu-22M3 let alone a real strategic aircraft.
Keep in mind that the bomber is likely to get through because by the time it gets there all the SLBMS and ICBMs will already have smashed the enemy.
The huge benefit of the bombers is that they can be used in conventional wars and can also be deployed but also called back so you can threaten by putting them on alert and even getting them into the air without actually committing to anything.
Then the true Tu-160 replacement will be some sort of prompt global strike, hypersonic plane, which will be arriving later...?
That could work too... perhaps the replacement for the Tu-160 is a big slow flying wing that can carry a huge hypersonic missile on its back that can fly 10,000km at mach 5.
That will not happen because Russia is making efforts to restart production of the Tu-160's motors; a reworked version, the NK-32M, which will have a longer lifetime. A greatly improved gas generator has been bench tested successfully and production examples will be available by 2016 .
I have said before this would be worth it... developing a new next gen bomber engine means they can upgrade their Tu-160s and Tu-22M3s and perhaps even fit two to their Bears if they wanted...
Even just minor upgrades will improve performance of existing aircraft.