The production of the Tu-160 is being restarted because the model remains the best Strategic Bomber worldwide, allowing still bigger development, and because Russia thinks they need more units of new strategic bombers befor the new Tu-PAK-DA can be ready for serial production.
The Russians have followed a clear policy of upgrading old stuff to their max point while at the same time working on the from scratch new design replacement.
It offers the best compromise because the new technology being developed for the new equipment can be used in the upgrade of existing types so it gets into service and tested making the new technology less of a risk while improving performance of the actual force in service.
The new factories to make the Blackjacks will be used to make the PAK DAs so the precision and performance of making them will likely be vastly superior to the manufacture of the existing Blackjack. New materials and production techniques can be used that didn't exist in the 1980s.
The T-90 was their best tank and so they upgraded it to T-90AM... they also upgraded their T-72s and T-80s, but when Armata MBTs and kurganets MBTs and Boomerang MBTs are ready those older upgraded types will go into reserve.
The technology from the new types will be used during the lifetime of the force to further upgrade the old models so if needed in 2025 a T-72BM8 wont have 1980s communications and optics and ammo.
It will be the same with the Strategic bombers.
Costs will be reduced and spread across rather more air frames to reduce operational costs.
Initially the existing types will get upgrades... the new engines for the new aircraft could be retrofitted to existing types to improve performance.
A gift of 16 Tu-22M4s with capacity to carry 10 Brahmos-M missiles would be an interesting offer for India...
The US instead has been giving wrongly more importance to stealth technologies over speed. On strategic bombers they decided to sacrifice totally the speed, leaving the aircraft in very poor features when the stealth advantage is lost by improvements on detection technologies. And now their stealth fighter is plagued of problems by poor performance vs other fighters except on stealth features. It is a logical consequence of their previous mistake.
I totally agree... and it has been an ongoing issue with US products.
But just a quick look at Russian tanks with NERA and APS and SHTORA and other layers of systems to defend the vehicle... the Russians like alternatives and use them together to each compliment each other.
The US would not keep a 73mm gun armed BMP and BMP-2 in service together... they prefer rigid standardisation... which is ironic really... NATO 223 rifle magazines are not even standardised... try an cheap crappy M16 mag in a Steyr AUG... Half of the problems with the SA80 was the cheap M16 mags...
The PAK DA will have been designed from scratch to be properly stealthy but they will also likely include Jamming and ECCM equipment and probably plasma stealth and photonic radar with active jamming and other features.
Note that the Tu-PAK-DA will not happen any time soom. You can expect expect less than 5 Tu-PAK-DA by 2030.
If they start producing them in the late 2020s they could probably bang out 10-20 by 2030 in addition to the 50-60 odd Tu-160s.
Also note that Russia is developping today the MiG-41, a fighter interceptor close to the features that I was exposing for a potential future anti-aircraft missile (as application of today's Surface-Surface missiles). The reality is going one step forward from what you see as impossible or unlikely.
The sophistication needed will make the MiG-41 rather more expensive than could be affordable if it was a missile.
It would also be rather more useful during peacetime and totally reusable.
Soviet airspace was not really covered good with radar stations. You remember Mathias Rust???
He started 1987 in Hamburg, flew over Finland and landed with a Cessna direct in Moskow, near to the red square. So it was in the 80ies possible to penetrate soviet airspace with a low flying and low observable aircraft. For this time (80ies) the B2 was good enough, if it avoided radar stations! The B2 was a first strike aircraft, speed was not needed!
If Rusts cessna had been a strike aircraft MiG-23s would have shot it down near the border. It was identified as a civilian aircraft and so the job of intercepting it was handed over to Mi-24 hinds which were sent to intercept.
Not exactly unusual as the Hind can fly faster than the cessna involved... I remember some balloons that were racing in europe that strayed off course and were shot down by Hinds... can't remember if they were Bulgarian or Hungarian...
Some guy died... very bad publicity.
Rust was no threat so was not intercepted by the PVO. A B-2 would be intercepted and shot down.
Hinds are not interceptors and have no radar and were not trained for the job of interception... so by the time they located him he had landed.
It's amusing to see how the stealth concept is dangled over the USSR/Russia as something beyond its ability even though the concept originated
in the USSR during the 1960s. The USSR had more than enough wide spectrum and multi-system detection capability in the 1980s to see the
B2 at every stage of its flight. The notion that it would fly into Soviet air space undetected is just whack and makes the USSR look like some
banana republic with a single 1950s monochrome radar system. This is obvious BS. Serbs managed to network some 1960s radars to bring
down the F-117A. Western racist chauvinists need to put the crack pipe of hubris down.
I remember in the late 1980s when we heard rumours about the B-2 and then claims it was going to be the great killer of Soviet Truck mounted ICBMs.
Of course the pathetic performance of the US in Iraq regarding Scud missile launchers led to such talk stopping immediately, though it was not until after the US got its hands on an S-300V that they switched to low level penetrations with their B-2s... makes you wonder why if they were so invisible...