With regards to future bombers and CAS aircraft. We still have to see exactly which kind of aircraft the PAK-DA will be. If it is more of a tactical bomber, a dual engine with engines with NK-32 like performance, or a strategic bomber with quad engines. Since it is often claimed that it will replace the Tu-95, I suspect this will be a dual engine, but who knows.
Sorry I wandered off topic there... but on topic... imagine a flying wing PAK DA with enormous numbers of small glide bombs that are guided to individual targets, where the aircraft operates at higher than 15km altitude at subsonic speed scanning for targets on the ground with radar and optics, communicating with commanders on the ground or drones and sharing information and views from the airborne bombers various optical systems and radar to find targets on the battlefield in real time like the Su-25 used to but from a safe vertical distance where the only threats would be large SAMs that would be easier to spot and defend from than flying much lower with smaller missiles and ground fire able to hit you.
The new stealth bomber would be a difficult target radar guided missiles and IR guided missiles too, but EW equipment should be good and self defence small AAMs could defeat enemy AAMs and SAMs that might threaten.
We have already seen with drones that the real problem is that there are only so many drone operators and so many targets so a solution is using AI to find and categorise targets with the human just deciding on the kill or not... such systems would allow a drone swarm to rapidly take down an enemy force by killing individual soldiers one at a time with little or no human intervention... a similar system on a strategic bomber on a theatre bomber mission allowing hundreds of tiny guided bombs with 1-2kgs of explosives designed to kill one or two people could be released over an enemy formation to wreak havoc and not just all hit one person or nothing.
I suspect the requirement to store theatre level bomb loads which would include the FOABs, as well as a range of rather big strategic cruise missiles 11m long and the internal fuel to fly to a useful launch position is going to require four engines but no ABs, and perhaps fitting them with thrust vectoring nozzles could be justified by allowing it to trim its flight angle allowing the lowest drag and maximum lift performance at any given flight speed would make the extra weight and complication worth it.
Its primary role is replacing the Bear, but replacing the Backfire as a bomb truck is supposed to be a secondary role too AFAIK.
I would think four engines but with no AB would allow excellent range and decent internal capacity for weapons and fuel.
I would think in terms of an anti shipping role that a naval version of the PAK DP would be more suitable and effective where speed and decent range would compliment its ability to deliver effective ordinance on any threats... right now the MiG-31K is probably more effective than the Tu-22M3 in the anti ship role despite the Kh-22M and Kh-32.
But the frontline tactical bomber or CAS role will be done by drones like the Grom or the Okhotnik.
The CAS role as performed by the Su-25 equated to eyes in the sky up close with direct fire weapons... the advantage was that it was there on the front line and could see the enemy in real time and hit them with bombs and rockets and cannon fire there and then with no delay for the enemy to run away or hide.
The power of air defence has meant even an armoured bathtub is no longer cutting it and standoff guided weapons like LMUR and Hermes and even Lancet type weapons are becoming useful.
Lofting rockets from a distance makes the aircraft safer but it no longer sees what it is shooting at so what do you do... replace the eyes on target with high flying drones, or M-55 type aircraft to patrol looking for targets to hit in real time, but such platforms can't carry enough weapons to deliver a killing blow on enormous numbers of targets so do you use a drone swarm, or fighters like MiG-35s with standoff weapons, or combinations of all of the above.
The M-55 and MiG-35s could use radar and optics in pods and other equipment to share information and communicate with troops on the ground to help find targets to hit or friendlies to not hit.
As I mentioned some large airship could carry sensors and weapons in the form of gliding bombs... make it from super light composite materials and have it operating at 30km altitude with fuel cell technology allowing hydrogen lifting gas and ballast water to be created back and forth as needed... you could fit it with all sorts of glide bombs and other smart weapons to defend itself and to find targets... the top half could all be solar panels, or some nuclear battery of some sort... it could contain radars 100m across or extremely low frequency radars, and other electronic sensing equipment... it could control drones, be a communications relay in places where there is no other communication.
At worst it could be a transport platform able to carry enormous payloads from where they were made to where they are needed... a hydro electric dam for instance... a 200 ton generator in one piece from factory to the building it will be installed in... take off the roof and install it in place...
The Su-30 was initially designed as an air superiority aircraft. The second crewman was meant to operate the radar and weapons.
Yes, the PVO were using it like a slower but longer ranged MiG-31.
It was never meant to have bombing missions as its main role.
Agree, but I suspect the Navy will want it to replace the Su-24 in the naval attack role as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive Su-32 based on the Su-34.
With the new Su-30s getting the radar and engines and equipment of the Su-35 I would say its capacity to be a multirole fighter bomber is only enhanced in many areas.
In fact I think countries like Iran might find the two seat Su-35 that the new Su-30s are would be more suitable for their pilots who are used to cooperation in F-14s and F-4s.
And these days having a spare crewman who can interact with drones as well as operate the sensors of the aircraft while the pilot manages flying and navigating is not a terrible idea anyway.
Lots of new lessons and experiences to be transferred into new technology and tactics... a real polygon.
Last edited by GarryB on Sat Dec 09, 2023 1:14 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : edited for clarity.)