New Bomber, But Not For US

While the Air Force’s plans to field a new bomber by around the end of the next decade have been put on hold, pending more analysis, the Russian Air Force appears ready to move forward toward a new capability. Russian news wire service RIA Novosti reported Wednesday that the Russian defense ministry has signed a contract with Russian aircraft-maker Tupolev to develop a next-generation strategic bomber for fielding around 2020. Speaking at the MAKS-2009 air show near Moscow on Wednesday, Tupolev general director Igor Shevchuk said the new bomber would be “a conceptually new plane based on the most advanced technologies,” according to the news wire service. And Russian Air Force commander Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin is quoted as saying the bomber is envisioned both for conventional and nuclear roles.