Dmitry Medvedev

The Russian Air Force’s plans for the development of a new, fifth-generation strategic bomber aircraft will move ahead, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has confirmed.

Medvedev confirmed the plans at a staff meeting on strategic aviation in Kazan, Central Russia, citing the need for improvement in the maintenace and upgrade of Russia’s strategic bombers.

"Alongside a fifth-generation fighter there are also plans to develop an advanced long-range aviation complex. I am talking about a new strategic bomber," Medvedev said.

Russia had originally announced its plans to develop a fifth-generation strategic bomber featuring a new airframe and stealth technology in 2009 to help replace its ageing fleet of Tu-95MC Bear heavy bombers, Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic heavy bombers and Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range supersonic bomber aircraft.

The necessity of such an aircraft, however, has been constantly questioned by some military experts, claiming that the availability of modern air defence and missile defence systems could render the aircraft redundant.

Medvedev also said that Russian Armed Forces should be armed with new equipment at no less than 30% in the next three years, followed by up to 70% in another five years, according to reports from the Kremlin press service.

"There is just one key requirement for the national defence and industrial manufacturers – [for] the national armed forces to be supplied with advanced, reliable and quality machines," the Prime Minister added.

Image: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reiterates fifth-generation strategic bomber development plans. Photo: courtesy of the Presidential Press and Information Office.