Putin calls for new long-range bomber and UAVs

June 15th, 2012 - 7:51 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, June 15 (IANS) Russia must start developing a long-range bomber aircraft and a range of military unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) or drones as these were “most important areas of development in aviation”, President Vladimir Putin said.

“We have to develop work on the new PAK-DA long-range bomber aircraft for long-range aviation. I know how expensive and complex this is. We have talked about this many times with ministers, and with the head of the General Staff. The task is not easy from a scientific-technical standpoint, but we need to start work,” Putin was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

If the bomber development work is not started soon, Russia might miss the boat, he said.

A new long-range cruise missile has already been adopted for these aircraft, he said.

But the “tactical level” was in need of deep modernization, Putin said.

Russia must also develop a range of military unmanned air vehicles (UAV) including strike and reconnaissance types, the president said.

“We need a programme for unmanned aircraft. Experts say this is a most important area of development in aviation. We need a range of all types, including automated strike aircraft, reconnaissance and other types,” he added.

The president said the A-100 airborne warning and control system (AWACS) project should also be implemented within the next five years.

The new AWACS plane will have the capability to detect and track long-range airborne and ground-based targets.

Russia operates a mixed fleet of 63 aging Tu-95MS turboprop missile carriers, and just 13 Tu-160 bombers.

Russia plans to spend around 400 billion rubles ($13 billion) on UAV development in the next eight years.

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