Moscow: Russia could deploy a sixth-generation" pilotless strategic bomber aircraft after 2040, Lt. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, chief of the Long-Range Aviation Command, said Thursday.
"That could be around 2040-2050," Zhikharev said.
Russia's Tupolev design bureau is currently developing a new-generation strategic bomber aircraft - PAK DA - due to be in service around 2025. The new aircraft will replace the existing fleet of Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 bombers.
The future development of Russia's long-range aviation in Russia has been the subject of some debate in recent months.
At present only Russia and the US operate intercontinental range bombers. Most other nuclear-capable nations rely solely on intercontinental ballistic missiles based on submarines or in land-based silos, or cruise missiles.
Russia's strategic air forces operate a total of 63 Tu-95MS and 13 Tu-160 bombers.
First Published: Thursday, August 02, 2012, 23:56