Russia will fly the prototype next-generation strategic bomber in 2019 and develop a new interceptor by 2020 to replace the MiG-31 fleet. Addressing the media on Russian Air Force Day (August 12) the service’s commander, Gen. Victor Bondarev, also said a new combat aircraft with forward-swept wings is under development and could emerge soon as a prototype.
There is renewed speculation on unofficial Chinese websites that the country has closed a deal with Russia for licensed production of the Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic bomber. But there has been no confirmation from Moscow or Beijing, and a senior military researcher in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has discounted the speculation.
The Russian air force celebrated its 100th anniversary with a three-day airshow at Zhukovsky airbase near Moscow from August 10 to 12. The event underscored the resurgence of a service that had suffered years of retrenchment and under-investment after the demise of the Soviet Union. Russian military aviation is adding 180 new or upgraded aircraft this year and expects to add some 200 more next year.
Russian charter firm Jet2000 reached an agreement with Kaskol, Sokol and Myasischev, which jointly developed the M-101T Sokol (formerly Gzhel), to conduct trials of the new turboprop single on air-taxi services from Moscow Vnukovo Airport.
This makes Jet2000 the first commercial user of the business turboprop, which received Russian certification more than a year ago but has so far failed to win any firm orders.