A New and Improved Russian Air Force

According to an Aug. 5 report by the Russian news service Ria Novosti, the Russian Air Force commander, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, says he expects 70 percent of the force to comprise new and modernized aircraft by 2020. Zelin told reporters that bombers will have new targeting and navigations systems and improved range and defensive capabilities. Among new systems in development, he listed a fifth-generation strategic bomber, for both nuclear and conventional missions, and advanced reconnaissance aircraft. The Russian Air Force also will modernize its Su-27SM and MiG-29SMT fighters and receive generation 4++ Su-35S and MiG-35C fighters, even as it continues development of its new fifth-gen fighter. Zelin said flight tests of the new fighter are slated for later this year.