A fleet of heavy transport aircraft, capable of moving a unit of 400 tanks, with ammunition, to anywhere in the world at hypersonic speed. If that sounds like the US to you, I hate to burst your bubble. Alright guys, cue the ominous-yet-epic music:
According to a new design specification from the Military-Industrial Commission in Moscow, a transport aircraft, known as the PAK TA, is able to do all of the above. The PAK TA program envisages 80 new cargo aircraft to be built by 2024. In a decade Russia’s Central Command will be able to place a battle-ready armored army anywhere, Expert Online reports, citing a source in the military who attended the closed meeting.
The new PAK TA will transport Armata heavy missile tanks, and other military hardware such as enhanced self-propelled artillery weapons systems, anti-aircraft missile complexes, tactical missile carriers, multiple launch missile systems, and anti-tank missile fighting vehicles.
A fleet of several dozen PAK TA air freighters will be able to lift 400 Armata heavy tanks, or 900 light armored vehicles, such as the Sprut-SD airborne-amphibious-self-propelled-tank-destroyers. That’s one long description, but where’s the laser fireballs?
“With the development of a network of military bases in the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia, which is expected to be completed during the same time period (by 2024), it’s obvious that Russia is preparing for a full-scale military confrontation of transcontinental scale,” Expert Online claims.
A source who attended the closed meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission told the media outlet on condition of anonymity that he was “shocked” by the demands of the military. Looks like all that Cold War rhethoric is about to result in a good ol’ Cold War arms race. Yay.
According to the source, the PAK TA project has been ongoing for several years now and will eventually supplant the currently operating air freighters.
“It means for the first time we have the objective of creating an operational capability to airlift a full-fledged army to any desired place on the planet,” the source said. This means delivering a task force the size of the former NATO and the US troops in Iraq, in a matter of hours to any continent. “In the context of the current military doctrine, that defies comprehension,” the source said.
It was reported last year that future military air freighters will be developed based on the designs of the Il-106 cargo plane (80 tons) project that won a government tender in the late 1980s, but was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Now, with ambitious specifications and objectives, the PAK TA seems to be represent the next generation of Russian transport craft… If not the world. I can’t imagine why one would require hypersonic speed to transport entire regiments of troops and tanks. The ice seems to get thinner every day.
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