Reports are beginning to surface that Russia has plans to purchase and utilize a fleet of large scale transporter planes. These large scale transporter planes will enable the Russian military to respond (perhaps even preemptively) to any perceived threat in any part of the world in no more than seven hours.
RT is reporting that the large transporter planes have been deemed PAK TAs. The individual PAK TAs that will comprise the fleet of 80 planes will each be a wide bodied transporter with an applicable payload of 80 to 200 tons. The only comparable plane in existence today was specifically designed, in a one-of-a-kind project, to aid in the Soviet Buran space shuttle program.
If creating 80 of the world’s largest transport planes is not impressive enough, Ilyushin Aviation Complex, the company awarded the project, will also reportedly be making these behemoths supersonic. What the utilization of these new large scale, supersonic transports means is that Russia will have the ability to respond to anything it perceives as a threat in record-breaking time.
While rapid military response is nothing revolutionary, (at least as far as modern warfare is concerned) what is revolutionary is what the PAK TAs enable the Russian military to respond with. Previously, if a military wanted to respond to a situation in a matter of hours, the only tools available to do so (excluding nuclear options such as ICBMs) were relatively light weight options. The term light weight is meant to be taken both figuratively and literally.
Figuratively in the since that any option available for immediate non-nuclear response is relatively non-game changing. For instance, while a couple of fighter jets are clearly destructive in the small scale, the chances of a couple of fighter jets ending a potentially large scale conflict are slim to none.
The term light weight can also be taken literally in this instance given that up until the deployment of supersonic large scale transporters, the only way to get an offensive asset anywhere in the world in seven hours is to have that asset be comparatively light so as to be able to load it onto a plane capable of higher speeds.
Now however, with the future implementation of the PAK TA supersonic, high-payload transporters, Russia will be able to carry a unit of 400 tanks, troops, and tank destroyers — a force that is far from lightweight — to any conflict in the world be it actual or perceived.
[Image Credit to Popular Science]