Fears of a Cold-War style arms race between Russia and the West have been heightened after scientists announced Vladimir Putin’s high-tech hypersonic stealth bomber is nearing completion.
Experts said work on the deadly PAK-DA stealth jet – capable of striking any target on earth within two hours – has made “significant progress”.
The menacing-looking aircraft will also be able to drop nuclear warheads from space, according to Vladimir Putin’s aides.
Another detail likely to worry Western armies is the plane’s ability to travel at up to five times the speed of sound.
A spokesman from Kremlin-backed Fund for Perspective Research said: “Materials must withstand temperatures of 1,500C and more for a prolonged period of time.
“Conventional materials, such as high-strength steel, melt at these temperatures.
This is addressed by creating innovative composite materials based on carbon fibres.
“There has been considerable progress in this sphere.”
Russian air force chiefs aim to have the cutting-edge weapon operational by 2020.
But the announcement by the research fund comes as the fear of war between Putin and Western governments remains at a sky-high level.
British Navy vessels yesterday shadowed a Russian warship as it passed through the English channel on its way to the Mediterranean.