MOSCOW, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- A manned bomber being developed by Russia won't be capable of reaching hypersonic speeds, the commander of the country's bomber force said Wednesday.
The statement by Russian Lt. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev appears to contradict claims earlier this year by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, RIA Novosti reported.
A prototype of the bomber, known as PAK-DA, is scheduled to be ready by 2020, Zhikharev said.
Hypersonic speeds are considered those of at least Mach 5 -- about 3,800 mph. Such speeds can generally be generated only by ramjets or scramjets.
In August, Rogozin reiterated that Russia needed to develop a hypersonic aircraft, saying "we are moving in that direction and are not falling behind the Americans. We will use this technology when developing a new bomber."
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered development of the PAK-DA in June as a long-range bomber.
In May, Rogozin called on Russia's defense industry to develop weapons to counter U.S. development of hypersonic aircraft and weaponry.