Air Weapons

Sukhoi

Su-34 'Fullback'

For a successor to the Su-24, Sukhoi opted for a development of the Flanker airframe which had hitherto proven to be extremely adaptable to plethora of roles. The model chosen for conversion was the trainer variant of the Su-33 navalized fighter. The result was the Su-34 'Fullback' (also known as the 'Strike Flanker', 'Platypus', or'Duckbill') which is immediately noticeable by a widened nose housing a side-by-side crew configuration similar to that of the Su-24 with the added comfort of a galley and toilet behind. Designed for low-level penetration, the Su-34 has an advanced terrain-following radar and nav/attack radar as well as a modern cockpit with multi-function displays and an inflight refueling probe. Like the naval versions of the Su-27 and the Su-35, it also has prominent canard foreplanes which allow for better maneuverability; despite its greater weight it retains much of the agility of the standard Flanker fighter. For ground attack, the Su-34 can carry the entire arsenal of Russian air-to-ground ordinance including laser-guided bombs, stand-off missiles and cruise missiles, as well as tactical nuclear weaponry. The Su-34 is not optimized for air combat, but nevertheless has a rear-warning radar installed in the tailcone which as an added surprise can direct a rearward-facing AA-11 missile to an enemy behind it. Deliveries of the Su-24 began in 2011 and production is set to intensify over the coming year in order to replace the Su-24 by 2020 in Russian service, albeit in reduced numbers given the aircraft's greater capabilities. Although it has not been confirmed, it is rumored that pre-production Su-34s were active in the 2008 war against Georgia. Production aircraft, however, have been very active over Syria, undertaking airstrikes from local bases as well as from Iran.

Prototypes of the Su-34 were initially known as the Su-27IB (Istrebitel Bombardirovschik) and was first flown on 13 April 1990. The standard variant is known simply as the Su-34 whereas a dedicated maritime attack and reconnaissance variant is known as the Su-32FN although the program was subsequently suspended in 1997 without any aircraft built. Also, a two-seat carrier-trainer aircraft known as the Su-27KUB is frequently misidentified as being based on the Su-34 although it is an entirely different aircraft and only shares a superficial likeness.

Su-34

Preceded by:

Su-24 'Fencer' (1974)

Related:

Su-27/33/35 'Flanker' (1984)

Succeeded by:

None

Datafile

DesignSu-34
Code NameFullback
TypeFighter/Attack
Year2011
Crew2
Dimensions
Length23.34 m
Height6.09 m
Wing Span14.70 m
Wing Area62 m²
Weight
Empty22,500 kg
Loaded38,240 kg
Maximum44,350 kg
Wing Loading715.3 kg/m²
Performance
SpeedMach 1.8
Speed S/LMach 1.1
Ceiling15,000 m
Range4,000 km
Powerplant
Engine2 x AL-31FM1
Saturn/Lyulka
13,500 kgf
Thrust/Weight1.09
Sensors
RadarV-004
Armament
Guns1 x 30-mm
GSh-301
Payload12,000 kg
Hardpoints12
AA WeaponsR-27
R-73
R-77
AS WeaponsKh-25
Kh-29
Kh-31
Kh-35
Kh-36
Kh-38
Kh-59
FAB-100/250/500
OFAB-100-120/250-270
KAB-500/1500
RBK-500
S-8/13/25
Production
Built~102
Total102

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