The Russian Air Force purchases new Su-34 fighter-bombers. Two-seat and twin-engine fighter jets will replace aging Su-24 bombers, one of which was shot down by the Turkish Air Force near Syria in 2015.
The Kremlin broke a contract at the end of May with the Sukhoi division of the United Aircraft Corporation for the construction of 76 new Su-34s at the rate of eight to 14 planes until 2027. The 76 Su-34s should be sufficient to equip two regiments.
The base Su-34 borrows the airframe from the Su-27 fighter but adds a two-person cockpit with side-by-side seats. The Su-34 can strike targets up to 600 miles while carrying 12 tons of bombs and missiles, including air-to-air missiles.
The supersonic Su-34 is armed with a 30 millimeter cannon. It has a multimode radar and a suite of electronic Khibiny countermeasures. The plane, which costs around $ 40 million, is roughly analogous to the US Air Force’s F-15E.
The new Su-34s are improved variants of the Su-34M with a dedicated interface for a new pod that can carry three different sensors. The UKR-RT pod carries electronic research measurements. The UKR-OE is a photo module. The UKR-RL contains a synthetic aperture radar to spot targets in inclement weather.
UAC Director General Yuri Slyusar told TASS that the Su34M will double the combat capability of the basic Su-34.
Even the old Su-34 is an improvement over the 1970s swing-wing Su-24 it replaces. The Su-24 lacks the weapons and performance to engage enemy combatants. The Su-34, on the other hand, can protect itself from air threats. “This is a new generation aircraft that can perform both combat and bombing missions,” said an unnamed expert. Recount Izvestia.
The Kremlin deployed Su-34 in Syria in November 2015, shortly after a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian Su-24 that allegedly strayed into Turkish airspace. The Su-34s took part in Russia’s brutal bombing campaign targeting Syrian civilians and medical personnel.
“With the active role that the Russian Air Force has played in Syria, there is no doubt that this experience was also included in the modernization of the Su-34,” said Samuel Bendett, researcher at the Center for Naval Analyzes and Analyst at the Center for a New American. Security.
The new batch of Su-34s is the Air Force’s third. The service ordered its first batch of 32 Su-34s in 2008. A second batch of 92 followed in 2012. Taking losses into account, by 2030 the Air Force could operate nearly 200 Su- 34.
But the Air Force in 2020 still has around 275 Su-24s. Russia will have to maintain a few hundred old Su-24s or be content with a smaller force of self-propelled medium-weight attack aircraft.