A follow-on order for 92 aircraft has boosted production of the Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighter. Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Sukhoi general director Igor Azar signed the contract on March 1. The Russian MoD signed for 32 Su-34s in 2008, of which 10 have been delivered so far. The air force expects 12 more this year. Production at the NAPO plant in Novosibirsk will now continue through 2020.
The new contract is “one of the largest state orders for aviation equipment finalized so far within the framework of the Weapons Program 2011-2020,” said Serdyukov. He further said the Su-34 will replace aging Su-24 frontal bombers.
Mikhail Pogosyan, president of Russia’s United Aircraft (Sukhoi’s parent company), noted that the Russian air force completed acceptance trials of the Su-34 and declared the type combat ready last September. NAPO handed over four new Su-34s to the air force last December. Last month the Western District of the Russian Armed Forces reported that it had formed its first Su-34 squadron at Voronezh air force base, equipped with 10 aircraft.
A two-crew design with side-by-side seating, the Su-34 (Western reporting name Fullback) has been developed over a 20-year period from the Su-27. It performs all-weather day or night strikes on land, sea and aerial targets using guided weapons and bombs. It features “active flight safety,” with trajectory-calculating computers ensuring safe maneuvering and weapons release while avoiding flight into terrain. Among other capabilities, flight crews of the first squadron have mastered the techniques required to fire at four targets simultaneously, the Western district reported.
The air force has installed new ground training facilities incorporating “modern technologies” at Voronezh AFB, according to the Western District. They include an advanced, networked tactical system that collects, processes and displays information about aircraft and helicopters operating in the area from three observation posts equipped with modern radar, optical sensors and recorders. The system monitors mock combat or real combat sorties. In training mode, the system monitors the status of air-launched weapons and training targets in the nearby firing range.