Russian Air Force Receive A New Batch Of ‘Deadly’ Su-34 Fighter Bombers Amid ‘Escalating War’ With Ukraine

On November 16, the Russian government announced that United Aircraft Corporation had delivered a new batch of Su-34 frontline bombers to the Russian troops. 

The warplanes have been manufactured at the Chkalov Novosibirsk aviation plant of the United Aircraft Corporation (part of the state tech corporation Rostec). In a statement, the Russian government said that the aircraft had completed multiple ground and flight tests.

The statement added that the warplanes were delivered to the troops under the Coordination Council’s directives for fulfilling the demand of the Russian Armed Forces during the special military operation in Ukraine. 

Denis Manturov, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Industry and Trade Minister, said that the expansion of production, acceleration of pace, and rise in output are three essential duties of the defense industry that are routinely carried out despite the extraordinary pressure the West has placed on Russian industry.

He added that the weapons deliveries are frequently made ahead of schedule by the defense companies that are a part of the state corporation Rostec. The Deputy PM also highlighted that the Russian Armed Forces had received new high-effective aviation technology. 

File Image: Su-34

“As part of executing the state defense order, we manufactured and handed over Su-34 aircraft to the Russian Ministry of Defense. These are reliable and multifunctional machines,” said Yury Slyusar, Director General of the United Aircraft Corporation. 

“By the end of this year, the Russian Air Force will receive regular aircraft, which are currently in production,” Slyusar said.

In July 2022, the Russian MoD announced that the first batch of upgraded Su-34 multipurpose bombers was delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces. The ministry stated that “several” Su-34M bombers joined the Air Force and Air Defense of the Eastern Military District towards the end of June. 

The area is close to the Russian-Chinese border in the far eastern Khabarovsk territory. Russia reportedly placed an order in 2020 for 76 Su-34Ms, with the completion of delivery anticipated in 2027. 

According to reports, the number of aircraft will be sufficient to replace “two regiments of Su-24M strike platforms” that are being phased out. 

Su-34 Fighter Bombers

Russia began receiving Su-34 twin-engine twin-seaters in 2014. The plane is modeled on the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter and is intended for bombing and aerial warfare operations.

The nose part of the Su-34 has been altered to fit an advanced, multi-mode, phased array radar with terrain following and avoidance capabilities. The aircraft has a two-seat cockpit and an increased internal fuel tank capacity, resulting in a higher take-off weight.

The center tail boom has been modified to accommodate rear-facing radar. The pilot and co-pilot sit in two K-36DM zero/zero ejection seats in the cockpit.

Zvezda Research and Production Enterprise Joint Stock Company, based in Moscow, is the supplier of the ejection seats. The flying parameters, the aircraft units’ operational parameters, and tactical information are displayed on the multifunction screens in the cockpit.

Russian Su-34. Image Credit: Russian Military.

The aircraft is armed with a 30mm GSh-301 gun and 180 rounds of ammunition. The gun’s muzzle velocity is 860 m/s, and it can fire 1,500 rounds per minute at its highest rate.

The aircraft features ten hardpoints for armament payloads and can transport a variety of missiles, including air-to-air, air-to-surface, anti-ship, and anti-radiation missiles, guided and unguided bombs, and rockets. The aircraft is equipped with a target designator.

The Su-34 is equipped with various precision-guided and unguided bombs and rockets, including the KAB-500 laser-guided bomb produced by Moscow’s Region State Research and Production Enterprise.

The aircraft has AL-31F turbojet engines, afterburners, and the Sh-141 radar station to find air and ground targets.

The aircraft can strike targets from a low altitude thanks to its armor-shielded cabin. Its recently upgraded Kh-35U anti-ship air-to-surface missile can sink a medium-sized vessel from a distance of 250 kilometers (155 miles).

The Su-34M is believed to include an improved electronic system, “high precision weapons, and a set of several hanging containers with reconnaissance equipment.” The aircraft has a flight range of 4,000 kilometers and can reach speeds of 1,900km/h (Mach 1.6) at altitude and 1,300km/h (Mach 1) at sea level.