The Su-34 fighter bomber, once named Su-27IB, was developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau Joint Stock Company in Moscow and the Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association at Novosibirsk in Russia. The Su-27IB first flew in April 1990. The Su-34 is planned to replace Su-24 and Su-25. Su-34 is also named "Flanker" in NATO. The prototype of Su-34 is the T-10B.
The Su-34 is a variation of the Su-27 fighter. It retains the basic layout and construction of the Su-27, with a conventional high-wing configuration and a substantial part of the onboard equipment. A changed contour of the nose section holds an advanced multi-mode phased array radar with terrain following and terrain avoidance modes. The two K-36DM zero/zero ejection seats for pilot and navigator in cockpit are side by side.
The capacity of the internal fuel tanks has been increased, as well as increased take-off weight. A rear-facing radar is added in the new designed tail section.
The multifunction displays in the cockpit show the flight parameters, the operational status of the aircraft units and tactical data. The twin wheel main landing gear makes sure the Su-34 can land on the front-line airbase.
The Su-34 is armed with a 30mm GSh-301 gun and 180 rounds of ammunition. The gun has a maximum rate of fire of 1,500 rounds per minute and the muzzle velocity is 860m/sec. The gun is supplied by the Instrument Design Bureau in Tula.
The aircraft has ten hardpoints for weapon payloads and is able to carry SPPU-22 23mm six-barrelled cannon with 140 rounds, R-77 AAM, R-73R AAM, Kh-29/L AGM, Kh-31/P AGM, Kh-59 AGM, Kh-59M anti-ship missile, Kh-15PM anti-ship missile, FAB-250ShN/500ShN GP-bomb, RBK-500 munition dispenser weapon, BETAB concrete penetrator, PTAB-1M anti-armor/ShOAB-0.5 anti-personnel EO guided bombs, FAB-250M/500M EO guided bombs, or FAB-250M1 laser-guided bombs.
The Su-34 is equipped with an electro-optical fire-control system, supplied by the Urals Optical and Mechanical Plant (YOM3) and a Geofizika FLIR (forward-looking infrared) pod. Leninetz of St Petersburg supplies the radar systems and TsNIRTI the electronic countermeasures suite.
The aircraft is powered by two Saturn/Lyulika afterburning AL-31F or AL-35 turbofan engines, Thrust 58460 lb (260 kN) . The engines are mounted under the wing and are equipped with all-duty fixed geometry air intakes. A rotor protection installed in the air intakes provides protection against the ingestion of foreign objects.
The aircraft can carry 12,100kg of fuel internally in two fuel tanks in the wings and four in the fuselage. Three external fuel tanks, each with a capacity of 3,000 litres, can also be fitted.
The aircraft can achieve a speed of 1,900kph (Mach 1.6) at altitude and 1,300kph (Mach 1) at sea level.
A further variant of the Su-34 is the Su-32FN optimized for maritime attack and reconnaissance duties.
The Su-32FN is a completely different aircraft to the Su-27 and in many ways owes little to it except for the wing and the basic configuration (i.e. two engines, two vertical fins and a humped nose!). The Su-32FN began life as the Su-27IB and was then modified extensively and redesignated the Su-34. It was further modified to the extent that it warranted another designation and was changed finally to the Su-32FN. Due to these changes there has been some confusion among western aviation journalists about this strain of the Flanker family's designations and status. It has been reported a number of times that the Su-34 is going to be the theater bomber replacing MiG-27s, Su-17s and some Su-24s while the Su-32FN is going to be a coastal based strike version replacing naval Su-24s and Su-17s. The Su-32FN is actually the most advanced of the prototypes and is slated as the aircraft which will go into production to fill both of these roles. While in the past two different dedicated aircraft might have been produced, the Su-32FN is a very capable multi-role aircraft that can perform both of those missions and air-to-air engagements (in the one flight if necessary) negating the need for different aircraft and hence multiple production lines.
The Su-32FN has the same aerodynamic layout of the Su-33 and Su-35 of the three control surfaces with the addition of forward candards. Besides that it is a different aircraft. The whole fuselage from nose to sting has been completely redesigned. The cockpit is a side by side configuration similar to the Su-24 and F-111. The nose cone is slightly flattened and has been described in having the appearance of a 'platypus' duckbill. The larger cockpit has a humbed appearance and was continued to a smothered dorsal spine and to a lengthened and enlarged sting. The enlargement was done to maintain the center of balance with the increased weight of the enlarged cockpit. The cockpit is protected by almost half a ton of titanium armour and attention has been paid to crew comport on long flights with features such as a toilet. The cockpit is also quite modern with a wide angle HUD for flight navigation and final attack information with head down information being displayed on a number of Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) - Multi Function Displays (MFDs). With the massive increase in internal space not only has the avionics been able to be expanded but there is a total of 3,600 kg more fuel and the sting has enough space for a MiG-21 sized rearward facing warning and fire and control radar.
At the moment the Su-32 is powered by the AL-31F engine of the Su-27 but it is planned that it will be upgraded to take the more powerful AL-35 from the Su-35. Since the development of the thrust vectoring Su-37 it has been proposed that the Su-32FN will be retrofitted with the AL-37FU. This is not to increase the manoeuverability, it is intended to improve handling at lower altitudes and speeds and also to improve ground hugging. Another modification from the Su-27 is the deletion of the ventural fins as the Su-32FN does not need to operate at high Angels Of Attack (AOA).
The landing gear has been strengthened for the heavier weights and has also been increased in length to facilitate the carriage of larger weapons such as the Kh-41 Moskit supersonic anti-ship missile which weigh 4,500kg and is 9.4 m in length. The available range of weapons that can be carried has been increased and using 'smart' weapons targets can be attacked from standoff distances as much as 250km. The Su-32FN can also carry defensive AAMs, but they are not just the usual short range self defence R-73E but medium and long range R-77 fire and forget missiles massively increasing the Su-32FN's effectiveness. The Su-32FN is also expected to carry the rearward firing R-73 missile.
The sophisticated night-attack system is expected to include a multi-mode radar with all-weather low-level navigation and terrain-following/terrain-avoidance, target acquisition and targeting features. In addition to this a TV and laser guidance system is expected to be fitted. While much of the program remain classified it is expected to be fully backed by the Russian Air Force and has apparently entered production. It also has been offered for export at the price of $36 million.
One 30 mm GSh-30 gun in starboard wingroot extension, with 150 rds. Up to 12 Air to Air missiles including R-27 (AA-10 "Alamo"), R-73, R-73A (AA-11 "Archer"), R-60 (AA-8 "Aphid"). Most of the guided and free fall types of air-to-surface weapons.
The collpase of russia’s arms industry in the 1990s really hurt the SU-34’s development, but it has recovered. A development journey that began with the aircraft’s maiden flight in 1990, as the T10V/SU-27IB, ended in with 2010 deliveries and fielding under a 5-year production contract, followed by a 2012 full production order.
In December 2006, Sukhoi announced a target of 18 SU-34s produced by 2010, and in March 2006 defense minister Sergei Ivanov placed the longer-term schedule at 58 aircraft purchased by 2015. Production has taken a bit longer than that, but Russia remains serious about the platform. Eventual demand levels of 120-200 aircraft have been floated, in order to replace Russia’s 300 existing SU-24s. More recent reports have featured numbers at the low end of this range, but orders are already in for 150 (8 dev, 18 in 2006, 32 in 2008, 92 in 2012). The determining factor for final SU-34 numbers is likely to be the SU-34’s prioritization amidst Russia’s rearmament program. So far, that program has been well-fueled by Russian hydrocarbon exports and Central Asian distribution hammerlocks, amidst a global scenario of rising hydrocarbon demand.
RIA Novosti put the plane’s mission simply: “The Su-34 is meant to deliver a sufficiently large ordnance load to a predetermined area, hit the target accurately and take evasive action against pursuing enemy planes.” Other reports have gone further, stating that the plane is also meant to be able to handle enemy fighters in aerial combat. Given its base platform characteristics, it would likely match up well in the air against many of America’s “teen series” aircraft.
(Apr 2012)The Russian defense industry has not suffered as result of the decline in exports because state defense orders have risen by an estimated 300 percent?annually. In fact, some companies will have to produce at several times their current levels to meet the demand of the government's program to fully modernize the military by 2020. The same aircraft manufacturers that have seen sharp declines in export orders have received state contracts for 92 Sukhoi Su-34 attack aircraft, 30 Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter aircraft and 24 carrier-based MiG-29K jet fighters. The export business that sustained the Russian defense industry throughout the post-Soviet period is being replaced by a more traditional business model in which the national armed forces are the primary buyer.
Wingspan: 48.18 ft