The Sukhoi Su-34 (NATO reporting name Fullback) is an advanced Russian 2-seat fighter-bomber and strike aircraft. It is intended to eventually replace the Sukhoi Su-24.
A dedicated fighter bomber version of the Su-27 'Flanker' was developed from the early 1980s, with the Sukhoi bureau designation T-10V, making its first flight on 13 April 1990.
Its official designation originally was Su-27IB (IB: Istrebitel Bombardirovschik / Fighter Bomber). It was developed in parallel with the two-seat naval trainer, the Su-27KUB (KUB: Korabelnyi Uchebno-Boyevoy, shipboard combat trainer), although, contrary to earlier reports, the two aircraft are not directly related.
Severe budget restrictions following the collapse of the Soviet Union led the program to stall repeatedly, and led to the prototype aircraft being displayed publicly under a confusing variety of roles and designations.
When first described in the official Russian press in 1994 it was described as the Su-34. The third pre-production aircraft was shown at a Paris air show in 1995 as the Su-34FN (FN for "Fighter, Navy"), described as a shore-based naval aircraft, and it was displayed as the Su-34MF (MF for MnogoFunksionalniy, multi-function) at the MAKS air show in 1999.
The Russian Air Force has apparently recently adopted the designation Su-34. The aircraft's oddly-shaped nose, said to be semi-stealthy, is reminiscent of that of the SR-71 Blackbird, and has earned it the nickname "Platypus," although its NATO reporting name is Fullback.
The aircraft shares most of its wing structure, tail, and engine nacelles with the Su-27/Su-30 'Flanker', with canards like the Su-30/Su-33 'Flanker-D'/Su-35 'Flanker-F' to increase static instability (higher manoeuvrability) and to reduce trim drag.
The aircraft has an entirely new nose and forward fuselage with a cockpit providing side-by-side seating for a crew of two. The Su-34 retains the Su-27's engines, but with fixed intakes, limiting its maximum speed to about Mach 1.8. Production models are likely to have thrust vectoring, like recent Su-30MKs.
Cockpit and Avionics
Unlike the earlier Su-27, the Su-34 has a modern glass cockpit, with colour CRT multi-function displays. Its avionics currently are based around a Leninets V004 passive electronically scanned array radar, and a UOMZ laser/television system for designating and guiding precision-guided munitions.
The front-mounted radar is supplemented by a rear-aspect V005 radar housed in the long tail "stinger." The Su-34 is equipped with comprehensive ECM equipment, including an infrared missile launch detection system.
The avionics suite has an extended architecture of computers, memory boards, color multi-function displays, and processors designed as self-contained information processing modules. They consist of large "Argon" digital computer units with specially programmed processors that use multiplex data-exchange channels.
All information modules are controlled by a dual central computing system that fully coordinates workload and provides all relevant information to the flight deck. Two-way data link enables the mission planning and weapon aim-point computations to be loaded or updated while in flight or aircraft to aircraft. As a strike aircraft, the Su-34 incorporates an advanced multi-function phased array radar capable of terrain following and avoidance for high speed, low level operations.
The Su-34's most distinctive feature is the unusually large flight deck, which not only provides side-by-side seating, but includes space for a galley, a latrine, and a bunkbed. It was joked that "It's got a bigger cockpit than the Tu-160 'Blackjack'".
Much of the design work went into crew comfort, which resulted in novel features such as pressurization provided by the air conditioning system, rather than with oxygen masks and a massage function in the K-36 ejector seats.
The two members of the crew sit down side by side in a large cabin, with the pilot-commander to the left and navigator/operator of weapons to the right in a jettisonable Zvezda K-36dm seat. The advantage of the side by side cockpit is that duplicate instruments are not required for each pilot, which improves efficiency and comfort.
As long missions require comfort, it has pressurization that it allows to operate up to 10,000 meters without oxygen masks, which are available for emergencies and combat situations. The members of the crew can leave the seats and be in vertical position and relax. The space between the seats allows that they can lie down in the corridor, if necessary.
A long-range surveillance radar, passive detection systems, system of communication for tactical and strategical voice and data in a single platform with long-range capacity with flight refuelling, transform the Su-34 into a way of monitoring and recognition in real time and platform of command and control, forming a complete battle management system.
The Su-34 has 12 stores pylons for up to 8,000 kilograms (17,635 pounds) of ordnance, intended to include the latest Russian precision-guided weapons. It retains the Su-27/Su-30's GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon.
The Su-34 offers enhanced crew comfort for more effective combat missions. The pilots can use a new-generation digital computer (weapons-control system) and other duplicated radio-electronic equipment.
These devices ensure impressive bombing accuracy with an error margin of just several meters, regardless of the weather. The plane's eight-metric-ton ordnance load, which includes subsonic and supersonic homing missiles and glider bombs, can destroy hardened and well-camouflaged targets at a range of up to 250 km.
The Su-34, due to enter service with bomber squadrons soon, has an active-safety system with artificial-intelligence elements. This system enables the plane to execute just about any stunt and combat maneuver and to fly at treetop and ground level at a maximum speed of 1,400 km/h. The Su-34 can also fly in TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) mode, bypassing unexpected obstacles and streaking through ground air-defense zones. The plane's crew can therefore conduct effective bombing runs, take evasive action, destroy enemy weapons and steer clear of missiles and anti-aircraft shells.
An operational mission for the Su-34 begins with a mission planning period that loads into the aircraft's two main computers the coordinates and elevations of every navigation and mission-dependent point from takeoff to landing.
At each coordinate-point or time-hack, automatic switching of modes can be accomplished so that the pilots can be hands-off or involved with other parts of the mission. Data link with command aircraft, ground stations, and command ships will be maintained and where line-of-sight limits are reached these communications resort to satellites for expanded coverage.
Mission updates can be passed by higher authority anytime during the flight. All types or tactical and strategic ordnance can be utilized with emphasis being placed on long range standoff weapons such as the AS-13/18 Kingbolt cruise missiles, AS-14 Kedge anti-radiation weapon, AS-17 Krypton, Kh-35 Harpoon like anti-ship weapon, and the Kh-41 Moskit long range anti-ship missile.
Su-34 is executed under the scheme "three-plane" with all-moving forward horizontal. The airplane has an enlarged capacity of internal fuel tanks ensuring, without application PTB, practical unrefuelled distance of flight of 4000 kilometres. With three refuelling Su-34 is capable to overcome a distance 14000 kilometres.
The onboard electronics engineering ensures the flight crew with a full information about parameters of flight and enclosing space, condition of onboard systems and power plant, purposes in an air on ground, on surface of water and under water, about means of radar-tracking detection and REF of the opponent, about AD and degree of threat, created by them concerns to one from the important features of a new airplane. In addition, the Su-34 features a rearward facing radar capable of detecting, tracking, and directing R-73 or R-77 AAMs at pursuing enemy aircraft.
The development of the Su-34 has been hampered by the poor state of Russian finances, and to date only a handful of pre-production models have been built. In mid-2004 Sukhoi announced that low-rate production was commencing and that initial aircraft would reach squadron service around 2008.
Nevertheless, upgrade programs continue for surviving Russian Su-24 'Fencers', as the Su-34 may still not enter wide service for some years to come.
In March 2006 Russia's minister of defense Sergei Ivanov announced that the government had purchased only two Su-34s for delivery in 2006, and planned to have a complete air regiment of 24 Su-34s operational by the end of 2010 (total 58 aircraft will be purchased by 2015 to replace some of 300+ Su-24 , which are going through modernization upgrades currently to prolong their service life). Ivanov claimed that because the aircraft is "many times more effective on all critical parameters" the Russian Air Force will need far fewer of these newer bombers than the old Su-24 it replaces.
In December 2006, Sergei Ivanov revealed that approximately 200 Su-34s are expected be in service by 2020. This was confirmed by Air Force chief Vladimir Mikhailov on March 06, 2007.
Two were delivered on January 4, 2007, and six more will be delivered by the end of that year.
Spesifikasi Su-34 :
• Crew: Two
• Length: 22.00 m (72 ft 2 in)
• Wingspan: 14.7 m (48 ft 3 in)
• Height: 5.93 m (19 ft 5 in)
• Loaded weight: 39,000 kg (85,980 lb)
• Max takeoff weight: 45,100 kg (99,425 lb)
• Powerplant: 2× Lyulka AL-35F turbofans, 137.2 kN (30,845 lbf) with afterburner each
• Maximum speed: Mach 1.8 at service ceiling (1180 mph) ; Mach 1.14 at sea level
• Range: 4,500 km (2,800 mi) ferry range
• Combat radius: 1130 km (700 mi)
• Service ceiling: 14,000 m (45,890 ft)
• Wing loading: 629 kg/m² (129 lb/ft²)
• Thrust/weight: 0.68
• 1× 30 mm GSh-30-1 (9A-4071K) cannon, 150 rounds
• 2× wingtip rails for R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') air-to-air missiles
• 10× wing and fuselage stations for up to 8,000 kg (17,630 lb) of ordnance, including Kh-29L/T, Kh-25MT/ML, Kh-25MP, Kh-36, Kh-38, Kh-41, Kh-59M, Kh-58, Kh-31P, Kh-35 Ural, Kh-41, Kh-65S, Kh-SD, 2 Moskit, 3 Jachont air-to-ground missiles, KAB-500L/KR or KAB-1500L guided bombs, unguided bombs, B-8 rocket pods with 20 80 mm S-8 rockets, B-13 rocket pods with 5 122 mm S-13 rockets, O-25 rocket pords with 1 340 mm S-25 rocket, fuel tanks, EW- and reconnaissance pods.