2 Roles the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback Fills for the Russian Air Force
You might presume that the world’s best and most impressive warplanes are all American. However, Russia has a beast-mode aircraft design of its own. Of all the airplanes in the country’s fleets, some say none are more capable than the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback. Among this warplane’s unique segment advantages is its ability to fulfill two roles in the Russian Aerospace Force. Learn more about this iconic airplane and what makes it such an exclusive addition to the Russian military.
The background of the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback
So, what’s this Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback all about anyway? It’s more than another airplane in the Russian fleet and has been present across the globe, including more recently in Syria. Military Today calls it the “long-range interdictor.” As the Eurasian Times describes, these “deadly” aircraft are in full force amid the “escalating war” in Ukraine right now.
This warplane officially entered the fleet in 2014. With 200 units in operation, the Russians also produce this plane for export. The Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback is armed with 30 mm GSh-301 cannons capable of 180 rounds. It also has 10 different underwing hardpoints making it capable of harnessing a slew of weapons, including free-fall bombs and anti-radiation missiles. In a way, this incredible aircraft is like two different plane designs melded into one, capable of performing two very distinct roles.
The two main roles of the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback
Instead of just being one type of plane, the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback marries designs and components of other plane characteristics, allowing it to be a beast in two key capabilities. Because of its unique ability to perform as a more-than-capable fighter jet and its ability to carry bombs, it’s essentially two planes in one.
1. Strike fighter characteristics
According to Military History Fandom, a strike fighter is described as a “multi-role combat aircraft” that serves the primary purpose of air-to-surface attacks. It also incorporates some of the performance characteristics of a fighter aircraft and was dubbed by the U.S. Navy as Fighter Attack Squadron. As for the Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback, its design makes it every bit a strike fighter aircraft.
2. Fighter bomber characteristics
A fighter bomber is more than just a military airplane. Find some core definitions on Quora, where the most straightforward definitions are shared. A ‘fighter-bomber’ is a term that came about in WWII and was used to describe a warplane that could carry a bomb load in addition to being capable of firing as a fighter plane. Because the Su-34 can carry these types of bombs and other weapons, it also serves as a primary vehicle for carrying out these missions.
What model inspired the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback?
As The Drive points out, the Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback takes its design cues from the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker. While these two aircraft have many of the same elements, including wing structure, airframe, and engines, the Sukhoi Su-34 has a radically different front end. To make it strike-ready, the jet also incorporates some “unorthodox” changes.
One of its more iconic features is its “platypus” nose. There, you’ll find an Sh141 radar system, allowing for air-to-ground and air-to-air modes of engagement. This radar system combines electronic countermeasures and the V004 radar for intelligent engagement in real-time.
These planes have been produced at the aviation plant in Chkalov Novosibirsk. It’s a dominant force among the Russian fleet of aircraft, serving two primary roles. Because they provide two distinct capabilities neatly and innovatively in one aircraft, they’ll likely continue to be visible and present wherever the Russian military occupies.