Batch production of upgraded Su-34 to begin in 2020

Batch production of upgraded Su-34 frontline bombers will begin in 2020. The aircraft was assigned the "new capabilities" index (NVO). It will be armed with modern weapons, improved electronic warfare and reconnaissance containers. It is upgraded according to the Syrian experience, the Izvestia daily writes.

Batch production of upgraded Su 34 to begin in 2020 01 Su-34 (Picture source: Air Recognition)

The joint protocol of the Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi plant in Novosibirsk said the supplies of upgraded Su-34 are to begin in 2020 (the publication obtained a copy of the document).

A source in the Defense Ministry said a contract is to be signed shortly. The plant and the military are finalizing its parameters, including the number of bombers to be procured and the delivery time.

Besides new avionics, arms and electronic warfare, upgraded Su-34 will carry universal reconnaissance containers created in the framework of the Sych R&D. They will increase the capability to detect ground and air targets.

Three containers have been designed with various payload. The UKR-RT option is to engage in radio, UKR-OE - in optical-electronic, and UKR-RL in radar reconnaissance. They all use a single data bus for interaction with the aircraft and are replaceable therefore. Kulon Institute CEO Vladimir Maximov earlier said UKR-RL container with Pika-M radar had completed acceptance trials and was tested in a real situation. It detects ground targets at a major distance through the clouds in any time of the day.

Expert Dmitry Boltenkov said UKR-RT container was created on the basis of M400A radio reconnaissance hardware. It is a smaller option of sophisticated Fraktsia system for Tu-214R reconnaissance aircraft.

"The size and weight of Fraktsia had to be decreased to fit into a container, however technical characteristics remained the same," he said.

Tu-214R can detect radar emission, radio communications and operation of cellular phones at a distance of hundreds of kilometers. The aircraft was engaged in Syria.

Upgraded Khibiny jammer was designed for Su-34. It protects the carrier and nearby aircraft. Ground equipment to control the aircraft and its onboard systems also changed.

"The bomber boasts excellent characteristics. The potential has not been exhausted. Reconnaissance equipment will increase the capabilities of our troops in the tactical zone," merited test pilot and Hero of Russia Igor Malikov said.

"There are no Su-34 analogues in the world. The Americans used to have F-111, but abandoned it in late 1990s. The Russian jet is optimal for combat engagement. It can carry eight tons on suspension," he added.

Su-34 bombers have been engaged in the Russian operation in Syria since the first days in 2015. Initially, a wing of four jets was deployed there. In late 2017 satellite images of Humaymim airbase showed 14 Su-34 at a time.

They fired precision weapons, including KAB-500S smart bombs. The aircraft destroyed protected targets, including small ones, such as mountain bunkers of terrorists, seized oil facilities, and even small armed pickups. The Defense Ministry said the fly time of some pilots on the aircraft exceeded 400 hours.

The design of Su-27 attack option began in late 1980s. Su-34 prototype made the maiden flight on October 13, 1990. Pre-serial aircraft were supplied in 2006. In 2008, the first contract for 32 bombers for the Russian Air Force was signed. Another one followed in 2012 for 92 aircraft. The production of the batches is nearing completion. Various data said the Defense Ministry received over 120 Su-34 in 2008-2019, the Izvestia said.

Batch production of upgraded Su 34 to begin in 2020 02 Su-34 in flight (Picture source: Air Recognition)

© Copyright 2020 TASS. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.