Russian defense company Sukhoi has delivered the final batch of Su-34 ‘Fullback’ fighter-bomber jets under a long-term contract with Moscow.
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“The Sukhoi Company (within the United Aircraft Corporation of the State Corporation Rostec) has completed the fulfillment of the next long-term contract for the delivery of a batch of Su-34 fighter-bombers to Russia’s Defense Ministry,” according to a statement released by UAC.
The statement also mentioned that the last Fullback has completed the trials and was manufactured at Sukhoi’s Novosibirsk Aircraft Enterprise branch. A total of about a hundred Su-34 have been manufactured and delivered to the Russian military.
“At the same time, we have started implementing new contracts signed at the Army forum that have helped utilize the capacities of our enterprises and provide work for our personnel in several regions of the country,” Sukhoi’s CEO Yuri Slyusar said.
However, a new contract for the aircraft with ‘expanded combat capabilities’ has also been signed during the Army-2020 defense exhibition, Slyusar added.
“The Novosibirsk Enterprise of the Sukhoi Company is today one of the largest aircraft-building facilities within the United Aircraft Corporation. The manufacture of Su-34 planes and their versions with expanded combat capabilities provides for stable utilization of the factory’s capacities over a long term,” the UAC press office said.
According to the Russian news agency TASS, the Russian Defense Ministry and Sukhoi company had signed a contract back in June for about 20 Su-34 aircraft, with certain baseline alterations based on field experience. The company is also developing a new variant of the aircraft, designated Su-34M, which would be ordered (expectedly) next year.
Unique in its operational roles and strike capabilities, this is yet another Russian derivative of the Su-27 Flanker family, carrying a NATO designation of “Fullback”. The plane is twin-seater, however, it is uniquely different as these seats are side-by-side horizontally aligned instead of vertically aligned to the fuselage.
The Su-34 ‘Fullback’ is designed primarily for tactical deployment against the ground and naval targets, providing support to the ground troops, and has been used by the Russian military in its military campaigns in Syria.
It can also carry out air interdiction roles, and the aircraft entered military service only recently in 2014. In August, the Russian Defense Ministry had ordered additional 24 units of Su-34s.
According to experts, the plane’s design incorporates features from the Su-27, the Su-30MKI, Su-33, and the Su-35, making it a highly capable air combat fighter along with tactical bombing roles.
In Syria, it was reported that Su-34s had intercepted Israeli F-16s, forcing them to abandon their mission and turn back.